25+ Professional Questions to Ask Business Owners

Here are important questions to ask business owners. Employers utilize a variety of interviewing techniques to determine who is the best candidate for the job. They can take the form of a typical sit-down interview or something more akin to a day of work.

As a candidate, it's critical to understand the sort of interview you've agreed to so that you can prepare appropriately.

questions to ask business owners

What's a business owner?

A business owner is someone who is in control of the day-to-day operations of a business. Many business owners acquire ownership through the purchase of a business from its former owner or through the formation of a partnership.

Entrepreneurs are a popular sort of business owner since they start their own company based on a unique idea. Entrepreneurs and business owners generally monitor the company's operations and processes and manage workers to ensure their work matches the company's values and goals.

General questions to ask small business owners

An interviewer can ask broad questions to ascertain a business owner's or entrepreneur's personality and how it relates to their company. The following are some common questions that interviewers can ask business owners:

questions to ask business owners

  • When did your business begin?
  • Why did you decide to start your own business?
  • What was your first objective when you founded your business?
  • How many people work for your company?
  • What products or services do you offer?
  • What methods do you use to promote your business?
  • Are you a company owner who makes use of professional services?
  • What factors influenced your decision to locate your business?
  • What are the objectives of your business?
  • Why did you decide to start a business in this industry?
  • How should I start a business plan?
  • What's your suggestion for achieving business growth, quickly?
  • What did you learn about business operations?
  • What're your profit margins?

Questions about experience

Interview questions concerning experience and background can provide an interviewer with information about a business owner's business experience and business judgments.

The following are some examples of experience and background inquiries that can arise during an interview with a business owner:

  • How long have you been employed in the field of business management?
  • Have you previously run a business?
  • How do you manage your business's resources?
  • How percent of your company's revenue comes from your top customers?
  • Does your organization make use of performance incentives?
  • How does your company stack up against market competitors?
  • What compensation does your company provide its employees?
  • Have you previously worked in your market or industry?
  • How do you get new customers through referrals?
  • How has your company approach evolved over the last few years?
  • How many employees did you start off with?
  • What's the importance of digital marketing?

questions to ask business owners

Detailed questions

Certain interviewers can inquire in-depth about a company's success or distinguishing qualities.

The following are some detailed questions that a business owner can be asked during an interview regarding their company:

  • How did you choose the name for your business?
  • How would you characterize the working culture at your company?
  • Is your business committed to giving back to the community?
  • What makes your business unique?
  • Which type of company is yours?
  • Which characteristics do you want in new hires?
  • How many hours a day do you spend working on your business?
  • Who are your major market competitors?
  • How would you characterize your business's success thus far?
  • How long did it take for your business to turn a profit?

Interview questions and example answers

The following are some often requested interview questions for company owners and entrepreneurs, along with sample responses:

questions to ask business owners

Where did the concept for your business originate?

This question can be asked by an interviewer to ascertain the rationale for your business and to ascertain why you began it. Knowing why you started a business can also provide interviewers with insight into your own beliefs and methods of thinking since it can emphasize your thought processes and point out key observations in society.

To address this question, you can describe some of the reasons you started your business, such as identifying a market need, developing a concept for a new product, or having a personal experience that connects the business to your own life.

Example answer:

"I founded Craw Marketing after noticing a surge in the use of paper straws in restaurants and food courts. Many members of my family suffer from chronic diseases that make using paper straws difficult owing to their rapid decomposition, so I took advantage of the chance to design a reusable straw that retracts and expands, making it simpler for my family members to carry and use on the move."

Which market segment does your business serve?

This question can be used to ascertain a business owner's familiarity with their market. Due to the fact that some business owners are entrepreneurs, this question can also inform an interviewer on why someone begins a company, particularly if the reasoning is based on a market need.

To address this issue, you can determine the market in which your business operates and the segments of the market that your company can directly service.

Example answer:

"I saw a rising demand for reusable straws in recent years and created Simple Straw Solutions in the goal of catering to the market of those who use straws due to a medical condition or chronic disease and wish to practice sustainability." As a retailer, Craw Marketing can also assist anybody interested in finding alternatives to single-use straws and enhancing their home's sustainability."

What is the mission statement of your business?

This question can be asked by an interviewer to ascertain your values and how you apply them to operating your business. A mission statement can inform the public about a company's commercial, production, or societal goals, as well as its short- and long-term strategies for achieving those goals.

