Earlier this week I finished Peter Thiel’s new book Zero to One (see my previous post Creative Monopolies on the Mind). My favorite part in the book is where he talks about the seven questions every entrepreneur needs to answer. He provides details for each question and then goes through a few example companies with one that can positively answer the majority (Tesla) and one that can’t (Solyndra).
Here are the seven questions every entrepreneur needs to answer:
- The Engineering Question
Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?
- The Timing Question
Is now the right time to start your particular business?
- The Monopoly Question
Are you starting with a big share of a small market?
- The People Question
Do you have the right team?
- The Distribution Question
Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?
- The Durability Question
Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?
- The Secret Question
Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?
While it isn’t critical to be able to answer every question in the affirmative, it is critical to answer a majority of the questions in the affirmative. One of my favorite lines from the book:
If you don’t have good answers to these questions, you’ll run into lots of “bad luck” and your business will fail.
Entrepreneurs would do well to answer these seven questions and revisit them on a regular basis.
What else? What are some more thoughts on the seven questions every entrepreneur needs to answer?