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Five WHYs Early-Stage Founders Must Ask

Founders must answer five critical questions to help formulate strong value propositions, attract investors, and guide their startups. 

Founding a startup is a thrilling and unpredictable journey. You start with an idea, define a problem, validate it, and develop a solution. However, many startups overlook one crucial question: why?

Meike Neitz, a founder of a cross-continental startup consultancy Embassidy, says founders must answer five critical questions to help formulate strong value propositions, attract investors, and guide their startups.

  • WHY do we do what we do? Understanding the overarching purpose of your business is essential. What’s your vision for the future? For instance, if your startup aims to create a circular economy in the shoe industry, starting with the “why” helps people grasp your mission better. Clearly defining your mission also helps in attracting team members and staying focused.
  • WHY now? Timing is crucial for startup success. Bill Gross notes that timing is often why startups fail. Explain why your business is relevant now. Consider market trends, societal shifts, new laws, or technological advancements that make your business valuable at this moment.
  • WHY we? Differentiate your startup from competitors by explaining your unique value proposition. Whether it’s your technology, first-mover advantage, geographical reach, key partnerships, or pricing, be clear about why clients should choose you over others.
  • WHY us? Highlight your team’s unique strengths or “superpowers.” Instead of lengthy bios, focus on specific skills and experiences that make your team uniquely suited to succeed. This clarity can be invaluable during investor pitches.
  • WHY you? When seeking partners or investors, tailor your pitch to show why you’re a good fit for them specifically. Research their business strategies and portfolios to provide nuanced reasons for your compatibility.

Thinking in “whys” can enhance your strategy, make you more convincing, and improve your precision in the startup journey.

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