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Expert Advice for Small Business Start-ups
April 2011 
Carol Roth
The Entrepreneur Equation
Carol Roth
Entrepreneur, Author, Consultant

Carol Roth's rapid rise in the investment banking industry has positioned her to become one of the country's most successful and sought-after business advisors. She's translated her frank, straightforward approach into the upcoming book The Entrepreneur Equation, helping entrepreneurs realistically evaluate the risks and rewards of starting a business. This month, Carol discusses how smart planning can better ensure lasting success.

Expert Tips from Carol: The Entrepreneur Equation
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Q: What are three hard questions should one ask when exploring entrepreneurship?

Is it the right time for me to start a business? The factors in a person's life that affect the ideal timing to start a business change quite frequently. Your finances need to be in order, your responsibilities should be consistent with the ability to invest time and capital, and you should have the appropriate experience under your belt.

Do the rewards of this opportunity greatly outweigh the risks? This is where so many business owners really make poor decisions. You have to invest your time, effort and money into a business, so you want to make sure that the venture's financial and quality of life rewards greatly outweigh its risks.

Is my personality well-suited? Entrepreneurship requires taking risks, being proactive, and riding out the ups and downs. If you are great at execution, but really prefer receiving direction on what to do next, you may be better suited to work for someone than to have your own business.

Q: If you're unsure whether these attributes match your skills and personality, should you forget about entrepreneurship entirely?

A: Skills can be developed, changed, enhanced, and even supplemented. I do think it is important to gain a certain level of experience before you start a business, especially if you haven't worked in the industry before. It's much more cost-effective to learn on someone else's dime, and it gives you a chance to screen the opportunity in more detail before you make the leap on your own.

Personality and what makes you tick may be harder to change. If you aren't someone who likes uncertainty or has certain attitudes towards money, you may have a very difficult time being an entrepreneur, now or ever.

Q: What attribute of a business plan will make the biggest impression on prospective lenders?

A: You. You're the most important thing that will impress a prospective lender or investor. They are investing in their belief in the person as much as the business concept itself, sometimes more. And, you must convince them that you have the experience and determination to execute on your business plan.

Q: Why is it important to consult with a SCORE advisor at the earliest stages of the business planning process?

A: I truly believe in the mantra, "If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail." Part of being well-prepared is having trusted resources to advise you objectively, like SCORE advisors do.

Opening and running a business is a very emotional process, so it is great to have the resources and feedback of others who can see the "forest through the trees" when you are too close to the situation to be truly objective. A SCORE advisor will act as that resource; plus, you can leverage his or her experience and insights.
Q: You teamed up with SCORE for a workshop based on The Entrepreneur Equation that is available now online. Who would benefit from watching this webinar?

A: The workshop is based around understanding that "not all businesses are created equal," and the risks and rewards associated with not only entrepreneurship, but the types of businesses that are too dependent upon their owners. It's an absolute must for anyone who is thinking of starting a business or in the early stages of a business.

It is also incredibly valuable to those who have a business but may be stuck, re-evaluating their business model, feeling overwhelmed or overworked, or trying to figure out how to get to the next level.

Plan for success with a SCORE mentor.
Ask a SCORE mentor your questions online or meet in-person at your local SCORE office.

You Might Also Like:

Online Webinar:
The Entrepreneur Equation

by Carol Roth

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Online Webinar:  

Developing a Business Plan 
with SCORE and Visa
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Online Webinar:  

Can You Afford to Start a Business? 

Listen anytime

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