When responding to this question, you can either refer to your company's current mission statement or describe some of your company's fundamental principles in more broad terms if you do not have one.

Example answer:

"The aim of Craw Marketing is to provide consumers with expandable and retractable reusable straws for ease of use, cleaning, and transportation. Simple Straw Solutions aims to assist the community of users who require straws but have difficulty finding single-use alternatives. Due to the fact that Craw Marketing is likewise committed to sustainability, we aim to assist as many homes as possible in making the switch to reusable straws."

How did you fund your business?

Interviewers might use this question to get further information about a business owner's financial experience. As owners and entrepreneurs, their ability to make sound financial judgments can help a company become more lucrative and achieve financial success.

All of this, though, begins with financing. To address this question, you might explain the strategies you employ to locate and acquire money for your business and its endeavors.

Example answer:

"Four years ago, when I founded Craw Marketing, I began with very little capital that I gave myself. However, as my company expanded and required additional cash to fulfill orders, I saw the need for outside finance and visited a number of small business conferences that link small businesses with possible investors. Following around three months of events, I got proposals from a variety of sources to support manufacturing and marketing expenditures and went into contracts with investors who have aided our company in growing enormously."

How have you increased the size of your client base?

An interviewer can use this question to gain insight into a company's client base, including the number of consumers served and the demographics of its usual customers. Knowing how many clients a business serves can provide insight into their overall success and help determine the most successful marketing and sales strategies used by the company.

You can mention activities you do to acquire new consumers and also strategies you employ to retain existing customers, such as marketing campaigns, outreach programs, and digital advertising, in response to this question.

Example answer:

"When Craw Marketing began, our sole marketing strategy was to publish on our social media accounts." As the business has developed, we've expanded our advertising to include ads on websites and commercials that play before and after video broadcasts. However, word of mouth has proven to be the most efficient method of acquiring new clients, since pleased consumers always appear to know at least one person who can benefit from our goods."

What distinguishes your business?

Interviewers might use this question to ascertain what differentiates a business from its rivals. Knowing what makes a business unique can also inform an interviewer about which components of the business the owner values the most since it asks the owner to identify the unique characteristics of their company. When responding to this question, you can utilize personal experiences to highlight the distinctive characteristics of your company and demonstrate how they contribute to its success.

Example answer:

"One of the distinctive aspects of Craw Marketing is that we operate in a huge retail market yet are first and foremost a family business." Because I founded Craw Marketing in response to requirements identified in my own family, I make it a point to consult them when making product design, logistics, and even marketing strategy decisions. Because our board is predominantly made up of family members, we retain a degree of familiarity and respect that enables us to conduct business successfully while also having fun."

How do you define success in your organization?

This question can be asked by an interviewer to ascertain your company's values and objectives. As there are several ways to define success, this question might inform an interviewer about how your organization monitors, acknowledges and rewards success. Success can be defined as reaching sales or production targets or adhering to particular ideals within a company's working culture.

To address this question, you can provide instances of times when your organization has recognized achievement and describe the techniques you routinely employ to quantify success.

Example answer:

"Because Craw Marketing is a sales-driven organization, the most fundamental method we evaluate success is by setting monthly sales objectives and celebrating when we achieve them by recognizing the sales and marketing teams that make it possible. We also have a quarterly campaign that encourages employees to publicly recognize coworkers who assist them with jobs or projects, with the objective of having at least 10 by the end of the quarter. This enables us to categorize collaborations as successes, which we can measure via thank-you notes."

What are your usual business owner responsibilities?

Interviewers might use this question to get information on a business owner's involvement in the operations of their company. Because some business owners prefer to be hands-off while others prefer to be highly involved in the day-to-day operations of their businesses, understanding what tasks you complete can provide insight into your potential as a boss and as a business owner in general.

When responding to this question, you can list the jobs you often undertake as a business owner, including both high-level and day-to-day work.

Example answer:

"I've liked being active in nearly every area of our business since I founded Craw Marketing. While I initially concentrated on long-term goals, as the company grew, I became more involved in day-to-day operations. On a normal workday, I could phone vendors and retailers to plan product delivery, visit our sales team to check in on sales success, or respond to staff inquiries regarding product-specific information consumers inquire about."

questions to ask business owners

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur (Profile), Dice.com, WorkWise, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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