I have worked closely developing my own businesses and advised a variety of startups. I am a mechanical engineer with extensive business development experience. My focus is manufacturing and go-to-market strategy. I aid in a variety of market and customer discovery.
any entrepreneur who is worth his salt has a list of past situations he/she wishes she could redo. As hard as you try you are not going to get everything right the first (or even second!) time around. The key take away here is to be focused but not spend too much time second guessing your self. If you go down this path you will get nothing done and you will make your self crazy. The second is to pick a strategy and commit to it. Once you are already going down a path you have to own it. Executing strategy is a 'wishy-washy" fashion will surely yield failure. Other than that you need to be the kind of person who does not blame others for failure. Once you begin your business endeavor you have to be comfortable knowing that everything that goes wrong is your fault. The buck stops with you and is your responsibility to repair the product/service and the customer relationship. So, as long as you are willing to own those processes you will be just fine. You can get advice on the accounting and legal to smooth your path with the logistics, but you have to have the heart for this kind of journey and nobody can answer that except for you.
Absolutely not. This is an outrageous request. If the investors are asking for this now what will be the next request? How much more intrusive will the due diligence process be? This person or persons will likely be overly suspicious and a terrible business partner. My guess is that if the partnership is formed a lot of time will be wasted on things that have nothing to do with furthering business goals.
This is a very difficult situation. I have seen situations where the creative has an aversion to the "business" side. In truth even the creative portion is a single pillar of the entire business structure. I have yet to see a business succeed without a business plan even if the creative team is excellent. There needs to be some form of road map so everybody is on the same page with respect to the company goals. Without this "map" the business is without direction. I would be happy to have a conversation and go through scenarios to help you have a heart-to-heart with your partner. We could also go through some case studies as proof for why the business plan is for his benefit. If you are not on the same page on this foundation elements you will have little chance of success.
It really depends on your initial cash position. In my experience the most direct path to positive chase flow is a service business. If a service business is not for you I would look into a distribution company. If you are creative there are ways to set up a distribution model that utilizes a drop ship method. This means you establish the sale and get paid and the manufacturer will ship the product directly to the end user with your name on the documents. There are a wide variety of opportunities. There are many limiting factors we would have to initially identify to direct your search.
Sorry to keep it short. We can speak and go through the specifics, but keep in mind that IP is the lifeblood of business valuations. In a variety of cases companies both large and small are purchased for their intellectual property and the talent . You would have to go through a market discovery to identify the potential value of the IP. I would have a plan with what you are going to do with the IP when you enter into your agreement so you don't handcuff your future strategy in the initial contracts. You have a lot of potential paths to success here.
This is a very good question. During various consulting engagements I have directed my clients in both directions. Assuming the quality of the customers are all equal the ideal situation would be diversified between both types of projects. This keeps you from having too many eggs in a single basket or doing so many projects that you may not be doing your best work. The personal solution for you lies in the bandwidth you and your team have. If you are financially stable enough and have the bandwidth to take on larger more lucrative projects you can add them to your product mix. If you are starting or have a tight cash position I would direct you to take on more of a rapid fire approach. In the end you are building a brand (either for yourself or your company) so please make sure the level of competence and professionalism are high.