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Most Recent Questions in Starting a Business

How should I acquire loans, grants or investors for a business venture?

All of these options, while viable, have their pros and cons. I think it's going to be up to you to determine which is right for you, based on your resources, contacts, credit score, how much money... (more)

How much of my personal funds should I use to start a franchise?

You've probably heard it many times lately but I'll say it again: In these tough times, cash is king! More so than in a hot market, during a recession and/or credit crunch (both of which we have... (more)

Before opening a retail business, what demographics should I consider?

When it comes to opening a retail business in a designated area, some factors to be looked at are: - Average age: There are distinct buying differences among age groups. For instance, baby... (more)

How do I approach potential landlords?

Leasing agents will typically want to see a business plan, but in this economy, you may be better off going directly to the landlord at a great retail location. What is a great retail location? A... (more)

A business partner and I are starting up a store which will have an online presence as well as a physical retail space. How do I divide the profits if we are unsure which side will be more profitable?

Normally in your partnership agreement you will outline what each individual is contributing to the business and how profits will be divided. I strongly encourage you to seek an attorney and have a... (more)

How do I find a local, trustworthy business attorney with an entrepreneurial spirit?

As my mother used to say, "You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince." The way you find the right attorney for you is to interview them. Get recommendations... (more)

What documents are required for a European company to establish a U.S. branch?

Non-U.S. residents can certainly open a business in the United States. Unless they're eager to be held personally liable for the acts of the company, their options are to form an LLC or a C... (more)

Is a business incubator a good way to start up a new company?

It can be, as long as the people running it know what they are doing. What is their track record? What are their credentials? Can you do better on your own by hiring a business coach or mentor to... (more)

Can I run a pet-sitting business from my home?

It all depends on what the rules and regulations are in your municipality. In general, yes, you can run something like this from your home and yes, there would be certain permits you will need to... (more)

I want to start a cabinet/wood furniture business but I would have to invest a lot of money in the machinery. Do you think I should wait?

Start small--and know you can get great prices right now on machinery and many raw materials. Get the business side of things right first, and then you can start to expand. Know that the economy... (more)

On average, how much do stores mark up products?

According to Integra Information Systems industry profiles, general line grocery merchant wholesalers make a gross margin of 13.11 percent on average--so they have a markup of 15 percent. Those are... (more)

Can I hold a fundraiser for a business I am trying to turn into a nonprofit?

You can hold a fundraiser for the business -- but you must be absolutely transparent about the purpose of the fundraiser. You will also need to let people know that their "donations" are... (more)

How do I make the first contact to sell my product to restaurants?

Do you have contacts in the industry? Have you sold other products to restaurants before? If not, it will be tough to go in cold without an introduction from a trusted source. Sending direct mail,... (more)

Where can I find manufacturers for my products?

Manufacturing organizations are the best places to look. Join or participate in some good manufacturing associations, and look for referrals from people in those groups. In the meantime,... (more)

Should I apply for a patent for my idea?

You're facing a-million-to-one odds. Apple has no incentive to talk to you because once it does, even if it was already working on the same thing, you can allege that Apple took it from you. And... (more)

There is an increase in the attention being paid to my invention. How can I capitalize on this?

Have you gone back to the groups or individuals who have actually expressed an interest in your product? It sounds as if you have the legal protection you need, and if you are protected from a... (more)

Do I have to take a course in school to be a good entrepreneur?

In short, no. You can learn to be a good entrepreneur from books, tapes and CDs. But as long as you are in school, you can learn the fundamentals of business building from all of those courses you... (more)

I am looking for companies to license my invention. Where do I start?

First, the global view: you're rowing upstream. You are facing several real problems. First, the real value in business isn't the idea but rather the building of the company to create, market, sell... (more)

How do I find a company to produce a small plastic educational item?

My first question would be, is there really a market for your product? It may be useful to you, but is there a use or a benefit for others? To test this, you could create a prototype or a small... (more)

How do you know when it's the right time to leave your full-time job for your own business?

If you have replaced at least half of your old salary in the new position, you can make the jump knowing you can replace the rest with new business. As far as benefits go, you should look into... (more)
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