Ask Entrepreneur - Grow Your Business

Growth Strategies

What's the best way to lay out a plan for long-term growth?

We are a 4 year-old fence installation company. A few years ago we had plans to expand our business by selling fence products, staining fences and penetrating the commercial market. This year we will be realizing these goals and are beginning to think about our next goals for the upcoming few years. We really want to take our business to the next level in the coming years.
Tim Berry
Finance

What do I do when my main investor passes away and I am in another country?

I'm currently in Africa with building my non-profit business charity and have found myself without the funding I had expected from this investor. I have a website that is being built, but at this point there is no way to let people know about the charity and to try and raise funds. Do you have any suggestions?
Tim Berry
Finance

What are the key ingredients to attracting and securing capital investors to your business?

I'm moving into a space where our business is seriously considering raising extra capital to finance further expansion. We've experienced great growth after our first first years operating and are ready to take it to the next level. What advice do you have on nailing the presentation 100 percent? There may not be a second chance to secure parties we've identified as potential investors. Should we include information about the company, directors and business plan? What questions should we ask the investor? After all, our company needs to be content with what the investors bring to the table; it's not just about cash, or is it? What questions should we be asking ourselves to provide the right direction for the process?
Tim Berry
Marketing

How do you obtain a sponsorship?

My company throws different events throughout the year and gives a large percentage of the proceeds to charity. It is a great opportunity for companies going after the same demographics that we aim at. But how do I obtain sponsorship from large companies? How do I assure them I'm not trying to rip them off?
Roy Williams
Starting a Business

Do teens starting a small after-school business have to have a license or register their business?

We are developing a program for teens in a community center to learn how to set up their own businesses (such as landscaping, pet sitting, jewelry making, etc.). What regulations govern these businesses?
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

How can a minor obtain a business loan for a start up?

I like many other 16 year-olds, I do not have thousands of dollars to pull out of my pocket. However, I do believe I have great entrepreneurial skills. I think I have nice-looking layout for an e-commerce site that's being quoted at around $5,000 in addition to other expenses. Banks and everyone else are reluctant to letting you borrow money because you are not an adult so you can't sign a legal document. My parents do not have the best credit, and they don't want to put it on the line for me. I guess I am the only that believes I can be successful, but I am hoping there is an alternative way to get funding besides working at a minimum wage job.
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

What legal issues arise when trying to start a business under the age of 18?

I am a 16 year old sophomore in in high school and would like to start a mobile auto-detailing business. I have read E-Myth and a book on starting your own auto detailing business. The only thing that I don't know is what legal issues will arise. Eventually, I would also like to have employees before I am 18.
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

How do I legally resign from a corporation?

I was involved in a business for 10 years and now I just want out. My business partner wants to keep the business running. The business was incorporated in the state of New York as a Chapter C-Corp. Since I am resigning, how can I be assured I will not be responsible for any tax liabilities or any future debts incurred, etc.?
Nina Kaufman
Finance

Can we pass our business down to our children for free without any tax consequences?

My husband is the sole proprietor of a business and I am the bookkeeper/receptionist. My two sons are HVAC techs and do the work that brings in the money. We are of retirement age and would like to just pass the business down to these sons instead of selling it to them. Would this be permissible with the IRS? Can we gift the business to them with no tax consequences to them or ourselves?
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

How do I terminate a commercial lease?

My lease states I can only operate on these premises as a gift and apparel store. My store is within a strip mall which is owned by the same person. The tanning bed company next door to me has now added gifts, purses etc (just like mine). After discussing this with my landlord he said I should talk to the tenant. This tenant is taking business away from me. Do I have grounds to walk away from my lease?
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

Do I need permission to post celebrity pictures online for my salon's new website?

My website will have questions and answers, hair tips, etc., for men and women. This is all new to me--I'm really not computer savvy at all. I noticed a lot of salon websites have celebrity pictures so their hair can be discussed. Do I need special permission to post such photos?
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

Why is it wrong to accept gifts from vendors?

What are the legal and moral implications of accepting gifts from vendors? Are there any human resource policies that affect this kind of activity?
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

Is the website designing business over-saturated?

Can you still make money designing websites or is the field over-saturated? How do you differentiate your website designing business enough to make it, if it is possible?
Lena West
Marketing

How can I advertise my new green advertising firm?

I live in Greece and green advertising is still in its first stages here. All green advertisements lack quality and effectiveness. That's why I have decided to open up a consulting firm for green products and companies practicing CSR. How should I advertise my new business and what key elements of my service should I emphasize in order to grab the possible clients' attention?
Kim T. Gordon