Before you start your start-up, ask the following questions:
- What are the changes in market dynamics that your innovation addresses?
- Who might be upset or disrupted by your innovation?
- What three extensions to your innovation can you imagine now which could be added later by you or someone else?
- What is the total market penetration of three products different from your innovation but that target the same market?
- What characteristics of your innovation make it a ‘need to have’ for your potential buyers?
- What features in your product allow your customers to share it with their friends? (not just a Facebook ‘Like’)?
- Can your operations sustain a 60-90-day delay in payment?
- Can you name ten people that you have direct connection with (not including fiends or family) who would realistically give your innovation a serious review and consider a pilot or purchase?
- Who is going to monitor your live social media accounts?
- What are the three criteria that will trigger a pivot in your sales / go-to-market strategy?
- Who can you leave a voice mail to test out your pitch?
- What are the top three statements from prospective buyers that you will listen for before starting your pitch?
- Who does your pitch talk more about, your innovation or the prospect?
- What time of year is the best time to pitch your innovation to your prospective buyers, and why?
- Has your accountant signed off on the pricing model?
- Who is responsible for fulfilling (or fixing) any and all deliverable’s or promised made in a sales agreement?
- What resources have you made available to help a first follower share their enthusiasm about your innovation?
- What customer service elements have you planned for each billing cycle?
- How are you integrating social media into FAQ/Customer Service updates?
- Who is responsible for converting product specs into marketing content and what is the publishing schedule?
- Why are you launching the second set of features, second?
- What are the three criteria you will use to evaluate one vendor against another?
- Who in the organization does NOT have access to ALL customer data, and why?
- How does your sales pipeline align with your time-close projections?
- Who was the best sales person you ever saw, and why?
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Ken Smith, Business Plan Reviewer and Start-up Coach for Springboard Enterprises, served as Co-chair of CEO Service Committee for the MIT Enterprise Forum Cambridge; and is the author of the start-up resource guidebook Selling Innovation