Copyright of Startup Port, Sherpa Business Advisors & One2consult, © 2008-2019. All rights reserved.

Warning: Redistribution, remix, transformation, alteration, building upon this content material for any commercial and non-commercial purpose is strictly prohibited.


Startup Port Pre-Engagement Questionnaire for Startups and Established Businesses

(Startup Port and Advisors request that all companies, individuals and founders seeking our solutions and growth support must answer this pre-engagement questionnaire.  This allows our experts to properly evaluate the state of your business and provides the basis on whether or not offer our solutions and support ecosystem to you and your business. Please answer as many questions as possible and as best (and truthful) as possible, if not applicable to you or your business please insert N/A, if you do not have the answer please state it so (by no or none). Some questions may be similar but there is a reason for it, so make sure not to write “same as…” but try to answer as best as you can. It is fine if you do not have an answer for some of the questions. We very much value confidentially and privacy, all provided information will be kept in strict confidence and only used in our review/evaluation and decision making process to work with our clients. Use this Word file document to fill in your answers. Send the completed document to the same email address from which you received this form. Thank you.)


This process will not only help us determine your business’ gaps but will also help YOU in properly managing your business in a disciplined way.


Do you have the followings? (If you do, send us a copy)

LOGO?  Visually and clearly represents your company brand (As simple as possible)

TAGLINE?            Distills company identity into a single line (1 line)

ELEVATOR PITCH?           Explains offering in a short format that can be delivered within a minute or under (1 paragraph)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY?                Briefly conveys the opportunity in clear and concise manner (1–2 pages max)

SLIDE DECK?       Provides more details on the offering and solution by expanding on all major points stated in the executive summary (8–12 slides, plus annexes 1 to 10 slides max)

WEBSITE?            In English, (Designed for and by American tastes for the American market and consumer!) Functions as a deep dive sales pitch in an easy to navigate, clearly designed, easy to understand, practical flowing layout (Typically a total of 5–7 tabs with subsections as required)

ANIMATED VIDEO?         Tells your company’s story and explains your technology (60 to 90 seconds)

(BONUS POINT – BUSINESS CARD)?        A cleverly designed business card that has all the contact information on one side and all the first three components above plus all the relevant links to the other components above to capture the interest of the prospect on the back side!


Business Idea / Concept

Describe your idea (it could be a product, solution or service; you still need to describe it here in details):

Ok, now do it in 140 characters or less:

How is your idea different from what is already on the market?

Why would anyone need your idea?

What makes your business different or unique?


Product / Service Offering(s)

What is your stage of development? Ideation/Concept, Prototype, Alpha, Beta, or Shipping products and services?

What specific problem does your product solve?

What specific needs does it address?

Why would someone be “compelled” to purchase your product or service?

Why is your product better than anything else out there?

What would keep someone from using your product?

What resources are needed to bring your product to life?

What technology will you be using to bring your idea to life?

How will your product make money?

If the company has already introduced its product or service into the market, what is the number of current and potential customers?


Addressable Market

Do you have a marketing model, marketing plan and market fit study?

What is the market potential for your company’s product or service offering(s)? What is the size of the opportunity?

Who are your immediate target consumer / customer?

What is the revenue potential for the industry?

How did you estimate your revenue figures?

How did you calculate market potential?

And what is its growth rate?

How did you determine industry sales and growth rate?

How do you know that your business has high growth potential?



Describe your target market:

Who is the end user of the product or service offering?

Who is your ideal user? Who is your ideal customer? Are there potential customers who are similar?

Does your ideal user really need this?

What is the one thing about your idea that will attract your ideal client’s attention?

How do you plan to acquire and keep new customers?

How quickly can you get your product into the market?

How will the business scale? How will you scale your idea?

What drives customer satisfaction for this industry and for the product? And, how do you know?


Business Model

What is the company’s corporate structure? C corp., S corp., LLC or LP? Where is it headquartered?

Do you have a business model?

Do you have a financial model?

Does the company have all required business permits and licenses?

How many full time founders are working on this right now? How do you plan to expand your labor force?

What are the risks facing this opportunity?

What alliances or partnerships have you entered (e.g. joint ventures, marketing alliances, licensing arrangements, selling/distribution agreements, channel partnerships, software agreements, etc.)?

Who are your ideal partners?

What is the anticipated lifecycle of your product or service offering?

Does your company have proprietary intellectual property in the form of patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.?

Does your model allow for a liquidity event? And/or return on investment targets?


Management Team

What is it about your management team that makes them uniquely capable of executing on the business model and plan?

Where are your networks (high school, college, grad school, past / current employees, affiliations)?

List the work experience, background and field of expertise of all your founders.

What is the founder share allocation?  Is the founders’ stock vested over time?

If you’re bootstrapping, where is that money coming from?

