The 50 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Entrepreneurship

Published by Mike Michalowicz (Google+)

There are millions of questions about entrepreneurship, for sure. Here are the top 50 most frequently asked questions about entrepreneurs (per the TPE community, of course) and the answers:

1. Value – Easy, Cheap, & Quick

Entrepreneur FAQ: How can I present my expertise to potential customers in a way that will have value for them? By recognizing that my keywords are either problems they face or solutions they seek and creating products that address those things directly. Although those solutions may be difficult, expensive, & time-consuming, they must be offered in parts that are easy to do, cheap to obtain, and which deliver the results people want immediately.

Thanks To: Dr Bruce Hoag, CPsychol of Dr Bruce Hoag

2. Be Your Own Man!

Entrepreneur FAQ: Q. Do you feel a drive to “be your own man/woman”?

A. If you don’t, then you’re not ready to be an entrepreneur.

Thanks To: Jordan Farkas of Mr. Small Claims Court

3. Logos For Beginners

Entrepreneur FAQ: Do I really need a logo when I’m just starting out?

No. But for the best results (read first customers faster, more sales quickly) it does help to have a consistent, clean look to your business cards, website and other materials potential customers will see. Use the same colors, photography types and fonts as much as possible. Unfortunately, we actually do choose books by their covers. And without a long history of sales, how you present yourself means a lot.

Thanks To: Kemba Johnson of Kemba Creative

4. What If I Fail?

Entrepreneur FAQ: Most important question an entrepreneur should ask: What if I fail? It’s what prevents people from making the leap to entrepreneur, but if answered propels them toward success. Everyone fails now and then – even the most successful entrepreneurs. What makes them different is they anticipate failures, learn from them and move on. There’s no better time to be an entrepreneur – there are more free and low-cost resources for getting started than ever before.

Thanks To: Ali Croft of Just Drive Media

5. Marketing = Customers

Entrepreneur FAQ: Q: Are you committed to marketing your company?

A: Just throwing open your doors isn’t enough; entrepreneurs need to get their message out about their products and services to prospective clients. This means making a commitment of time and money to marketing, advertising, and public relations to support your business development needs and build your brand in the marketplace.

Thanks To: David Menzies of Menzies Consulting, Inc.

6. If You Have To Ask…

Entrepreneur FAQ: How do you balance your business and family/social life?

Short answer: You don’t; especially at first. And, the fact that you are asking this question before you have even put in your first five years with a new business, means that you probably are not cut out to be an entrepreneur.

Bottomline: Anyone who thinks that being an entrepreneur is anything but an all-consuming effort (especially early on) is likely doomed to failure.

Thanks To: JR Rodrigues of Job Hunt Express

7. Extra Mile = Extra Buck

Entrepreneur FAQ: How can I make $1.00 dollar more today than yesterday? It’s like that athlete who stays after practice ends, after all his/her teammates leave, to do extra reps. Making that extra dollar today means one more phone call, one more email, one more rally cry to sales reps and channel today – one more pitch to someone. If that dollar does not come, it means looking at every possible expense and cutting $1.00 from it some how, some way. The life of an entreprenuer is truly day-to-day.

Thanks To: Andrew Connelly of Glogster

8. Show Me The Money!

Entrepreneur FAQ: Good ideas abound. Start ups are generally self-funded and not just with sweat equity.If your idea is truly unique and you have written a realistic business plan with accurate and current market data and budgets along with financial projections, you may be able to get funds from the bank of “friends and family.” Funding with home equity loans and credit cards are a less viable option today.If possible, keep your day job and launch your business “on the side” until you have cash flow.

Thanks To: Susan Bari of Leader to Leader Institute

9. Viral Marketing; Obama And You


If Obama could get to the White House, there’s something in it for you. Start by creating a presence on Facebook, Twitter, & niche sites (ie, for working women) so that you can micro target consumers & get your brand into the conversation. If you’re braver: YouTube!, Digg, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc. Utilize viral marketing campaigns to share relevant content with potential millions of eyeballs now in your reach, even Obama.

Thanks To: Terry Starr And Bradi Nathan of

10. Why Do This To Yourself

Entrepreneur FAQ: Do you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning thinking about how your business will make the world a better place?

