54 questions every entrepreneur should ask

1. What’s next? Keeps you productive. Keeps you in motion. It keeps you thinking about the future. Helps avoid complacency.

2. What did you write today? Writing is the basis of all wealth. Even if you’re not a writer, you’re a writer. SAY IT WITH ME: Writing is the basis of all wealth.
3. If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like? Helps you clarify your philosophy. Plus, once you discover the answer(s) to that question, you now have a framework. Now all you have to do is make sure you’re giving your people (customers, staff) the tools to build that world.

4. What do you (really) sell? For example, if you work at Hertz, you’re not selling people a car. You selling people a way to get the heck out of the airport! So, ask yourself “What do I sell?” over and over and over. Make a list of at least ten different answers.

5. Is everything you know written down somewhere? If you don’t write it down, it never happened. That which goes unrecorded goes unmemorable.

6. What highly valuable activities did you accomplish today? If you can go to bed every night knowing that you achieved three highly valuable activities during the day, everything will be gravy.

7. Who else lives there that you can see when you’re in town? Helps you keep your network alive.
8. What’s the stupidest thing you could possibly say? Then, don’t say that. Don’t be ashamed to ask your clients or customers this question. They’ll appreciate your willingness to learn what to avoid.
9. How can you be visible to the highest number of people? Especially if you’re at a conference with lots of people.

10. What’s the universal human emotion of this story? That way it connects with everybody.

11. Why are you even telling this story? Don’t tell it just to tell it. Have a point. A lesson. A takeaway.

12. Are customers asking to buy a product or service you don’t presently sell? If so, maybe that should tell you something.

13. What are the best possible questions I could ask this person? Questions are the basis of all cooperation. And he who asks the best questions wins. It’s a perfect way to be that guy.

14. How does that relate to me? There’s a lesson in everything. The challenge is figuring out what you’re supposed to take away from a specific incident.
15. What industry do you want to dominate? Because niches = riches.
16. When was the last tome you were featured IN the media? About your business, about your philosophy and your products. Because anonymity is the greatest barrier to business success.

17. When was the last time you were interviewed BY the media? Because you need to be perceived as an expert.

18. What did I JUST learn from this experience? Because we learn not from our experiences; but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences.

19. Who else can I talk to about this? Make a list of every possible person that would be a good source of advice or help on a challenge.

20. Am I really the best person to be doing this? If not, find someone who is and recommend her. Don’t worry. The world will pay you back.

21. Am I giving away enough stuff for free? Because the more you give away for free, the wealthier you will be.

22. What’s the ONE thing I totally forgot to pack? I ask this to myself right before I leave for the airport. I usually helps out.

23. Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my number one goal? This question made me more money and helped me become more focused than anything. Ever.

24. Is what I’m doing right now leading to a sale? Just like the above example but more focused on selling. (Put this one on a sticky note!)

25. Did you get their email? It’s the single most important piece of information you need to obtain. Because everyone is in the name-accumulate business.

26. Did you listen enough? Twice as much as you talked.

27. What lesson did you learn today? Before you go to bed, take 30 seconds to jot this down on a note card. One sentence, one lesson from one day. At the end of the week and month, re-read them. Then share them with your employees, kids and friends. Encourage them to do the same.

28. What are you thankful for today? Developing an attitude of gratitude will attract more good things in your life because the universe is responsive and participative.

29. When did you say no today? Your time isn’t just valuable; it’s billable. And most entrepreneurs suck at saying no. Consider keeping a No Journal to make sure you’re saying it enough.

30. What (small) victories did you have today? Any victories build confidence and skill. Keep a Victory Log. (And if you don’t feel like keeping a bunch of journals or logs to answers these various questions, go back and read #2 again.)
31. How many new ideas did you come up with last week? The best way to come up with great ideas is to have a LOT of ideas.

32. Are you able to speak on your expertise at the drop of a hat? That’s how good you need to be. That’s how smart you need to be.

33. Can you speak on your expertise forever? If not, that’s cool. Your customers will find someone who can.

34. Do you really want to make this a career? If not, don’t bother. Hobbies aren’t enough. You need to make this a business. (Whatever “this” is.)
35. What did you read today? Every. Single. Day. And not the newspaper or magazines. Positive, healthy, enriching stuff.
36. How many books did you read last year? I read about 300. What about you?
37. What’s the stereotype of your profession? Know this at the beginning (of your career, of your sales calls and of your days) so you can address it early, disarm people and earn their trust.
38. Have people heard about you? Because the only reason anyone will do business with you is because 1) They’ve heard you, 2) They’ve heard OF you, or 3) Someone they trust has heard of you.

39. Are people talking about you? Because word of mouth is the most honest, most effective and most sincere marketing medium. Also, Oscar Wilde once remarked, “The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.”

40. What do you do? Be prepared to answer this question confidently, uniquely and quickly. Have several versions ready to go for various situations.
41. Are you talking to the right person? Find the economic buyer. Don’t waste people’s time.

42. What if you got sick? Would you still make money? Would your business function by itself?

43. What if 9/11 happens again? Will you still make money? Can your business thrive without travel?
44. Do people know what you do? If you successfully answered #40, this shouldn’t be a problem.

45. Do people know what you’re DOING? Publish an ezine, blog or calendar that keeps your network in the loop. Makes it easier for them to refer you.

46. Do people know what you’ve DONE? Because there’s nothing more persuasive than a working example. Also makes it easier for them to refer you.
47. What type of marketing will you use? Remember, there’s like 46 different ways. Consider using all of them.
48. What have you done in the last 24 hours to promote YOU? Tom Peters asked this question in his awesome book The Brand You 50.

49. What have you done in the last 24 hours to increase your credibility? Because complacency is the enemy of growth.
50. Have you googled yourself this week? Becaue you can participate your online image, but you can’t control it. Because if you don’t exist on the Internet, you don’t exist.

51. Why are people picking you? The media, your customers, etc. Constantly ask them, “Why me?” Figure out the answer; repeat often.

52. What is today’s creative opportunity? There will probably be more than one per day. Still, the world is filled with them. Listen closely.

53. If you were to close your doors TODAY, what would you customers miss most? Hopefully there’s a good answer (or answers) to this question. Because a LOT of entrepreneurs out there are quickly and easily replaceable.

54. What’s your guarantee? Have something cool, remarkable and unexpected. When you remove risk from your transactions, it sets you apart, earns trust and stimulates word of mouth. For example, my guarantee to any of my customers is, “If you feel that any of my products suck, call my cell phone and your money will be refunded.” Nobody’s ever called me on it. Yet.

Who’s the luckiest person you know?

What do they do that nobody else does?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!
Tune in here!

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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