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Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Book You'll Ever Need

by Rieva Lesonsky
  Make your dreams of starting a business come true! Packed with expert advice, this book demystifies the start-up process with plain-English answers to the most commonly asked questions about starting a small business.
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Starting your own business

'It's important to understand that the rewards of small-business ownership are not instantaneous. You must be ready to defer gratification and make sacrifices to ensure the rewards eventually do come." (Lesonsky,2004:14)

Lesonsky (2007) considers that, according to surveys and research, entrepreneurs share some common personality traits - confidence being the most important. They have confidence in themselves, in their ability to sell their ideas, set up their own businesses, and trust in their intuition. Confidence is essential in the fiercely competitive world of small business.

The value of confidence is shown in a commonly held belief that the critical determinant of entrepreneurship is the ability to raise significant amounts of money from investors (Lesonsky 2004:14): 'If you can make people believe in your dreams and share your goals so that they are willing to invest hard-earned cash in your venture, chances are you have what it takes.'

Most small businesses never become large, and many are unsuccessful. Some of the reasons why can be traced back to the start-up. Jay Goltz describes a large number of the common-sense elements of starting a business in his instructive book: The Street Smart Entrepreneur: 133 Tough Lessons I Learned the Hard Way. For example:

Lesson 1 - Going into business for yourself is more responsibility than you can possible imagine. You may start off thinking that when you go into business for yourself, you do not have to answer to anyone. In fact, the list is endless: your bank, your customers, your spouse, the revenue people ...

Lesson 2 - Behind every failed business are a dozen friends who said it was a great idea. And they did - enthusiastically - along with your life partner. It is always best to get an expert opinion and not to rely on people who want to be supportive and not hurt your feelings.

Lesson 3 - If you've got it, use it. Even if it's a great smile. Hard work is not enough - you need to leverage the assets you have. And assets could be just about anything.

Lesson 4 - It's easier to steal a share of the market than create a market. Remember that Bill Gates was not the first in the computer software market. You might believe that a totally original idea is the key to success but if you have no competition you cannot be sure that there is a market out there.

A further point to realize is that you do not necessarily have to start a business from scratch. You could buy an existing one, or take out a franchise agreement - or, perhaps, consider part-ownership of a successful business. Obviously, you need access to capital.

Kawasaki (2004: 6) cautions against a tendency to follow 'big business' principles from day one. For example, he questions the need for a mission statement at the beginning of a venture:

'Crafting a mission statement is usually one of the first steps entrepreneurs undertake. Unfortunately, this process is usually a painful and frustrating experience that results in exceptional mediocrity. (...)

'The fundamental shortcoming of most mission statements is that everyone expects them to be highfalutin and all-encompassing. The result is a long, boring, commonplace, and pointless joke.'

Whether you buy or start a business you are likely to need a business plan, however. Your First Business Plan: A Simple Question and Answer Format Designed to Help You Write Your Own Plan (3rd Ed) by Joseph Covello and Brian Hazelgren starts by saying:

"When it comes to writing a business plan, most people think it's as much fun as going to the dentist." But they point out that the time and effort involved will give a number of advantages over millions of businesses that do not have business plans. Those businesses just react, often with no clear idea of where they are going.

Besides the importance of a business plan in obtaining finance, the process of preparing one - and using it later as a checklist - encourages you to address your strengths and weaknesses and come to terms with the realities of business.

What does it take to start a business?
Entrepreneurship: Do YOU Have What It Takes?
Entrepreneur Growth
Entrepreneur Research
One Adult in Eleven is an Entrepreneur
The Power of Selling a Dream

The Illusions of Entrepreneurship

This book shows that the reality of entrepreneurship is decidedly different from the myths that have come to surround it. Scott Shane, a leading expert in entrepreneurial activity in the United States and other countries, draws on the data from extensive research to provide accurate, useful information about who becomes an entrepreneur and why, how businesses are started, which factors lead to success, and which predict a likely failure. More information and prices from: - US dollars - Canadian dollars - British pounds - Euros - Euros

The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

by Guy Kawasaki
  What does it take to turn ideas into action? What are the elements of a perfect pitch? How do you win the war for talent? How do you establish a brand without bucks? These are some of the issues everyone faces when starting or revitalizing any undertaking, and Guy Kawasaki, former marketing maven of Apple Computer, provides the answers.
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Bankable Business Plans: Second Edition

by Edward G. Rogoff
  The secrets behind creating compelling and successful business plans sure to attract financial backers are revealed step-by-step in this invaluable guide. Containing detailed information on Risk Management Association (RMA) data and clear explanations of the guidelines that banks, venture capital firms, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) use to grant loans and other financial support to businesses, the resource equips potential business owners with a wealth of knowledge on lending procedures. Hundreds of useful ideas for developing, operating, marketing, and building a profitable business are included as are copious examples and resources for further study. By demonstrating how to make each business plan uniquely suited to a particular endeavor—such as home-based businesses, sole proprietorships, and franchise operations—this comprehensive handbook ensures that anyone can embark on a new business venture with confidence.   More information and prices from: - US dollars - Canadian dollars - British pounds - Euros - Euros

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