Ask Entrepreneur - Starting a Business

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

I have noticed that some of the most successful people in the world shared something in common -- a good attorney and a good accountant. I noticed that at the toughest point in these people's lives these professionals were key players that made life changing recommendations. Where can I find driven, open minded professionals that are receptive to my specific objectives?
Nina Kaufman

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

We are Czech startup company that wants to establish a U.S. branch. All business will be conducted in Europe. We just need a warehouse and distribution in the U.S. Are there any limits for EU companies entering U.S. soil? Do we need to have an LLC or a corporation?
Nina Kaufman

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

They are building a business incubator near my college in Dunkirk, NY.
Brad Sugars

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

Are there certain permits that I would be required to obtain? What if my neighbors complain that there's too much noise?
Brad Sugars

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?

I really have the desire to start a cabinetry/wood furniture business but I'm afraid to invest a lot of money when the economy is so bad right now. Should I wait for it to rebound?
Brad Sugars

On average, how much do stores mark up products?

I am importing high-quality olive oil from Spain and am trying to figure out the sell price. How much do people typically mark up products?
Tim Berry

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

I have a magazine for children in waiting rooms and in hospitals. We have incorporated the magazine and are trying to go nonprofit. The state hasn't let us know if it will accept us as a non-profit and we had to discontinue publication of the magazine. I would like to hold a fundraiser for the business and would like to know if that is legal and ethical?
Nina Kaufman

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

I am planning on selling imported olive oil from Spain. My idea is to sell to restaurants first. How do I make the first contact? Do I call first? And if so, what is the best way to handle that call? Do I talk about my business or do I try to set up a meeting at the restaurant?
Paige Arnof-Fenn

Where can I find manufacturers for my products?

I am looking for manufacturers to make several small items such as lanyards for IDs, retractable key/ID holders and penlights. I am trying to find contact information for manufacturers that may be able to help, and I have no idea where to look.
Ivan Misner

Should I apply for a patent for my idea?

I have an idea how to at least double the sales of the iPod. With the blending of a variety of already existing technologies, this idea could be easily incorporated into the iPod, and sales would go through the ceiling. Should I apply for a patent for this idea before approaching Apple?
Tim Berry

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

I recently paid my maintenance fees for my invention, and while I was checking the progress and interest in my invention I noticed a lot of postings and variations of my product. I want to manufacture and distribute my invention to major retailers but do not know how to get started. For the past six years I have been making my product by hand in my home. My invention has not been violated but interest has been building in the past few months.
Brad Sugars

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

I'm a registered nurse but since I was 19 I have wanted to run my own business. Now I'm 23, I live in London, and I want to start a business. For the past two years I've been doing a lot of research on the internet about everything you need to know to have a business. If I do take a course, what should it be? Business management, accounting or marketing?
Brad Sugars

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

I have an invention that is a simple tool to help make a task easier. There are other versions on the market but all are online and cost more than I think they should. I made a better version of this product. I want to license this product to a company but do not know where to start.
Tim Berry

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

I have taught middle school for almost 10 years and have thought of a product for teachers to use. I know it would be very useful to me, and I think an educational company could sell it easily. So do I contact a company and see if it wants to buy my idea? Or do I find a company to produce the item and try to sell it myself?
Brad Sugars

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

Our family has had a carpet-cleaning business for more than 28 years. My father has run the business himself all that time. In the spring my father and I decided to add a new division. This new division is property maintenance, and I am in charge of it. My concern is that we are growing it steadily, and my full time job is interfering with the growth. I feel if I had more time to dedicate to our business, I would be able to make it. But the benefits at the full-time job are becoming a big problem in discussions with loved ones. How can I get out of the full-time job and into my own?
Brad Sugars