By Jewelle Saunders
The YLAI Network hosted Michael Goldberg, a professor of entrepreneurship and an expert in international business development, for a Facebook chat in November for Global Entrepreneurship Week. Michael answered questions from network members requesting advice for their entrepreneurial endeavors. Many themes came up, such as overcoming issues with funding, navigating unstable governments, expanding your business, and dealing with competition.
Here are Michael’s expanded answers to the most asked questions about these issues, including links to some of our past articles to help elaborate on these themes.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs and professionals looking to finance their business? Where can startups find money to launch their businesses?
There is an array of capital sources that entrepreneurs can approach to finance the growth of their companies, including crowdfunding, government grants, and pitch competitions, which typically would not require giving up any ownership (equity) of their business. Angel investors or venture capitalists will require that entrepreneurs sell shares (equity) of their companies for investment.
Another great route for social entrepreneurs is Kiva, which provides low-interest loans.
- Creating a product the market wants is key to startup success
- Startup communities – Where to find them and how to get involved
- To get the world to fund your startup, start with your mom
How can a small company or startup business minimize its exposure to political and societal risks? What advice do you have for businesses operating in unstable environments?
Starting a successful business is a challenge, even in countries where there is political stability. That being said, I have spent quite a bit of time with entrepreneurs in the developing world who have navigated difficult environments to build a successful business. Building deep networks to acquire customers and develop partnerships is key.
- 3 ways to turn a profit while doing good
- Counteracting corruption: 3 questions of self-reflection for leaders
- Eliminating gender-based violence in Peru one ‘sonrisa’ at a time
Business expansion is a natural step for any successful entrepreneur. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to expand—how can they use marketing strategies, social media, and product development to grow their businesses?
Before entrepreneurs should think about expanding, they need to show that they are solving a problem and making a place in the community for their initial customer base. I have seen entrepreneurs raise capital to expand before they were ready, and this has caused challenges.
- 6 ways to sell your business on social media
- Getting started with digital marketing
- Strategic approaches to your marketing
What general advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to compete with larger competitors in the marketplace?
Taking on bigger (and better funded) competitors is not easy. That being said, we have seen many examples of large companies that get disrupted by smaller, scrappier startups. Check out this talk from the guru of innovation, Clayton Christensen.
- Here’s some unusual advice for entrepreneurs
- Many paths to successful startups
- Expand your horizon: Explore new ways to find partners and grow your business
There are so many factors that influence business. What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs looking to find work-life balance?
Most entrepreneurs struggle with work-life balance. Investors often will say that they back entrepreneurs that are staying up at night worrying about their company. But if you are staying up all night worrying or working, something else has to give. This is usually time with family or other leisure time. Building a great team and trusting colleagues to help is critical for entrepreneurs.
Thank you to Michael Goldberg and to everyone else who participated in this chat. Make sure to keep up with our content for more advice on these themes coming up.