The larger sense of purpose and burning desire are necessary to succeed, doing it just for the money won’t get you through.

Thanks To: Giovanni Isaksen of Ashowrth Partners Ltd.

11. How Can I Afford It?

Entrepreneur FAQ: Q) How much will it cost for me to start my business?

A) Although this is a very vague response, it really depends on the type of business you plan to start. For service based business such as career coaching, pr, consultants; you can start this business in your home with minimal to no start up costs. These types of businesses can be implemented in as little as 10 days! And if you have an established network…even better!

Thanks To: Zanade Mann of Online & Off Marketing and PR

12. Do You Have What It Takes?

Entrepreneur FAQ: Ask yourself, “Am I self-directed, a self-starter?” To succeed, you need to have an internal locus of control (perspective that you impact your own fate) and to be a decision maker. Without these qualities, an entrepreneur will flounder as taking initiative and making decisions are inherent in the role of entrepreneur.

Thanks To: Mary Beth Izard of Acheve Consulting Inc.

13. What’s An Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur FAQ: An entrepreneur is someone who’s not afraid to plan and then fail.

Simply put, to be successful at any business, you need a plan of some kind to start. It can be a full-blown business plan or a series of interconnected doodles on 23 post-its. That’s number 1. Then, in spite of all your brain power, you’ve got to know ahead of time that the whole thing may not work. And here’s the kicker – you don’t really mind; in fact, you really like “getting back on the horse” once it kicks you.

Thanks To: Alan Siege of Small Business Mngmt. Consulting

14. Love Your Partner

Entrepreneur FAQ: Q: How can you work with your spouse?

A: Entrepreneurship ratchets up the dedication level, making a two-some who shares the same degree of commitment and devotion for the same goals the ideal business partners. Must-have ingredients for the arrangement to work include trust, respect, admiration, and an interactively harmonious skill set.

Thanks To: Mari Baskin And Eric Neumann of Para Designers Inc.

15. Plan For Success!

Entrepreneur FAQ: Planning is such an undervalued and overlooked process for many entrepreneurs. From a style perspective, many people who start new firms and have unique ideas, have the ability to think on their feet, juggle many things and move quickly from item to item. They don’t want to be “tied down” by a plan. In fact for many entrepreneurs, plan is a four letter word! The problem is that without a plan, it’s hard to share a vision with others. Without a plan, it’s hard to keep any check and balance.

Thanks To: Beverly Flaxington of The Collaborative

16. I Don’t Have Any Money!

Entrepreneur FAQ: Having money is nowhere near as important as you might think. Of the three startups I’ve done in the last five years, every single one got started for under $100. You don’t need an office, employees, a super professional website, or a lawyer. You just need to do *the absolute bare minimum* to get something out there which tests your idea. For a web startup, adapt pre-existing software (like WordPress) to your needs or pay a programmer with equity. Don’t spend a dime till you earn it!

Thanks To: Brian Armstrong of

17. Be Smart, Hire Smart

Entrepreneur FAQ: What can entrepreneurs do to rise above the noise?
We assembled a team of skilled and experienced professionals and an advisory board of academic heavy-hitters: UMass, Brown, UC Irvine. Having this know-how on-hand lent immediate credibility, enabled delivery of solid product and helped build relationships quickly. Bottom line: don’t skimp on necessity. Take the time/money to invest in top talent, pay competitively, train well and take advantage of the knowledge they have to offer.

Thanks To: Ali Riaz of Attivio

18. Satisfy Wants Not Needs

Entrepreneur FAQ: Most important question an entrepreneur should ask himself/herself is: Do people WANT what I plan to sell? Even if I think they NEED what I plan to sell, if they don’t WANT it, I should forget it. People buy based on emotions (see book NEUROMARKETING) and they buy what they want not need.

Thanks To: Phyllis Zimbler Miller of Miller Mosaic Power Marketing

19. Seek Out Smart People

Entrepreneur FAQ: I am constantly asked what my biggest piece of advice is for other “mom inventors” and I answer the same way everytime. Surround yourself with people who know more than you do! People seem to really want to help others who are just starting out, so don’t be afraid to ask. Admire another “mom inventor”? Send her an e-mail. You never know, but she may just respond. Surrounding yourself with people who have “been there, done that” might just save you time and money. Wow, what a concept.

