7 crucial questions to ask from every startup founderRameez Ramzan
In the past ten years, businesses have transformed globally, paving the way for new ventures popularly known as “Startups”. Entrepreneurial dreams such as Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest, Kickstarter, Snap Inc, Spotify, Stripe, and Uber made it big globally and the credit goes to its founders.
They dreamt of a business model that revolutionized the global services but what makes their stories more interesting is their vision, out of the square thinking and obviously, their mindset.
Now the question not to ask is, who doesn't want to know the not so secret recipe for success? Obviously, everyone and to get the juice of how these entrepreneurs turned their startups into a mammoth money raking machines, they need to be pitched with spot-on questions.
If you were to get the story of a next possible unicorn, what would you ask? Or let's turn the tables around. If you were to interview founders of modern day startups, what are the questions that can extract the exact idea of a startup along with its founder’s story and theories? Let’s dwell below:
What’s Your Story?
Either one is getting heavy investment or starting it with an empty plate, every startup has a story that is known and told by its founder. If that story is compelling enough to rake in attention and attraction of investors or masses, the startup is marked as competitive.
In order to crack the code, knowing the story of a founder is one of the most crucial and foremost things to know because it reflects the whole idea of a startup including its USP (Unique selling point)
What unseen opportunities did you see that may result in making your startup a huge success?
Modern day business is all about exploiting the need of the hour. Entrepreneurs eye a problem, propose its solution and there you go, a startup is born. Calling a cab wasn’t this easy before Uber, renting out accommodations was much tedious before Airbnb and the list just goes on.
Startup founders are always on the hunt of new opportunities that can be turned into a money-making idea and answering the above-written question will clearly explain the need of a startup and how it is on the verge to scale up its operations.
What makes this time so perfect for your startup to kick off?
You must have heard a phrase, “There is a right time for everything”. Ever saw a business booming in unfavorable circumstances? A business of duct cleaning isn’t feasible in summers. A water plant in the middle of the desert would be of no use. Same is the case with startups.
Every startup has a right time to fly off and founders are well aware of it from the very start. There are these hidden opportunities, possibilities, and necessities that exist only at that right frame of time and this is why, founders, when asked this question, tend to reveal the opportunities they saw at a particular time.
Is your startup lucrative enough for investors? If yes, why?
There is a reason why investors are often known as “Angel Investors”. No matter how much sales a startup is bagging in. There comes a point in time when a startup needs a hefty investment to grow its services, product line, scope as well as its operational business areas. This is where these angels come into play but with a twist.
Investors don’t invest to lose their money and they only invest in investigating the previous operations, potential, risk factors, and vision of a startup. To attract investors, a startup should sound like a money magnet and it must have all those ingredients of success.
Who are the early employees in your startup? How did you hire them?
A problem with startups is, they are a two-edged sword. Either a startup prospers or mostly, it perishes and this is why hiring resource for a startup is a tedious task. Startups majorly need passionate, growth-oriented, innovative and creative fresh blood but these new businesses don’t offer much.
Mostly, the resource of a startup either works with the founder to achieve their common vision, mission and goals or they work for better learning and growth opportunities. Asking a founder about his team and its background will greatly help in knowing a startup’s team inside out.
How do you manage the distribution of your product?
Creating or manufacturing a product is easy. What is challenging then? Distributing the product or service among the masses as well in the right targeted audience. To expand business operations and clientele, managing the distribution channels of a product or service efficiently and rightly is the key.
Even before developing a product or creating a service, the founder has the roadmap of its distribution and asking for it will eventually give insights about a startup’s current market reach and its future goals.
What are your views on customer experience? What will be the customer experience of your business?
Uber made it big because of its engaging and swift user experience that was made possible by excellent app development, Canva is another popular graphic designing startup that created waves due to its easy to use user experience. Moral of the story - user experience is the key to run modern businesses successfully.
A founder who wants to integrate his business with impeccable user experience sounds very much intrigued and envisioned about his startup. Asking about user experience is similar to getting a first-hand information and almost a hands-on experience of a startup.
Why Ask These Questions?
All of the above-mentioned questions should be asked accordingly and by the end of the session, one would have an exact idea and story of a startup and its founder.
With the startup spree spreading like a wildfire globally, it is high time to interview newly operating startups because maybe, they would become another WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Amazon, etc.