This article is also posted on

If you ask the experts, they will tell you that there are four types of entrepreneurial ventures. Some are  small businesses, some are startups, and others are community fundraisers and organizations. Despite these four types of endeavours an entrepreneur may take on, each of them have one thing in common: knowledge.

Everyone needs the knowledge to know what they are doing. If an entrepreneur doesn’t know what they’re doing, then they aren’t going to get anywhere in the long term. While this certainly doesn’t mean that an entrepreneur needs to know everything, they need to know the basics.

Thus, in this list, we will go through ten questions that every entrepreneur should have the answer to. If they don’t, then it means they simply are not an entrepreneur.

Why are you doing this?

Why spend many sleepless nights on this project? 

It’s the question of internal need. Since it often takes several years for even the best business ideas to get going, having an answer to this question will fuel you as you make your way down the long road ahead.

What problem are you trying to solve?

An obvious question, but one that is often difficult to answer. Why spend the time to fix a problem that doesn’t exist? 

Simply put: If there isn’t a problem, then you’re wasting your time. 

Pro tip: Don’t simply look for a problem. Try to find a specific problem to solve.

Are your ideas feasible?

Many typically get stuck on the real-world issues at play. Just like how a project must answer a real-world problem, it also must exist in the real world, and the real world can be messy.

Pro Tip: After identifying a problem, make a plan of attack. In that plan of attack, try to be as specific as possible with what you will need.

Have others tried and failed?

Before investing time and money in the problem you want to solve, do your research. A lot of research. An exhausting amount of research, plus a little more. Only then will you see where others have tried and failed, and thus you can make a plan to avoid the pitfalls.

Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to change your plan as you learn more.

Is it legal?

During your research, hit a few law books. Talk to a business attorney. Before you get going, you want to know that the path you’re going down won’t lead you straight into a cell. What are the legal requirements you have to meet? What must you make clear to your investors? 

Pro Tip: In any business, there are risks. Some risks are greater than others. Some risks might put you in the poorhouse, others will put you in jail. Know which are which.

How much capital do you need?

It’s a question of money. Anyone can talk the big talk, some can even make up great plans of attack, but very few have the venture capital needed to get started.

Don’t be swayed by the stories of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, and Jeff Bezos started Amazon with a three-hundred-thousand loan from his parents.

Pro Tip: Stories about success are often written by successful people.

Who is your target customer?

Unlike the first question, this question is one of external needs. Who is this product serving? Who will buy it? If you’re selling baby products, your customer base aren’t babies: they’re parents.

How will customers find out about your business?

Personally, I’ve never bought something I didn’t know existed. It’s an obvious admission, true, but what that means for an entrepreneur is they have to get their product in front of customers. Word of mouth is good, but it’s no guarantee. People don’t live in a commercial world where they talk endlessly about products they like.

Pro Tip: Come up with a clear marketing strategy.

Who will try to put you out of business?

The inability to compete means that your business won’t survive in the long run. It’s the Netflix vs Blockbuster question. Picture this: You are Blockbuster, a big chain that’s lasted for years renting out DVDs. It’s the year 2000, and you’re in your heyday.

Then one day, a small startup approaches you saying that they plan to utilize new technology to streamline movie rental and want to start a partnership. The problem? Their business strategy is not likely to make much money in the short term, but there is some promise in the long term. What do you do?

Blockbuster didn’t fully comprehend what the internet could do—the world wide web was still in its infancy. However, they didn’t need to. Instead, they should have asked themselves, “Who will try to put me out of business?”

Are you sabotaging your own success?

What often stands in the way of a person’s success is themselves. Are they misidentifying passion for motivation? If successful, can they still devote enough time to this venture?

If your company is hitting hard times, it might be time to look in the mirror.

What happens if everything goes wrong?

Disasters hit. Pandemics rage. People miss the toilet, the bus, and the meeting. Coffee cups spill, and suits are stained. Things happen. That is life. Many businesses fail and most entrepreneurs fall flat on their faces.

If you are one of these unlucky people, what will happen to you? Have you spent so much money that you have no choice but to make it work? Or can you walk away with nothing but some time wasted and knowledge learned?

Pro Tip: Make sure you’re in the second category.

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Leave a Reply