Thanks To: Laura Hamrick of 42 Kids, Makers of OnTray

20. You Know This – Entrepreneur!

Entrepreneur FAQ: Question: How confident are you in your ability to run this business well and why?

Answer: 100% and because I know my strengths well and respect my weakness enough to ask for help when I need it.

Thanks To: Aisha Bauer of eSutras Organics

21. How To Be A Power Networker

Entrepreneur FAQ: QUESTION: Don’t I need to know the right people to start a company?

ANSWER: The key is to be an expert in the subject your business deals with. That’s first. To start building your network research local conferences and events involving your target market. Attend these events regularly to begin to build your business and establish credibility to compliment your expertise.

Thanks To: Espree Devora of ZEXsports

22. 60-30-10 Rule Is A Winner

Entrepreneur FAQ: Where should I direct the majority of my time to make my entrepreneurship successful? Unless someone knows about you, it truly does not matter how great your products or services are. Marketing activities should always exceed 60% of your time with 30% devoted to selling or earning the sale and leaving 10% for planning and other administrative tasks.

Thanks To: Leanne Hoagland-Smith of ADVANCED SYSTEMS

23. Do I Believe?

Entrepreneur FAQ: Any enterpreneur, whether new to business or an old veteran, must always believe in the business he or she is in. Business changes so fast and to adapt to these constant changes, you must believe in what you’re offering. At every New Year, reassess your previous year, plan for the upcoming year and keep asking yourself at every step: Do I really believe in this product or service that I sell?

If at any time doubt creeps up, it’s time to make a change.

Do You believe in your offerings?

Thanks To: Sandra Baptist of

24. Whether I Would Be Successful

Entrepreneur FAQ: Almost all entrepreneurs are afraid of Failure.

Whether people would Buy from me ? Whether I can beat my competitors? They Should learn to accept failures, All of your ideas won’t work , most of them would fail and remaining would make you Successful. Take your failure as a lesson because you are learning methods which don’t work. Also learn to become patient and don’t expect overnight results.

To Be Successful – You have to take one step back and then two steps forward

Thanks To: Gagandeep Singh of Invesp Conversion Rate Optimization

25. Where To Spend Advertising $$?

Entrepreneur FAQ: Don’t spend advertising money first. Spent it last! Multiple exposures 24/7 will get you noticed, but they can be costly. Before spending a dime, there are plenty of no-cost opportunities: on-line social media, be a speaker, networking groups, email newsletters, support a cause, write articles, teach, etc. This kind of marketing builds your brand identity and trust; ultimately, it supports future paid advertising. Where to market? Focus exactly on who wants, needs, and can afford what you offer.

Thanks To: Vicki Lynne Morgan of Russmor Marketing Group

26. The Best Home Business For You

Entrepreneur FAQ: What is the best home business to start?

The one that you’ll do. There are infinite ways to start a home business, but the measure of what is “best” in a home business doesn’t rest so much on the choice of a business, but whether or not you’ll do what it takes to succeed. The best home business for you will tap into something you know how to do and/or love, and you’ll stick with when things go wrong (which they will occasionally).

Thanks To: Leslie Truex of Work-At-Home Success

27. No One Will Give You Money

Entrepreneur FAQ: How do I raise money for my start up?

No one will invest in your idea unless you prove your business model and yourself first. If your plan calls for large sums of capital to launch, go back to the drawing board. Use out-of-the-box thinking to build your shoestring start up into a scalable business. Scale down pricey plans, eliminate grandiose expenditures and build strategic partnerships instead of expensive infrastructure. In short, simplify and test your idea before seeking capital.

Thanks To: Scott Gerber of Gerber Entertainment

28. Right Time To Launch Business?

Entrepreneur FAQ: When you believe in your core that a bad day on your own is better than a good day at your desk job, you’ve got nothing to lose. You can’t wait for the perfect time to launch; you just have to course correct as you get more feedback along the way. Being an entrepreneur means making decisions without perfect information. Get used to it–or find another career path.

