Before any new product or service is rolled out on the market, entrepreneurs put a considerable amount of thought into the process. From considerations regarding the effective use of resources to discussions of whether the offering will resonate with the target audience, these are just a few of the factors that impact decision making.

While entrepreneurs strive to proceed with care, some still make the fatal mistake of getting too far into the development process without having a clear understanding of where this offering fits into the bigger picture.

To prevent businesses from wasting limited time, effort and money, 13 Newsweek Expert Forum members each share one question leaders should ask to determine whether a prospective product or service is in line with their company mission and goals.

1. “Have we focused exclusively on the mission?”

Over time, the frequent process of mission-to-growth considerations and analysis can develop unconscious, unintended and assumed parameters. In practice, the meaning of the mission itself may take on an unnecessarily narrow application. Occasionally, before discussing the service or product to be considered, a leader must ask the team to refocus exclusively on the meaning and latitude of the mission. – Daniel Lutz, Ph.D., Lutz Globe LLC – Global Leadership of Business and Education

2. “How does this offering support the company’s mission and objectives?”

Ask how the product or service will directly support and enhance the company’s mission and strategic objectives. This question ensures that leaders evaluate the potential offering in the context of their company’s core purpose and goals. Aligning new products or services with the mission promotes a cohesive brand image and helps maintain focus on long-term growth and success. – Joseph DeWoody, Valor

3. “Is this offering future-proof?”

If your company values are clearly defined, making a decision about whether a prospective product or service is “on brand” becomes much simpler since it’s simply a matter of asking whether it aligns with those core values. The most important question to ask, beyond that, is whether it’s something the market of tomorrow actually needs rather than a vanity project or service you’re doing for show. – April White, Trust Relations

4. “Can this offering help someone in everyday life?”

Determine if the product or service can help someone in everyday life. Products are sold based on a need. If there is not a big need for a product, then chances are it’s not going to do well. If you always base any new product or service on a need, it will excel. – Tammy Sons, Tn Nursery

5. “Will it help customers reach their goals?”

Asking the question, “Will this product or service help our customers reach their goals?” will ensure the project is mission and goal aligned. Ultimately, companies exist to help their customers meet their objectives. All work should be directed to that goal. – Donna Marie Cozine, Consult DMC

6. “Have we conducted a SWOT analysis?”

Before deciding to invest precious time and money in development, leaders should perform SWOT analyses to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of prospective products or services and clarify alignment with the company’s mission and goals. New capabilities may cannibalize existing capabilities short term on a tactical level or long term on a strategic level while also highlighting competence gaps. – Lillian Gregory, The 4D Unicorn

7. “Have we efficiently leveraged our available resources?”

Resources are limited, and the world is complicated. Thoughtful prioritization of resources to yield the most efficient and effective solution in line with the company mission is critical. Besides being the best solution in terms of functionality, consider adoption as well to determine if the solution will be readily accepted and utilized in the marketplace. – Margie Kiesel, Avaneer Health

8. “Is it easily explainable to customers?”

Leaders should ask whether the product or service can be easily explained to their existing customers. We often want to invest in innovative ideas, but if we cannot anchor them in the mind of our existing audience, then our product will not align with our brand positioning and will not get traction. – Gergo Vari, Lensa

9. “Will it make our customers’ lives better?”

Simply put, ask whether it will make the lives of your customers better. In fact, one might consider this lens for almost every significant—and even insignificant—business decision. If it doesn’t improve the day-to-day lives of your customers or potential customers, then move on. – Mary-Lou Smulders, Dedrone

10. “What would happen if we don’t develop this offering?”

Ask yourself what would happen if this product or service is not adopted by the company. Use analysis techniques like a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and other scenario planning tools to determine the impact of adopting or not adopting this new plan. – Zain Jaffer, Zain Ventures

11. “Will it positively impact our customer relationships?”

Leaders should ask if this product or service will grow their relationship with their customers. By examining the potential influence on customer happiness, loyalty and retention, leaders can determine if a product or service corresponds with their customer-centric strategy. This strategy will guarantee that a company’s products and services resonate with its target audience. – Dr. Kira Graves, Kira Graves Consulting

12. “How will this offering help existing customers or attract new ones?”

The one question anyone looking at new products or services should ask is “How will this help my existing customers or bring me new customers?” Every product or service you offer should do one or the other. Otherwise, it is of no use. This includes second-tier products and services too. For example, a new computer program alone may not bring you new customers directly. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

13. “Will all sides be better off with this new offering?”

Ask if your organization, and more importantly, your customers, are better off by you providing the new product or service. We develop ideas for offering expanded products or services by listening to our customer’s needs and what they’re looking for from us. We then assess if it’s an appropriate or expected offering based on our brand and consider whether we will increase our customers’ satisfaction by developing the product or service. – Adam Coughran, Safe Kids Inc.