Entrepreneur Interview Protocol

Entrepreneur Interview Protocol


· Select one entrepreneur to conduct a face-to-face interview with.

· The conversation should last a minimum of 30-40 minutes.

· Be sure to get a business card.

· Doing this assignment via email or over the phone is NOT acceptable. You may want to ask if you can record the conversation, otherwise you’ll need to take good notes.

· Please refer to the list of questions compiled below, but feel free to add others that are more appropriate for you and your interviewee. You will not be able to ask all of these questions by any stretch of the imagination. Use these lists more as a pool of optional questions you can tap into to create your own set of interview questions. Probe…be creative…get details…


· Minimum of 5-6 pages, double-spaced, 1” margins, 12-pt. type.

· Staple your interviewee’s business card to the front page.

· Include an introductory paragraph that states who you interviewed, their title and company, a bit about their product/service, and details about how/where the interview was conducted.

· Follow a Q&A format – state the question, then include a summary of his/her comments in your own words. This does not have to be verbatim.

· Include a couple of paragraphs at the end that summarize your findings and include your personal comments/reflections. (For example: What surprised you? What was the biggest take-away or lesson learned? How did the conversation change your views of entrepreneurship? What was the best advice you received?)

· Due date: December 6th. Upload to Slack and post under the #interviews channel.

· Refer to submission guidelines on Slack under #general for proper file name format.

Pool of Interview Questions:

What did it take to sell your first product/service agreement? (How’d you get your first sale?)

How do you know when to keep going or it call it quits?

Are you a serial entrepreneur or is this your first business?

What was the catalyst to become an entrepreneur?

What came first: the desire to be an entrepreneur or the idea you wanted to sell?

What were your greatest challenges in the beginning?

What are the challenges you face now?

How long have you been in business?

What are some of your greatest mistakes/failures?

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? (Would you do it again?)

How did you finance everything?

What is your biggest regret (if any)?

Who/what helped you the most to reach where you are now?

What did you do with the initial money that you earned?

Where did your inspiration come from?

What keeps you going?

Who has influenced you the most throughout your entrepreneurial journey?

How long have you been in business?

Can you tell me about your professional background?

What was your greatest motivation/inspiration for launching a new business?

How did you come up with your idea?

What have you sacrificed most?

What are some of greatest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

What are your greatest assets today?

Did you leverage corporate experience to launch you business? How so?

What are some of the first steps you took to obtain financing?

How do you keep your biz relevant/competitive?

What strategies do you use to build your client base?

How have you adapted your business since its inception?

What was your biggest mistake/failure? What did you learn from it?

What are your greatest fears as an entrepreneur?

What was the tipping point to start your own business? What was the catalyst?

Are you profitable? How long did it take you to become profitable?

What are current threats to your industry?

Are you satisfied with your business as it stands today?

What are the greatest rewards received from being an entrepreneur?

What is your growth strategy?

Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years?

What type of legal entity is your business? How did you determine which structure to be?

Do you have any employees? How and why did you choose your first employees?

If you have partners and advisors, how did you go about finding and selecting them?

What are your sources of inspiration/support?

Do you consider yourself a risk taker?

How did you determine which business model to follow?

How do you incorporate technology into your day-to-day business operations?

If you knew how hard it was to launch your own business, would you do it again? Why/why not?

What do you wish you would have known then that you know now after this experience?

What do you dislike about the entrepreneurial lifestyle?

Have you ever thought about giving up?

What characteristic in your personality has made you most successful?

What do you feel is your underlying reason for success?

How did you find the funding to get started?

· How much did you need?

· How did you determine this amount?

· How much did you actually obtain?

· How did you spend it?

What did you do with your money once you generated a profit?

Did you have a mentor? If so, what is the greatest value in having one?

Do you have any words of wisdom for a young, up-and-coming entrepreneur?

Do you have any specific tools or resources you’d like to share?

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