I want to be an entrepreneur but don’t think I have a good idea. What should I do?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  If you can get things done and are willing to work with resources you don’t control, you don’t need an idea. Lots of people have ideas, but aren’t willing or able to do the work it takes to turn them into value. If you are asking this question and have execution skills developed … Continue reading

What skills do I need to learn to get started?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  Eventually you will need to learn just about every aspect of business, but to get started you don’t need to learn any.  You just need to get started and you’ll learn soon enough.  Some of it you’ll learn the easy way – being told, reading, seeing it done.  The rest you’ll learn the … Continue reading

How do I talk about my ideas to people and still make sure people won’t steal them or disclose them to others?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  This is the art of entrepreneurial communication.  You need to talk convincingly about your idea in a way that gets people to buy in, without compromising potential intellectual property claims or company secrets.  Outright stealing doesn’t happen that often, but it can.  Everyone eventually learns how to strike a balance, telling enough but … Continue reading

How do I find people who can guide me through the startup process?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  People who can help you are more plentiful than you think, and more willing than you would guess.  The best way is through networks—who you know and who they know. You’d be surprised how many people will help you if you just ask.  Unless you want to learn everything for yourself the hard … Continue reading

How do I find out what my customers want?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  You have to talk to customers, early and often.  And never stop.  If you don’t believe deep down customers will buy at a price that works for you, you don’t have a company. Ask them! This is the art of market validation.  There are two goals: Convincing yourself “the dogs really will eat … Continue reading

How do I find the right people to work with?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  There are three parts to this question: what kinds of people do you need? Where do you find them?  And once you’ve found them, how do you entice them to join you? Your needs for “the right people” usually include co-founders, boards of directors and advisors, employees, professional services providers, vendors, partners, even … Continue reading

How do I know who my competitors are?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  The worst thing in the world is to be in an investor presentation and be asked about a company that’s doing something directly competitive with you, and you have never heard of them.  The search for competitor intelligence never ends. It’s a good question! One of the biggest rookie mistakes is to say, … Continue reading

How do I create a business model?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  Business models are ways of executing on an idea or product. Any time you create a business model you are taking a chance it will work out. Short answer: don’t. Long answer: if you have a new product see the previous answer. There is no glory to creating a new business model if … Continue reading

How do I write a business plan?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  Written business plans may or may not be needed for outside parties like investors, but writing a plan is still a good idea. If nothing else, the exercise imposes a discipline on you and your team to really think through the aspects of your launch. Fortunately, planning is a lot easier than it’s … Continue reading

How do I bring my product to market?

Gregg Fairbrothers:  Not to overstate the obvious, but the way to bring your product to market is to go out and sell it. You should try some selling yourself, because selling means touching customers, and there is nothing more valuable than being in touch with your customers. But products seldom sell themselves. Marketing—product, price, place, … Continue reading