Checklist: Your Business Progress Self-Assessment
Chart your business progress with this quick self-assessment checklist covering positioning, monetisation and customer acquisition.
Have you performed a customer validation? It’s all about knowing you have a product your customers actually want. This forms the basis of a business model by defining the scaling process and identifying a customer base. Remember, there are plenty of products that people love, which ultimately result in bad businesses. This stage should help you to spot the business potential at the start.
Once you’ve understood the business case for your product or service, you’ll need to be able to communicate it accurately, differentiating from the competition or alternatives. The most desirable trait in positioning is occupying a niche. Knowing where your product sits in relation to existing pain points and solutions is critical to creating a sustainable business. Your positioning could take the form of a comprehensive statement.
Businesses need to make money. Being such a simple, observable fact, you’d be surprised how often digital startups forget this. It’s not the end of the world if monetisation wasn’t the first thought, in fact, it’s probably beneficial if cash isn’t the sole inspiration behind your business. But you will need to know how to turn your micro-blogging-aggregator-app into a revenue generating company. What do you do that people would pay for?
- TAM (Total Addressable Market)
What’s the size of your market opportunity? Don’t bluff yourself here, be realistic. Are you targeting a localised niche or taking on a global issue? How much will you need to launch globally? How will you scale to reach demand? Identifying your market opportunity will ultimately lead to better financing and go-to-market strategies.
Funding your own company means you can hold onto the equity. If you’re confident in your ability to handle the day-to-day of business without financial or operational support, this is clearly the most desirable approach. If you’re struggling to get investor traction, you’ll need to consider this route too. Even if you need funding to reach your true potential, bootstrapping at the early stage enables you to boost the value of your business prior to pitching.
Getting funded is tough. The market favours buyers, and with the competitive innovation in digital startup, you’ll want to put yourself in the best position to catch the eye of investors. Are you fundable? Do you need to relocate? Is your valuation accurate? How can you add to your value? What form of financing would you most benefit from? Are you on an accelerator program? Find the answers to all of these questions before you jump.
- Customer Acquisition
You’ll need a watertight customer acquisition strategy to ensure you’re reaching the right audience, and converting. How do you get them to your site? How much will it cost to get them there? What’s your conversion rate? Which channels are you using? Are your customers there? How much is each channel costing? What’s delivering the best ROI? Get this right and you’re nearly there.
Finding the right team is a balancing act. You need to get things done but – especially in the early stages – you also want to keep costs down. Try to get the right people on board, it’ll impact your ability to grow and boost your appeal to investors. Experts are great, but can you afford the best in the business? Find the right level of expertise for the right level of expenditure and you’ll be in a great position to move forward.
- Web, Mobile and Social Businesses
Digital business is competitive, but there’s room for growth for the right companies. Have you planned for differentiation? Do you have patents? Can you prevent your business model from being copied? Have you thought about software as an alternative route? Think long and hard about the trends and motions within both your target industry and digital business in general. Cloud based? Have you planned for redundancy? What about expansion? There’s a lot to consider.
If you’re at step 10, we’d love to hear about your business. Apply via our Online Form