Thanks To: Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls LLC

29. You Can Make Your Dream Real!

Entrepreneur FAQ: The most important question an entrepreneur must ask is,

“Do I believe ENOUGH in my dream?”

The answer needs to be no less than,

“I believe enough in my dream to turn my life upside down, inside out, to face risks I never imagined while looking at trials and tribulations as adventures and yet still being able to say ‘I am benefitting enormously from the satisfaction of watching my dream come true.’”

Thanks To: Moni Liberman of Moni Poni Ltd.

30. Do You Have The Passion?

Entrepreneur FAQ: Without passion for a new idea, product or business you have nothing! Even if you have truckloads of money, an entrepreneur most ask themselves, “Do I have the passion to fulfill my dreams and new challenge? If the answer is yes, then failure never enters the equation. By believing in yourself and your special dreams everything else simply falls into place with perseverance and simple old-fashioned hard work!

Thanks To: Lori Reader of Loveable Look-a-Like Doll

31. What Am I, Nuts?!

Entrepreneur FAQ: Great entrepreneurs, like great artists, leap off the proverbial ledge, convinced they can fly. But are you just listening to voices in your head, or have you done due diligence? With the ease of the internet you can easily answer these vital questions: Do I have any real competition? Does anyone do this better? Does anyone really need/want my stuff? Can enough people afford it? If the answers are NO, NO, YES, YES, then you probably CAN fly and won’t be cutting off your ear to spite your face.

Thanks To: Kelly Lester of

32. Hr Dept, No. People Mgmt, Yes!

Entrepreneur FAQ: Do I need a Human Resources (HR) Department right away? While I support its necessity in any organization, the answer is no. You don’t need an official department right away. HOWEVER, you as the business leader (or whomever you designate) need to be focused on establishing policy and procedure (for structure-sake), ensuring employee engagement (to promote loyalty and excellence) and driving performance (to coach and identify performers and non-performers) from the start of your business.

Thanks To: John Haynes of Regeneration! Life & Biz Coaching

33. The Beacon Principles

Entrepreneur FAQ: The 3 beacon principles: How are you different? Difference is the soul of branding. It makes you memorable and sometimes indispensable! What’s your context? Context gives meaning to your difference. Context is understanding that your difference might be irrelevant to some, but essential to others. What’s your focus? Focus is controlling your energy and directing your audience’s attention. Focus both on strengths. The expectations you set are the criteria by which your brand will be judged.

Thanks To: David Cohen of Equation Arts

34. Ask Your Accountant Everything

Entrepreneur FAQ: Before you make any drastic purchases or decisions it is imperative to ask your accountant how this will affect you at tax time.

Thanks To: Cindy Tollen of Sudz N Bubbles, Ltd.

35. The Billion Dollar Question

Entrepreneur FAQ: Are we truly selling: the right products and services; in the right format; at the right time; through the right medium; to the right audience; at the right price; from a position of trust and credibility?

Your customers will tell you the answer if you ask through market research, focus groups, and surveys before you launch new products and services. Asking and answering this question can mean the difference between bankruptcy and billion dollar profits.

Thanks To: William R. Patterson of Business Coach

36. Do New Entrepreneurs Really Ha

Entrepreneur FAQ: Yes and no, generally if you are running a small business making cakes with no intention of moving out of your kitchen probably not but if you want a successful, growing business most likely when you start you will have to work a lot of hours. All of these hours are required because like most new entrepreneurs you will have to do everything yourself since you can’t afford to hire an accountant, secretary, sales manager etc, over time, you can hire other people to do these jobs as funds permit

Thanks To: Marc Anderson of

37. Advice For Young Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur FAQ: Learn the fundamentals of business first! Either work for a small business or take business courses to understand how a business works. Balance sheet, income statement, and other key metrics are needed to measure your success. You can have a great business idea, but ultimately the business will fail if you don’t understand these fundamentals of business.

Thanks To: Michael Ayalon of Petwebdesigner

38. Why Cash Is King, Even Emperor

Entrepreneur FAQ: Why do you need to have access to 6 month’s cash? Because it takes that long from start to cash clearing the bank, AND when the cash is not there, the entrepreneur and key tam members get to go without a paycheck.

Thanks To: Gary Patterson of FiscalDoctor Inc.

