Questions about business challenges are streaming in from readers who are taking advantage of my Smart Answers column, in which I interview experts and distill their insights into answers. I’m also receiving questions I have addressed before. Rather than duplicate what I’ve already done, I’ve compiled answers to a handful of recent questions below. Enjoy.
1. Question: Joe from Twentynine Palms, Calif., says he’s starting a record label with a co-worker. They won’t hold equal shares as co-owners, and he’s wondering the best way to pay themselves. He notes they haven’t yet decided on a business structure.
2. Question: Gregory VanSapp has two product ideas but says he doesn’t know where to begin to determine if they are viable.
Answer: Read “Questions to Riddle Before You Start a Business.”
3. Question: A reader in Bandung, Indonesia, wants to learn about profitable businesses to start. In a similar vein, Jeremy in Kraków, Poland, is looking for businesses that don’t need high startup capital.
Answer: Read “Determining Which Business Idea to Pursue.”
4. Question: A reader in Washington, D.C., is looking for apparel manufacturers in the U.S. that work with small clothing designers.
Answer: Read “When Designers Want Their Clothes ‘Made in the USA’” and “Tailoring an Expansion Strategy.”
5. Question: A reader from a Santa Monica (Calif.) cafe says the company wants to sell its smoothies in stores and is looking for co-packers.
Answer: Read “Breaking Into the Energy Drink Business.”