Sushant Misra is an entrepreneurship evangelist, accomplished serial entrepreneur, dynamic speaker, published author, syndicated columnist, and philanthropist. Sushant is best known for founding and hosting Trep Talks, a web based video interview show featuring successful digital entrepreneurs. Sushant is also an experienced eCommerce professional. He is the founder of Yogamatstore.com and has helped Canadian retail giant Hudson’s Bay grow their eCommerce business. Sushant is a seasoned Yoga practitioner and has lived in 4 countries on 3 continents.
Entrepreneurship requires a specific "set" of skills and psychological traits. Some of the most important soft skills are communication/interpersonal, analytical, & problem-solving skills.
The psychological dimension involves the ability to manage risks, recover and learn from setbacks quickly (resilience), persistence and empathy among others.
For me, learning sales via telemarketing helped a lot. It helped me develop thick skin to handle rejection, learn to listen and understand customer need, as well as close. Many people have difficulty closing the sale because they don't feel worthy.
Sales experience through any means is probably the best preparation for entrepreneurship because it helps you develop the ability to communicate and sell, as well as the ability to manage rejection and recover quickly.
I interview some very successful entrepreneurs at Trep Talks (http://treptalks.com)
Firstly, you have to understand that for investors "money" is a product. They are also in a business. They invest money so they can make more money from the venture in the future.
Tech startups often offer the kind of reward that investors look for. You have to really prove that investing in your company will make them money in the future- that will make the deal a lot more attractive for them.
Also, there are many programs offered by government, banks, other organizations for funding small businesses. Connect with your local chamber of commerce and other business organizations in your area who may be helpful.
If you are confident in your venture then funding it via debt is not a bad option, most small businesses are funded this way.
The other way to try is crowdfunding.
Biggest is probably the product-market fit. Is your product or service helping (enough) people solve a problem or fulfill a need?
This is the biggest question a startup is trying to answer. You have to answer this question within a "finite time" and with "limited resources".
So it really comes down to how focused a startup is in answering this question. If you lose focus with other stuff (co-founder issues, business cards, spending too much time making the product beautiful or whatever else) you are going to run out of time and resources and you have lost the game.
I interview some of the very successful digital entrepreneurs on the web that respond to questions like this. Check out the interviews here: http://treptalks.com
I interview successful successful entrepreneurs at treptalks.com and I usually ask entrepreneurs this question. Most of them emphasize #1 below.
Your question is very general without any specifics so the response is general here.
1. Ideally, if you can find your prospective users/customers to get to sit with you in-person, you can get the best feedback. You will have to come from a place of trying to help them solve a problem that they are already having - otherwise it may just seem like a waste of time on their part. In other words, they would be more interested if you are talking about solving their problem and then showing how your product may do that and then asking for feedback.
Can you think of places where you can meet the kinds of people who would potentially use your product?
2. If you have an email list with people who may already be using your product, you may want to create a short survey asking questions and sending them an email with some sort of incentive for completing the survey.
3. Again, if it is web based product, there are services like usertesting.com and I am sure there are others that provide similar services where they actually recruit real people to test out your product and gain feedback.
You may want to check out a couple of interviews below where entrepreneurs discuss the same topic in depth.
Hope this helps. If you have any additional questions feel free to reach out.