I was on a Startup competition recently. I have met many interesting and creative people trying to change the world with Tinder for X, or Uber for Y. Unfortunately, most of them didn’t do their homework that is exploring the business side of their idea in the first place. They focus 80% of their attention on their awesome product, but somehow forget about the clients and the way they will promote and sell their idea.
Let’s fix it
As a software house we encounter many interesting ideas and bright creators every day. Most of them are B2B related solutions. Quite often, we challenge people with questions about the market. We want to ensure that they will create something of value to their clients and they will be successful. Some of them get discouraged when they can’t even answer simple questions like "Do you know someone interested in your product who is willing to pay for it after the release?".
Based on my observations and experience I decided to prepare a short checklist that will help you validate your idea and business potential and structure the order of your activities when building a B2B startup.
Section 1. The market
Make sure that you want to jump into it and that your solution is helpful.
- Do you know the market and people who work there?
- Do they have a specific problem that can be solved with software?
- Do they have some solutions to this problem already?
- How many potential clients are there on this market? (It’s good if the number is bigger than 10,000).
- Is this market open to new technologies and looks for new digital improvements?
Section 2. Get in touch and pre-sell
Try to verify if they need your solution.
- Do you know some insiders on this market? Can you reach them easily?
- Can you reach at least 50-100 people and run a short interview with them about the challenges in their companies?
- Do these people see a real value in your solution?
- Do you have a chance to present your idea to decision-makers and get them interested in your product?
- Can you collect some intention letters or pre-orders?
Section 3. Build it!
But remember, keep it as small as possible.
- What’s the minimum scope your software requires to be launched on the market?
- Can you deliver a valuable product within 2-3 months?
- Do you have an in-house motivated team or enough budget to hire really good developers (don’t look for the cheapest solution - you will pay the price later).
- Are you willing to be a great Product Owner (collect feedback from potential clients and discuss it with the dev team)?
Section 4. Scale
Growth machine will make your business.
- Do you have the budget, time and resources needed to reach more people in the industry?
- Can you get in touch with influencers and ask them to become your evangelists?
- Are you able to invest some money for 3-6 months to gain traction and interest in your niche?
- Any ideas for a viral marketing campaign?
I know these are just the basic questions, but they are the crucial ones. If you are able to answer them, you are already on the way to great success. And if you are looking for some new markets or business ideas, I recommend an article on HBR Which Industries Are the Most Digital (and Why)? You will find there some non-digitalized niches that can be very profitable, if you offer real value.
Find your niche, sell your product, build it simple and make a difference!
Good luck with your B2B adventure!