How many existing shareholders? You must list “all”

How much control are you looking to maintain (voting and non-voting)?

Do you have a board of directors? Who is on the board of directors? Do they have the right background for the company?

How are board members compensated?

Does the company have a board of advisors and, if so, who is on the board?

Do the advisors actively participate in the company’s development?

How are advisors compensated?

Has the individuals or the company been involved in any litigation or been threatened with litigation?



Have you realistically assessed your competitors?

What is your market differentiator? Is this enough to make your product superior to competition from the customer’s perspective?

What gives your company a competitive advantage?

Is this a market or product consolidation?

Where do you fall within your value chain (there should be a graphic example if possible)?

How important is your firm relative to those on either side of your chain link?

Who are your competitors?

What does the market share look like?

How entrenched are the competitors?

What is the financial stability of competitors?

Have you done a detailed feature-by-feature analysis compared to your competitors?


Sales / Pricing

What is (or are) your sales Channel(s)?

How will your firm develop / contract business?

What is the typical sales cycle?

What is the length of its sales cycle?

What are the channels of distribution?

How did you price your product?

How sensitive are they to your price point?

How are your competitors pricing their product that is similar to yours?

How sensitive are you to the price points of your vendors? Are you vendors providing you with the best quality for the price you’re paying?


Other sales related questions worth answering:

What are the biggest sales challenges you face?

Where is your biggest area for improvement on the sales front?

Why do you think you lose deals?

How do you find customers?

Biggest objection your sellers hear?

What is biggest fear with entering the US Market?

Do you have a sales and marketing plan?

Do you have a Sales Playbook?

Do you know who your ideal customer is?

Do you have a sales and marketing budget?

Do you rely on your own sales staff or have or planning on hiring contract sales reps?

Do you know if you need a sales rep or your own sales staff?

Do you have any sales staff? And how many?

Do you already have sales in the US? Direct? Or via Sales Reps? If so what is your yearly US sales?

Do you attend trade and industry shows/events?

How do you prepare for your trade and industry events?



How do you see your company? Pre Seed, Seed stage, Next level Seed stage, A series ready?

How much of “your own funds” have you invested in your business so far?

How much has already been invested in the business (financial, intellectual, human, social, etc…) By whom?

What is your burn rate?

What is your MRR?

What rate of growth would you expect in a perfect scenario? Worst case? Base case?

What are your anticipated start up costs? CAPEX requirements?

When will your company break even in terms of profitability and cash flow?

What is your post money valuation (Pre seed and seed stage with no traction)?

What do you estimate your two year valuation?

Have they conducted thorough market research to support their financial assumptions, revenue model, and valuation?

What type of exit would you like to see?

What types of investors are you targeting?

Do you have an investment plan?

How much are you looking to raise?

What is the planned “Use of Proceeds?”

What are the probable exit scenarios/strategies?

Has the company completed one-, three- and five-year financial projections?

Have the financial documents been properly developed according to applicable accounting rules?

Has the company used an outside, independent accounting firm to compile, review, or audit financials?

Does the company’s product or service have a seasonal aspect?

Is this a stable market and are COGS stable?

Do you know of any recent IPOs (10Ks, annual reports)?

Do you know of any recent companies funded in this space?

Have you seen any comparable financial models?

Do you have a “valuation” for your business?

If so, who did the valuation? Which method did they use to evaluate your business?



What does the business ABSOLUTELY need to survive?

Do you have personal / professional advocates, mentors and / or advisors? Who and where are they?

Are you part of any Incubator or other startup support group? If yes, please indicate.

Have you pitched your idea, company to anyone or any other parties? If yes, please list and dates.

Are you aware that, depending on the industry, that at least the next 18 to 24 months will be very tough?

Have you attempted to fund raise? How, When and to Whom have you pitched?

What are your goals (3, 6, 9 and 12 months)?

Do you have a budget that has these milestones in mind?

If not, what are your expenses (major and minor from all involved parties)?

Do you have an accountant?

Do you have a law firm helping you with your legal documents and agreements and other legal business issues?

Do you have a bank account and a banker?

Do you have business liability insurance?

Do you have a Trade and or Service Mark, Patent attorney?

Do you have any registered IP?

Have you checked your credit score recently, and are you comfortable with your score?

Do you have access to a copy writer?

Do you have a LinkedIn account?

Do you have a full time job?

How many hours can you spend on your startup business?

Who was the best memorable person in your life?

And finally why do you want to do this?



Anything else you may want to add that would help us in our decision making process to help you:


Note: You can request a Word Document (form) file of this Questionnaire by emailing to: 


Copyright of Startup Port, Sherpa Business Advisors & One2consult, © 2008-2019. All rights reserved.

Warning: Redistribution, remix, transformation, alteration, building upon this content material for any commercial and non-commercial purpose is strictly prohibited.