A few people recently approached me with their vision for the next big idea. They told me that their sites would generate millions of dollars. I listened and gave them my time, because I love to meet people and hear about their ideas. At the very least, I feed off of their motivation and determinism. But unfortunately, these people failed pretty badly answering some basic questions.
Here’s a Start Up Quiz I developed that will help you decide whether a Start Up opportunity is for you or not.
Coming from the Lean Start Up Methodology, I give a quantifiable way using a scoring system based on how well the idea person answers your questions.
If the question is answered well, then +1 to the score. If the answer is mediocre then don’t add to the score. I’d say a good score would be 4+ points, because of the negative and neutral scoring.
Question One: So in a nut-shell what will the site do?
Good answers will be one or two sentences short.
-1 Points: If the answer is long winded or unclear.
Question Two: What assumptions are you currently making?
Good Answer: People will create profiles in a private social network for their college, People will log into the site more than twice a week, etc.
-1 Points: If the answer is really general and the assumptions are things that can’t be tested with a minimum viability product.
Question Three: What have you done to de-risk your assumptions?
The perfect answer would be, I have a website up (minimum viability product) and I made it specifically to de-risk the assumptions I talked to you about. I also talked to a ton of people in the industry as well as a lot of potential customers and users the site would have.
-1 Points: if they don’t know what you’re talking about or they failed at question two.
Question Four: How many potential leads do you have?
The perfect answer would be, I have 4000+ qualified leads, or I have a niche blog that gets 50,000 unique hits a week and they’re all potential users.
-1 Points: If the answer is none.
Question Five: How are you going to differentiate yourself from the competition?
It’s hard to say what a good answer is here. Yipit.com’s philosophy from what I read was they weren’t trying to develop their site, they just made it so it could run and they hired someone to manually make recommendations for people. This way they were able to launch their site faster than their competitors.
-1 Points: if the answer is there is no one doing what I’m talking about. At the very least there is competition for the user’s time.
Question Six: What’s your user acquisition strategy?
A good answer would be: I wrote an article and it’s ranked #1 on Google and I’ve been capturing 10 leads a week so far. I’m writing more articles like that, I’m also sending out 50 linked in messages a day and making about 75 phone calls a day. I’m doing this to get the ball rolling, but I see us doing better if we can launch a big facebook competition on our fan page. I ran tests and was able to acquire 100 leads with a simple Facebook Contest. I think if we launched a bigger one we could do much better.
You want to hear numbers, and you want to hear things that THEY HAVE ACTUALLY DONE ALREADY backing up those numbers. A sales forecast is bull shit and anything that hasn’t been tried out yet is bull shit until it’s tried out.
-1 Points: If the answer is social media or Google Adwords, both are too general.
I might add more questions in the future. Got any questions to add to the quiz above? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it in.