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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Entrepreneur FAQ: HOW DO YOU MARKET WITH A LIMITED BUDGET?
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, MyWorkButterfly.com 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.’”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.