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No matter how new your business idea is, it’s never too early to test the waters with a business model. For instance, you need to think about the structure of your business: do you want to create a for-profit business, an invention, or a non-profit? You also need to ask yourself the key questions, such as “Can it scale up?” (For example, if you’re starting in Florida, can you eventually start operations in Seattle?) and “Can it be automated?” (In other words, is it scalable, or will you always have to do all of the work?)

As you can imagine, there is a lot more that goes into developing a business model. So, in this blog post, you will get insight on how to ask (and answer) the right questions. Now without further ado, here are 21 Key Questions to help you develop your business plan.

[Related: How to Do Market Research in 8 Steps]


21 Key Questions for the Business Canvas


1. What problem will your product or service solve?

2. Is there a true need for your product or service? For instance, if there isn’t, you will need to find intentional ways to persuade people to purchase.

3. Why is the problem you want to solve important?

4. What is your solution?

5. Describe your product or service in two or three sentences. Then, put it into terms that anybody could understand–no technical jargon!

6. What is your value proposition? For instance, how will you add value to the customer?

7. Why is your value proposition important to the customer?

8. Is your value proposition a nice-to-have or a need-to-have?

9. Who are your competitors? Name 3-5 competitors.

10. What do your competitors sell? Then, determine how their products and services compete against you.

11. What are some key ways you can make your product or service unique?

12. Draw a matrix that matches your product or service to your competitors.

13. Describe how your product or service differs from the competitors. In addition, remember that price is not a good differentiator by itself!

14. How large is this market? Define and size the market. (Make sure you focus on the addressable market.)

15. Who is your target customer? Provide a fairly detailed description of the target customer. Your business can be may be a B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to customer.)

16. How will you set up your pricing structure to ensure profitability?

17. Then, describe your pricing model.

18. How do you intend to market your product or service?

19. What does your organization’s staff look like? In order to determine this, develop an organizational chart that represents your staffing at the end of the first full year of operation.

20. Who will be in charge?

21. Write a 3 year financial projection. When you write this, keep it simple and well thought out.

    • Revenue (if more than one source, list them)
    • Expenses (think about what you need to run the company)
    • Gross Profit (how much will you make before interest, taxes, and depreciation?)


Do you have questions about these key questions? If so, let me know in the comment section below!

So, if you want to know where to implement these key questions, catch up on the rest of my Business Model Canvas series! View the following links: Value Proposition, Customer Segment, Channels, Customer Relationships, Revenue Streams, Key Partners, Key Resources, Key Activities, Cost Structure.