39. Money, Or Purpose?

Entrepreneur FAQ: Am I in the right business if I’m just in it for the money?

That depends! I would recommend that entrepreneurs carefully choose their business & industry based on their unique gifts & interests. You have to love what you do to keep it up long-term. Making money is obviously great (and necessary) in business, but a focus on it alone can ultimately leave your soul unsatisfied. That is, unless you’re obsessed with money, then it’s perfect for you :-) .

Thanks To: Krista Dunk of Koinonia Business Women

40. There Are No Easy Answers

Entrepreneur FAQ: “When do I get my money back?”

Answer: Probably never. That’s why I differentiate between entrepreneurs and successful entrepreneurs.

Thanks To: Tim Varan of Tim’s Wine Market

41. Pick Something Already!

Entrepreneur FAQ: What’s the biggest piece of advice you have for someone just starting their own business?

Find a niche and stick to it, since you can’t be all things to all people. Have the discipline to pick a specialty where you’ll be unique in the market and really offer a benefit to your clients. And when business comes along that doesn’t fit your plan, have the fortitude to turn it down or refer it to someone better fitted for that work.

Thanks To: Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk of BBR Marketing

42. Owners Need Money Too!

Entrepreneur FAQ: How do I determine how much & how often I should get paid vs. reinvesting back in the business? We struggle with the “right” answer to this question as it is a tough balancing act. Our 1st priority is to make sure all current & future cost commitments are accounted for. 2nd priority is what we call the ramen noodle factor, pay ourselves at least enough to pay family bills & buy ramen noodles. 3rd priority, save enough to entertain a new opportunity if it comes our way. 4th, split it & enjoy!

Thanks To: Lisa Qualls of LightThread, LLC

43. To Partner Or Not To Partner

Entrepreneur FAQ: Q: Should I go into business with a partner? A: Start by answering these questions. •Have you discussed being business partners with your significant others? •Are you on the same page as to what you’re going to do & where you want the business to be in 1,3&5 years? •Are you going to invest the same amount of time & money? •When & how much will you get paid, or need to get paid? •Are you in agreement on who is going to do what, when & where it will be done?

Thanks To: Gail Mayhugh of GMJ Interiors

44. Do You Need A High Talented Pe

Entrepreneur FAQ: The smart answer should be yes but the real answer is no. High talented person cost too much for entrepreneurs, slow down your business because they challenge everything and can move for the next opportunity tomorrow.

You better choose a person just out of college with some skills because they are hungrier to deliver results faster, they stick around for a long time, they cost less and ready to make sacrifices.

Thanks To: Ricardo Solon of BlackySky Media

45. Start With Your Vision

Entrepreneur FAQ: What is the first thing I should do when I decide to start a company?

My answer: While capital, sales, marketing, hiring and many of the common answers all need to be considered when starting a company, the first, and very most important thing is to have a clear vision and direction for your company. Before you borrow money or use your savings, print your first piece of marketing, or sell to your first customer, you must have a clear vision. This should be done before you jump into the business.

Thanks To: Matt Shoup of M & E Painting

46. Keep The Clients You Do Have!

Entrepreneur FAQ: Q) How do I build a clientele? A) Market to your ideal client. Continue marketing even to your existing clients. Keeping your clients happy is easier than finding new ones. Always treat a regular client as though they are new. Don’t get complacent or lazy just because you think you know them and what they need or want. Needs and wants change so always have a full consultation with every client old or new. Networking is one of the best things that I have done as far as marketing.

Thanks To: Donna Rolls of Donna Rolls Hair

47. It’s Not Gonna Work!

Entrepreneur FAQ: Q: How do you know that your business idea will work?

A: You don’t. In fact, your plan probably won’t work the way you think it will. Scary stuff, right? Don’t let it dissuade you from moving forward. Go in with the plan you have and keep your eyes wide open. Be prepared to tweak, adjust, re-organize and change in response to what you see. If you’re attentive and nimble, you’ll make the right moves. The modified version of your plan will look a little different–and much better.

