After talking to a couple early stage startups this week, and trying to help, I realized it would be good to have a list of standard questions to start with to help analyze and understand a business at this stage. By early stage, I’m referring to a business that already has a product and paying customers, but under $1 million in revenue and no repeatable sales process.
- What are some of your customers?
- How did you find them?
- How long was the sales process from first conversation?
- How much are they paying?
- What’s your ideal customer?
- What have you tried to generate leads?
- What are your sales challenges right now?
- What’s your positioning?
- What’s your pricing model?
- Where are you advertising?
- What have you tried that didn’t work?
- Who are you competitors?
- What Google search term best represents your business?
- What do you want people to think of when they think of your business?
- What are your marketing challenges right now?
- What’s your burn rate?
- How many months of cash do you have left?
- What are your fixed and variable costs?
- Where are you in the fundraising process, if at all?
- What are your operations challenges right now?
- What’s your product written in?
- Who does the development?
- What’s the engineering process like?
- What’s the product management process like?
- What are your technology challenges right now?
This is a good start to analyzing an early stage startup and I’m going to use it in the future.
What else? What did I miss that is useful to analyze an early stage startup?