The single most important question you should ask about your new business idea

tweet share share pin email

So you’ve got a new business idea, huh?

You can’t stop thinking about it. It occupies your thoughts all day long. And admit it, you probably already have a logo mocked up for it.

I’ve been there.

And you’re in good company. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re used to this routine. You’re always thinking of new business ideas. They almost haunt you.

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

But you thrive on the adrenaline that comes with a brand-new business idea.

Sometimes this adrenaline rush can be your biggest liability.

I know I’ve personally jumped into a few business ideas without thinking it through fully first. And while waiting until the idea is fully fleshed out can be a serious momentum killer, there’s one key question I recommend you ask before jumping right in.

It’s this:

What will my future customers do instead if I never start this business?

So why is this question so important?

Join 35,000+ people just like you who get our free newsletter.

Here are a few different ways you might answer that question–followed by the eye-opening insight it can offer you.

Possible Answer: My customer would go to competitor x if I don’t provide this.

What this answer tells you: If you choose to pursue this business idea, you going to have to do it much better than competitor x. You’ll have to blow them out of the water.

If not, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Why?

Because they’ve got time on their side. They’ve got first-mover advantage over you. There are problems you’ll encounter while building your business that they’ve already solved.

If you get this answer when asking the all-important question, think carefully about the road you’re about to embark on. It’s going to be a challenge.

(Of course, if competitor x really sucks at serving their customers, it’s a piece of cake for you.)

Check out these posts for more great tips on besting your competition:

Possible Answer: My customer would create their own free solution.

What this answer tells you: If you choose to move forward, pricing may be a challenge for you.

After all, if you can create a free solution that solves the same problem, don’t you always try that first? It’s only after the “free” option fails do you then explore paid options.

So if a lot of free ways to solve the same problem you’re trying to solve exist, take a careful look at your idea and ask yourself:

“How will my paid product provide infinitely more value than the free solutions that already exist?”

Possible Answer: My customer wouldn’t go through the trouble of finding a solution to the problem.

What this answer tells you: The pain point of the problem you’re trying to solve isn’t big enough for your customer. Which means they may not even care enough to search you out online let alone actually pay for your service.

Before proceeding, make sure you’re solving a problem people really care about. Make sure their pain is big enough.

Keep in mind: way more people buy aspirin than daily vitamins. Both are important, but one addresses immediate pain.

 

Possible Answer: My customer would search but wouldn’t have anywhere else to go to solve this problem.

What this answer tells you: If people are experiencing pain and don’t have a way to relieve their pain, they will be willing to pay for a solution.

Win-win! 🙂

First, make sure there really truly is a problem to be solved. Then ensure that there’s actually nowhere else to turn to solve that problem. If you find both are true, you’re on the best path possible for your new business idea.

How do you judge if your business idea is good?

I’m interested to hear if any of my comments resonated with you today. Are you rethinking a project because of today’s post? Are you more excited than ever to move forward with it?

Chime in. Let’s chat.

tweet share share pin email
About Preston D Lee

Preston is an entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and the founder of this blog. You can contact him via twitter at @prestondlee.

Leave a Comment

*

Comments

  1. Great post and helpful!
    It came on time!

    I come up with new ideas almost everyday.
    When an idea looks good enough, I work on it for a while and launch it.
    I don’t spend much time or money on it.
    I make a nice presentation and then I use mostly my blog, site and social media to promote it and see if people are interested.
    When I see that people are interested in it, I work on it to make it better and only when the 1st client appears I work on details.
    I’ve launched 3 new services last year, 1 did very well, the 2nd not so well yet.
    Now I’m waiting results from the 3rd, I’ve launched a few days ago.
    I created a new service that I think it was missing.

    So my answers to this question:

    What will my future customers do instead if I never start this business? “Possible Answer: My customer would create their own free solution.”
    (with awful results!)
    “Possible Answer: My customer would search but wouldn’t have anywhere else to go to solve this problem.” (well, almost)
    In fact, I know exactly what my future customers are doing, that’s why I came up with this idea. I watch them on internet and talk to them almost everyday.

    So far I only invested a few hours of my time, if it goes well it’s fine,
    if not, it’s still OK.
    We’ll never know if we don’t give it a try!
    And this is something I’ve learned from posts like this one!

    Thanks Preston!

  2. m never think this type of question before i read here. from today m thinking about this question and ask to myself. superb article.

  3. This, like so many of your articles, is so valuable that I want to keep them
    and refer to them again for myself or with clients. I do wish you’d use a print style sheet on your articles! Just bookmarking a page or saving the email so often means you simply never think of it again until you clean out your bookmarks or emails. 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] So you’ve got a new business idea, huh? You can’t stop thinking about it. It occupies your thoughts all day long. And admit it, you probably already have a logo mocked up for it. I’ve been there. And you’re in good company…read more […]