Thanks To: Carson Brackney of Carson Brackney

48. How To Find A Great Partner?

Entrepreneur FAQ: You already know them! This is what Max Levchin told me when I asked him the same question. I was searching for a partner for over 2 yrs through online sources and had zero luck. I didn’t even think to look through my contacts! Such a simple idea and yet so true, you know who amongst your friends are accountable, hard working and driven, now you just need to convince them your idea is great!

Thanks To: Steffany Boldrini of EcoBold

49. Are Bplans Necessary?

Entrepreneur FAQ: Question: Is it necessary to have a business plan?

Answer: HELL NO! A matter of fact, anyone with 3yr+ projections is simply guessing. Markets move to quickly for static plans. The key to success is to be married to your vision and tirelessly look for avenues to reach it.

Thanks To: Paul Carrick Brunson of OneDegreeFromMe

50. How To Get Distribution

Entrepreneur FAQ: A question I am often asked is, “how can a small business owner/inventor get their product into retail stores, particularly national retail chains?” The best way to get distribution for a new product is to hire a product broker. Product brokers have relationships with chain store buyers and they know how to get your product in front of these buyers and correctly pitch the product.

Thanks To: Peter Geisheker of The Geisheker Group Marketing Firm

Compiled by Mike Michalowicz, Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

Category: Skill Toolbox, The Kick In The Ass, The Right Actions
Tags: , , , , , , .
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  • Lori Reader

    Thanks, your website is great!

  • http://Go#49 Margaret

    I couldn’t agree more with Paul (FAQ #49). B-plans take your eye off the prize. They hurt more than they help.

  • Danielle Douglas

    It’s interesting that Margaret said that she agrees with Paul because when I read FAQ #49, I had the opposite reaction. So, I respectfully disagree and here’s why.

    Why is it assumed that a plan is static? It is a given that a plan should be pliable and adaptable based on market condition, economic conditions, and etc.

    The most important reason for a small business owner to create a plan is to gain knowledge about the industry, competition, and customer so that he/she can make educated choices about how he will promote and price his product/service, and where he will place his product/service.

    A lot of small business owners who don’t see the value in creating a “working” business plan are throwing mud against the wall and just hoping it will stick. As a small business owner, mistakes are inevitable. Nevertheless, you want to minimize the trial and error process as much as possible because TIME IS MONEY!

    • Mike Michalowicz

      @Danielle – I like where you are headed. I couldn’t agree more that planning must be dynamic (aka the 3 sheet strategy). But paradoxically I believe we need to go in with a singular focus. Since if we go in with back up plans, we may change course to fast. It is a little bit of an art. But I saw go in very focused and keep your ear to the ground, as new opportunities (or dead ends) present themselves, it is time to change course.

      - Mike

  • Mike

    Great list! I saw a pervasive theme of “belief” here and I totally agree with that. Without it you won’t get far. The only thing I didn’t see that’s close to my heart was a discussion on competing globally. Is it ever too early to start thinking about going global given where we are these days?

    • Mike Michalowicz

      @Mike… GREAT QUESTION. I think we all need to be global immediately. Even little service shops, like a local plumber or similar, needs to think global. The reason is that there is opportunities to provide “digitally delivered information” to anyone in the world at any time, and WE ALL CAN DO IT.

      I mean, think about the plumber – he could deliver training videos to people half way around the world on how to do their own plumbing.

      My friends in Jamaica (I love the country) can provide information products to folks like me (I live in the United States), on techniques to make world class rum, or coffee, or how to make Jamaican dishes… all for a fee.

      You could own a restaurant, and sell your recipes. You could be a consultant, and have a portion of your knowledge delivered on line.

      So, in my opinion, you must do more than think global, you need to start behaving global… IMMEDIATELY.

  • Darren

    #28 Right Time to Launch a Business?

    Great question! I don’t think there has been a better time than the last year (if you didn’t need financing) to start a business for a few reasons:

    1. People are more interested in doing business with people, not companies.

    2. There are more opportunities available as companies outsource non-essential functions.

    3. The proliferation of sites like Rent-A-Coder and Elance has given budding entrepreneurs a watering hole to find work.

    4. The costs to start a new business are minimal.

    5. Necessity – when the pink slips come, you have to do something!

    Nice list!


    • Mike Michalowicz

      Thanks Darrren! I appreciate you taking the time to highlight those reasons. – Mike

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