Ask Entrepreneur - Starting a Business

How do I determine if there is a market for a disease management company?

I am an RN and have an interest in developing a disease management company in which I would provide education, counseling and guidance to customers/patients with chronic disease issues or prevention. I live in Montana and need to know how I determine the market for such a business and how to get started against large companies like insurance companies?
Brad Sugars

How do I capitalize on a business idea when I have little money as a startup?

I have an idea for a restaurant. I put together a business plan and presentation while completing my MBA. I do not have professional experience managing a restaurant nor do I have more than $10,000 to $15,000 to invest. I believe my concept would franchise to more than 20 locations within two years and just explode from there. I would like to build a network of partners who specialize in pertinent areas. What should be my next steps?
Brad Sugars

Should I drop out of college and use the money to fund my business?

I am currently enrolled as a freshman at a university in Louisville. I have a business plan for a mall-based retail shop. There are two other investors; they would both put up approximately 25% each. I would put up 50%. (One would be a silent partner, while the other would be active.) If I were to put my studies on hold after the spring semester, the money from my educational fund, in addition to some money from a trust fund, would be enough to cover anticipated costs. When I've talked to business owners, the response has been mixed. Those who graduated from college say it's absolutely essential. Those who dropped out or didn't go say that a college diploma doesn't mean much when you're working for yourself. The other investors (one of whom graduated college, while the other dropped out of culinary school) say that because the business is my idea and I would be majority owner, it's up to me. However, the active partner has alluded to the fact that he wouldn't mind getting the business up and running as soon as possible...I could always return to school if the business failed. Opinions?
Tim Berry

What will happen to small business if the Democrats win the election?

I have been working on opening my own business for more than a year. We are getting close, but a few of my investors are getting worried about the election. They are concerned about the effect of increased taxes on the small business owner if the Democrats win. What is your opinion?
Brad Sugars

Starting an online invitation business

I design invitations. I want to start an online invitation business. What do I need to do so people can place internet and/or phone orders to purchase my invitations? Do I need to get a distributor or manufacturer?
Tim Berry

How do I determine the estimated population needed to support an apparel business venture in the Austin or San Antonio area?

The question applies to the folowing types of stores: apparel and accessories, womens' specialty, women's ready-to-wear, and men's and boy's clothing.
Brad Sugars

Is a letter of credit from our bank enough to start a freight broker business?

Should our banker fill out the necessary form with the letter of credit, or are we required to have a bondsperson handle it after we receive the letter of credit?
Nina Kaufman

What area of study would be best to pursue if looking to open my own business in the future?

I am looking to open a business in the future, and am wondering what my major focus should be in college. I can't afford to go to a four year college right now, so I'm looking into community college alternatives. I'm torn between focusing on what I want to do for my business and what I need to learn to run a business. Please help.
Tim Berry

I am in the beginning stages of a vending business. How do I write a proposal to put my machines in a college that hasn't opened yet?

The contact person at the school advised me to provide as much information as possible about my business, including my years in business. I just started, and I don't know how to write a proposal that would prevent this from being a disadvantage.
Tim Berry

Is there a form or preferred format for creating an equity proposal to a potential investor?

I've created a business synopsis. It's a three-page, boiled-down version of our business plan that lays out the company, opportunity, market, management and projections. I drafted a use of funds page that has the equity offer in it. I'm wondering if that's the proper business format or whether that page should be offered once an investor has indicated interest?
Tim Berry

How can I address, in my business plan, the threat that an established large competitor poses for my business?

Clearly, established competitors pose a threat to any new startup. I am working on a product for which there is a great need in the marketplace. However, if an established company sees my idea in the marketplace, likes it and produces a similar alternative, it would put me out of business.
Tim Berry

How does one calculate projected sales for a restaurant?

I am writing a business plan for a restaurant but am having trouble in getting decent sales projections. What do I base my projections off of? Is there a formula?
Tim Berry

What is the best way to accept payment from cutomers for mobile mechanic services?

I want to start my own mechanic mobile business and need to figure out what would be the best way to accept payments from customers. I won't be the one going on the job sites. Also, I have bad credit of my own.
Brad Sugars

Is it possible to profit from organizing a career/job fair?

I would like to organize a career fair in my city. The population exceeds 4 million, and job seekers are abundant! It would be outside the United States, but most legal rules still apply. Can I make money through sponsorships and selling tickets to attend?
Brad Sugars

We want to open a second sushi bar. What should we ask for in negotiating a lease?

We want to do business in a new shopping center. What can we reasonabily ask the landlord to do for us before we move in (i.e., gas piping, drain work, ceilings)?
Nina Kaufman