First Screen, shown in Appendix 3.1, is a template entrepreneurial firms use to complete a feasibility analysis. It is called First Screen because a feasibil- ity analysis is an entrepreneur’s (or a group of entrepreneurs’) initial pass at determining the feasibility of a business idea. If a business idea cuts muster at this stage, the next step is to complete a business plan.
The mechanics for filling out the First Screen worksheet are straightfor- ward. It maps the four areas of feasibility analysis described in the chapter, accentuating the most important points in each area. The final section of the worksheet, “Overall Potential,” includes a section that allows for suggested revi- sions to a business idea to improve its potential or feasibility. For example, a business might start out planning to manufacture its own product, but through the process of completing First Screen, learn that the capital needed to set up a manufacturing facility is prohibitive in terms of both the money that would need to be raised and the extended time to break even for the business. As a re- sult, two of five items in Part 5, “Initial Capital Investment” and “Time to Break Even,” might be rated “low potential.” This doesn’t need to be the end of the story, however. In the column labeled “Suggestions for Improving the Potential,” the founders of the business might write, “Consider contract manufacturing or outsourcing as an alternative to manufacturing the product ourselves.” The value of the First Screen worksheet is that it draws attention to issues such as this one and forces the founders to think about alternatives. If this particular suggestion is realistic and is determined to be a better way to proceed, a revised version of First Screen might rate the two factors referred to previously, “Initial Capital Requirements” and “Time to Break Even,” as “high potential” rather than “low potential” because of the change in the business concept that was made. Business ideas at the feasibility analysis stage should always be seen as fluid and subject to change. Little is lost if several versions of First Screen are completed for the same business idea; however, there is much more to be lost if a start-up gets halfway through writing a business plan and concludes that the business isn’t feasible, or actually launches a business without having at least most of the kinks worked out.
Although completing First Screen does take some research and analysis, it is not meant to be a lengthy process. It is also not meant to be a shot in the dark. The best ideas are ones that emerge from analysis that is based on facts and good information, rather than speculation and guesses, as emphasized throughout the chapter. Appendix 3.2 contains the Internet Resource Table that may be particularly helpful in completing a First Screen analysis. It is well worth your time to learn how to use these resources—they are rich in terms of their content and analysis.
It’s important to be completely candid when completing First Screen for your business idea. No business scores “high potential” on every item. There is also no definitive way of discerning, after the worksheet is completed, if an idea is feasible. First Screen, like the feasibility analysis itself, is meant to convey an overall impression or sense of the feasibility of a business idea. Copies of the First Screen worksheet, in both MS Word and PDF format, are available at www.pearsonhighered.com/barringer.
Source: Barringer Bruce R, Ireland R Duane (2015), Entrepreneurship: successfully launching new ventures, Pearson; 5th edition.