6 Questions To Ask Before You Start A Company

2 December 2022

[Video Transcript]  

Questions To Ask Before You Start A Company

Insights From 'The Art of the Start' by Guy Kawasaki


Over the years, Kawasaki has observed that great companies began not by setting outsized goals but by asking simple questions.

These are:

"Therefore, what "Isn't this interesting?"

"Is there a better way?"

"Why doesn't our company do this?"

"Where is the market leader weak?"

Let's take these one by one.

When you ask "therefore what?" you're asking how you can benefit from a trend.

It works like this:

"Everyone will have a smartphone with a camera and Internet access."

Therefore, what? "They will be able to take pictures and share them."

Therefore, what? "We should create an app that lets people upload their photos." And, voila, there's Instagram.

"Isn't this interesting?" is about intellectual curiosity.

Spencer Silver was trying to make glue but created a substance that barely holds paper together.

This oddity led to Post-it When you ask "Is there a better way?" you're challenging yourself to create a superior product or service.

Ferdinand Porsche once said, "In the beginning I looked around and, not finding the automobile of my dreams, decided to build it myself."

"Why doesn't our company do this?" is a great question for entrepreneurs.

You're familiar with the customers in a market.

Related Content: Watch More Emeritus Insights Videos From Best-Selling Books

You tell your management that the company should create a product because customers need it, but they don't listen to you.

Finally, you give up and do it yourself.

The last question, "where is the market leader weak?" for challenger brands.

Typically, there are three answers.

First, when the leader is committed to one way of doing business. For example, IBM distributed computers through resellers, so Dell could innovate by selling direct.

Second, when customers are dissatisfied. For example, the necessity to drive to Blockbuster stores to pick up and return videos opened the door for Netflix.

Third, when the market leader is milking a cash cow and stops innovating. This is what made Microsoft Office susceptible to Google Docs.

So once you're ready to become a start-up entrepreneur, spend some time in asking and answering these questions for your market, recommends Kawasaki.

It will pay dividends.

About Emeritus Insights

Emeritus Insights is a daily learning platform with 5000+ lessons from the world’s best-selling books, top faculty, subject matter experts and exclusive lessons from Harvard Business Review. Get insights in bite-sized video lessons, share it with friends and colleagues and learn across a wide range of topics to shape your success.