The First Two Steps in Starting a New Business

The First Two Steps in Starting a New Business

I had lunch with a colleague who was considering starting a new business. As we talked about his idea, I offered him one simple piece of advice involving two-steps. It may apply to you if you are considering a starting a new business.

The One Page Summary

There is nothing magical about this suggestion. It isn’t novel or disruptive. But it is a practical way to begin. The idea is to write a one-page summary of your business idea and share it with ten friends who know you and will be brutally honest. The friends should be business professionals who have different skills from finance, operations, marketing, and sales.

In summary, you should answer these questions.

  • What problem will your product/service solve?
  • Who (target) needs this help? Be extremely specific.
  • Why will they pay you for your product/service offering?
  • What other options exists for your targets to solve this problem and what will you do differently to attract their interest?

If you can’t answer these questions on one page, you don’t have a business. Yes, you could wander about for years trying to answer these questions if you have tons of money in the bank. But most startup need some structure, discipline and a basic plan.

Write it Down

By putting together, a one-page summary of the idea and sharing it with friends, you’ll get the idea out of your head and in front of a range of other professionals. You get to hear constructive challenges that you can learn from before you spend your first dime. By writing one-hundred pages, you don’t make the idea any better. Keep it simple, keep it focused and put it on a piece of paper.

The Second Step

The ideas of your ten friends can help you fine-tune your plan and may reframe the business proposition. Once you feel comfortable with this revised approach, you must find ten potential customers/clients to share the idea.  Don’t speak to relatives. Find people who might become customers. Buy them lunch or dinner so you can spend an hour telling them your idea and listening to their feedback.

As you share with them the idea, you must listen carefully to what they say.

  • Some may tell you that they would never pay for this service because they can get this information for free.
  • Or, others may say, why should I buy from you – what gives you the credibility to be the one I go to for this solution.
  • A few might reflect that your solution, isn’t going to solve a problem and what they need is different.
  • Still others may say that your idea is similar to XYZ business and you would be much more expensive.
  • Some may think you have the next Uber or AirBnB idea.
  • Other may tell you to go get a job.

The Two-Step

Once you have run your idea by ten professional colleagues and ten potential customers, you can take your one-page business plan and rewrite it with confidence that it isn’t just your idea – but the collective thinking of interested stakeholders.

KEY TAKEAWAY: You are writing this document for an audience of one. You. Convince yourself that you love this idea now that it has gone through the filter of twenty other people.

Then the hard work begins.

Need help putting together a one-page business plan? Want a fresh pair of eyes to review your idea? Connect with me at 919 720 0995 or  You can schedule time with me through








Photo credit: Unsplash




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