Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Martin Zwilling @StartupPro. He is the Founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, a company that provides services to startup founders around the world. He has a 30-year track record as an executive in general management, computer software development, product management, and marketing. He writes a regular blog for entrepreneurs, and dispenses advice on the subject of startups to a large online audience of over 500,000 Twitter followers. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, and the Huffington Post. For more information check out http://www.startupprofessionals.com
SmallBizLady: Why is it important to know your motivation for starting a small business?
Martin Zwilling: Are you bored, wanting to be free of a boss, or eager to showcase a hot technology? These are not valid reasons to start a business. But if you’re focused on solving a real problem, believe you can do it better than anyone else, and confident in wearing many hats, you have the right start-up mindset.
SmallBizLady: What do you need to be prepared for in a new small business?
Martin Zwilling: When you start your own business, you are no longer in control. You will likely not have the freedom you dreamed of. You will be controlled by your customers, investors, lenders — and you are personally responsible for answering to all of them, all of the time.
SmallBizLady: Why do you need to know how well you work with others?
Martin Zwilling: Many people dream of opening a business as an escape from annoying coworkers and overbearing bosses. But, now you have to interact with even more people, including accountants, lawyers, as well as clients and team members. You need to be comfortable with people and have sharp people skills.
SmallBizLady: In what ways do you think some entrepreneurs are unrealistic about starting a business?
Martin Zwilling: Owning a business is very much like raising a child. It’s a 24/7 job. If anything happens to the business (including a loss of income), how will it affect your family or home life? Remember, the buck always stops with you.
SmallBizLady: How important are management and industry experience?
Martin Zwilling: Being able to manage employees and vendors is the type of skill assumed before starting your own business. You’ll also need to know your industry inside and out. It helps to work in a similar company before you start your own.
SmallBizLady: How important is a start-up entrepreneur’s network?
Martin Zwilling: Business comes down to not what you know, but whom you know. Good connections are worth their weight in gold. They will get you interest from investors and lenders, and you will receive better financing, prices, terms, and conditions from business suppliers and professional services.
SmallBizLady: Why do you think every entrepreneur should ask themselves what is your honest relationship with money?
Martin Zwilling: Don’t expect your relationship with money to change just because you’ve opened a business. Opening a business requires money, as well as sound financial management. Do you panic about spending money or avoid financial risk at all costs?
SmallBizLady: Why it is important to know your personality type when starting a small business?
Martin Zwilling: If you are a person who likes stability and control, or if you prefer when things go as planned, the roller-coaster ride of a new business may not be right for you. Every new business has highs and lows, and plenty of the unexpected.
SmallBizLady: Why it is critical to examine the marketplace and your competition?
Martin Zwilling: To brand your business and woo investors, you’ll need to understand why and how you can outshine competitors. Both good and bad competitors will influence how successful your business will be.
SmallBizLady: Why is it important to test your scalability?
Martin Zwilling: Successful businesses rely on automation and delegation. Will you be able to teach other employees to do your work? If your business relies on your brain and skills alone, you might have a successful job, but not a successful business.
SmallBizLady: Why do you always need to have a positive mindset?
Martin Zwilling This starts with positive thinking that your startup idea will work, but is a lot more. It is a confidence bolstered by intelligence, preparation, and experience that your business model addresses a need in the market, provides a solution, and will beat the competitors.
SmallBizLady: Why is it important to really enjoy the work?
Martin Zwilling Do what you love, and you will love what you do. It’s hard to maintain all of the above if you don’t enjoy the subject area, the team, the challenge, and the customers. People who are not having fun are rarely successful.
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.