The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer

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> • , what are my goals} Do I have the right strategy^ Can I execute the strategy I The Questions Every Entrepreneur by Amar Bhide Of the hundreds of thousands of husiness ventures that entrepreneurs launch every year, many never get off the ground. Others fizzle after spectacular rocket starts. A six-year-old condiment company has attracted loyal custoiners but has achieved less than $500,000 in sales. The company 's gross margitis can 't cover its overhead or provide adequate incomes for the founder and the family members who participate in the business. Additional growth will require a huge capital infusion, but investors and potential buyers aren 't keen on srnall, rnarginally profitable ventures, and the family has…show more content…
Instead, it helps entrepreneurs pose useful questions, identify itnportant issues, and evaluate solutions. The framework applies whether the enterprise is a stnall printing shop trying to stay in husiness or a catalog retailer seeking hundreds of milliotis of dollars in sales. And it works at almost any point in a venture 's evolution. Entrepreneurs should use the framework to evaluAmai Bhide is an associate professor at the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, where he leaches entiepreneurship. He has published two other HBR articles on entrepreneurship: "Bootstrap Finance: The Art of Start-ups" (Novemher-Deeemher 1992} and "How Entrepreneurs Craft Strategies That Work" (March-April 1994). 121 QUESTIONS FOR ENTREPRENEURS ate their companies ' position and trajectory often not just when problems appear. The framework consists of a three-step sequence of questions. The first step clarifies entrepreneurs ' current goals, the second evaluates their strategies for attaining those goals, and the third helps them assess their capacity to execute their strategies. The hierarchical organization of the questions requires entrepreneurs to confront the basic, big-picture issues hefore they think about refinements and details. (See the exhibit "An Entrepreneur 's Guide to the Big Issues.") This approach does not assume that all companies-or all entrepreneurs - develop in the same way, so it does not
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