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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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What does it take to
start a business?

One in ten adults in the US today has started a business. Australia is not far behind with one in twelve, and Brazil is ahead with one in eight according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2000). By contrast, the older established countries are less entrepreneurial: for example, Germany (one in 25), the UK (one in 33), Finland and Sweden (one in 50) and Ireland and Japan (fewer than one in 100).

What is an entrepreneur? And why do people start businesses?

A classic definition of entrepreneurship: "Entrepreneurship is the process of creating or seizing an opportunity and pursuing it regardless of the resources currently controlled" (Timmons, 1994: 7).

According to Stolze (1999:13):

'Long ago I read one author's comment that, Entrepreneurship is a profession for which there is no apprenticeship. No matter how many books you have read, no matter how many courses or seminars you attend, no matter how much advice you get from "experts," no matter how many small companies you work for, there is no substitute for the actual experience of doing it yourself.'

Catlin and Matthews (2001:6) list the following classic entrepreneurial strengths:

* Vision and a pioneering spirit

* Being able to see possibilities where others do not

* Always searching for new opportunities and challenges

* Possessing energy and passion

* Having a drive to succeed and achieve results with high standards of excellence

* Being creative - idea generators, able to 'think out of the box'

* Constantly striving to do things better

* Proactive and focused on the future

* