I’ve started and failed at startup and business ideas and quite often I realised that some of these failures can be avoided if I knew the questions to ask of them in the first place. Before spending months trying to “validate” the idea.
I started compiling these questions and then did further research into how other successful founders “pre-evaluate” their ideas before working on them (I looked up various interviews, videos, and podcasts with 50 founders for this research).
The result is this list of questions below. The first 5 are definition questions — I make sure they are all filled in. Then the next 18 are Yes/No questions: the more “Yes”s I can answer, the more promising the idea.
Of course, there are no guarantees. The goal is to pick the most promising idea and one you can confidently work on.
So, on to the questions.
- Who’s your target niche?
- What specific problem are you solving?
- What’s the market size?
- What’s your business model?
- What’s the solution you’re building?
- Are you solving your own problem?
- Is the problem severe (a.k.a. “Hair on fire” problem)?
- Is the problem frequently experienced?
- Is solving the problem mandatory?
- Is it a proven market?
- Do you understand the market deeply (Founder/Market Fit)?
- Is the market with your problem growing?
- Does your market have the purchasing power?
- Is the problem expensive to solve by the customer?
- Are you serving small businesses?
- Do you have an unfair advantage against your competitors?
- Can it be launched quickly?
- Is the problem arduous, but not impossible, to solve?
- Does your target market hang out together online?
- Is the market highly motivated?
- Can the business operate profitably without you?
- Is your solution simpler than your competitors?
- Do you have an audience in this market?
I go deeper into each of these questions with explanations, founder quotes and examples in my ebook, Start Strong: How to determine if your SaaS business idea is worth pursuing.
“Going through the questions in Farez’s book gave me some actionable food for thought and was well worth the price of admission. Overall, it´s a quick, helpful reminder of what matters most when deciding where to put your time and which ideas are worth pursuing first.” — Rob Fitzpatrick, author of the bestselling book The Mom Test
And it always helps to have someone to bounce ideas off. Feel free to email me if you have any questions!