Ask Entrepreneur - Venture Capital

Finance

When Should I Seek Venture Funding?

Assuming there is a vision and a roadmap and the business is progressing according to plan, should one go for venture capital funding to accelerate one's growth? Am I better off not giving up a piece of my company to anyone and just focusing on what has to be done to grow organically? If one has to go for venture capital funding, what are the key factors on which I should make a decision to go for it?
Ryan Himmel
Growth Strategies

How Should I Answer Negative Interview Questions?

I landed an interview recently for a job at an early-stage startup that I really wanted to work for. The interview went well until I was asked to describe negative qualities that I possess. I had prepared to wow the founder in the interview, but I wasn't prepared to talk down about myself. My struggle to answer was evident, and sure enough I didn't get the job. How can I do better next time?
Penny Morey
Starting a Business

How Should I Draw Up a Business Plan?

I've never written a business plan before. I know there are some resources online, but I'm hoping you could tell me what are the necessary sections of a good business plan, what problems may be encountered in the writing of each one and how to solve them.
Ryan Himmel
Marketing

How Should I Handle Negative Online Reviews?

What should I do about complaints that come in the form of negative online reviews that are somewhat permanently out there? A lot of complaints these days stick around even if you've fixed the problem that inspired them.
Karen Leland
Marketing

How Can I Market an Unknown Product?

I've read about Chobani and other companies that have successfully marketed unknown or under-the-radar products (i.e., Greek yogurt) to a broad consumer base. How can I go about doing the same?
Karen Leland
Starting a Business

What Are the Rewards of Entrepreneurship?

It's easy to see the value in entrepreneurship if you launch the next Instagram or Pinterest, but what if your business never gets to that point? Are there rewards to the entrepreneurial path even if your business stays pretty small?
Ryan Himmel
Finance

How Should I Prepare to Pay Taxes on Home-Based Biz Income?

I'm starting a home-based business, and I don't want to get caught with my pants down during next year's tax season. What steps should I take to prepare myself for paying taxes on this business income?
Ryan Himmel
Growth Strategies

How Can I Keep Employees From Texting Too Much?

I have a problem with my employees getting distracted by their mobile phones. I catch them texting a lot. From a human resources standpoint, how can I handle this? Can I take my staff's phones away when they start work and hand them back at the end of their shift? If not, what should I do?
Penny Morey
Leadership

How Should I Define My Role in My Business?

My small business has grown to the point where I'd like to hire a manager to handle the day-to-day operations. What I'm not sure about is what comes next. Once I hire a manager, what role should I take as the business owner?
Karen Leland
Finance

How Can I Help My CPA?

For a new business, what is the easiest (and possibly cheapest) way to manage my finances so that I'll have a neat little record to hand my CPA during tax season?
Ryan Himmel
Growth Strategies

What Are 3 Traits That Would Make Someone Unhirable?

What "red flag" traits should I look out for so that I can avoid hiring problem employees?
Penny Morey
Starting a Business

How Can I Start a Business With No Experience?

I have a business idea that I'd like to get off the ground but have no previous experience in business. Where would it be best to go first for advice, planning and development of my idea?
Ryan Himmel
Growth Strategies

How Can I Hire Exceptional Individuals?

I'm building my first startup toward launch. I've learned a lot during the process, but hiring continues to perplex me. I've hired about 20 people over the past several months, and fired most. But one guy I found is incredibly talented, 50 times better than everybody else. It's incredible to have this secret weapon on my team. When I first talked to him, I got a gut feeling and hired him to be my head of marketing. How do I meet more people like this without spending as much time as I did to find this one jewel? How do great companies leverage recruiting?
Penny Morey
Starting a Business

Do I Owe Subcontractors Health Insurance?

I'm a self-employed sole proprietor (doing consulting/contract work) and I am thinking about hiring one or two subcontractors this year. A friend of mine told me that if I do that, I'll be liable for providing them health coverage. I can't imagine that being true. He also told me that each one of my clients is responsible for providing me with health care, despite the fact that I'm already covered by my husband's plan. I think all these allegations are outrageous, but he's insisting they are true. Any insights?
Nina Kaufman
Marketing

How Should I Engage on Google+?

Why do so many brand ignore Google+ as s social media platform? Many who do use it simply repost stuff from facebook and twitter. How should it be used to best effect as a marketing tool?
Pattie Simone