The four Most Essential Inquiries to Ask Your self as a New Founder
There are many reasons to start a business. But when hopeful founders come to me for advice, I usually ask them to ask themselves a very important question: “Why now?” If you ask this question, you will find that the megatrend is driving you forward.
For example, the reason I started my last five companies is because I’ve seen an undeniable change – a massive change in our world. In other words, a megatrend.
When my co-founder Elias Torres and I started drifting six years ago, we saw two things. The first was that at the time there were limited options and companies could dictate the sales process. But suddenly the offer seemed endless and power shifted to the buyer. However, all of the existing tools – such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for marketing automation systems – are designed for the seller. We realized that all the tools that companies use to acquire and market new customers must change in order to retain existing customers.
That was a massive shift – but it wasn’t enough. We knew we had to find out then. We wondered if this shift is happening. Which megatrends force us to behave in completely new ways? How do habits change? And can we use this change in behavior to enter an existing market and to re-segment it?
There have been many changes, but we noticed one. Everyone – from kids to grandparents to coworkers – switched to a messaging-first life. Messaging was the new primary way of communication. And because of those two megatrends, we thought we could make this behavior change that we believed would happen – and is still happening today.
Now, six years later, everyone around the world is experiencing one of the greatest, if not the greatest, undeniable changes in our entire lives. And that’s Covid-19.
The pandemic has forced us all to adopt entirely new habits – and provides an opportunity for current and future founders and executives to think about how to re-segment an existing product, create an entirely new category or company, or create a completely new product, or service line .
When searching for your “why now,” here are a few additional things to consider:
Who is your competition
You will want to name your enemy. There is an enemy in every good story. For us it was shapes. We knew the current B2B customer didn’t want to fill out a form and wait for someone to come back to them just to answer a simple question (if they heard about it at all). Ask yourself who you are up against and think about how you can offer the better product or service.
How do you help customers win?
When naming an enemy, prepare people to ask themselves, “Ok, how can I win?”
For our company, we’ve helped people hold conversations on their own terms at any time. Whatever your answer, it should be clear that your customers couldn’t do this without you.
Who else did something similar?
This is an important part of the why now answer. If something seems like a good idea, it could also have been a good idea three years ago. If you don’t see a direct example, here are two explanations. Either no one has ever thought of it (which is highly unlikely) or it is more likely that someone else tried and it didn’t work. Learn from history. Find out why this didn’t work a year, three, or five years ago.
In three years there will be a huge surge in new businesses based on the habits we developed over the last year. But be ready to answer, “Why now?”
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.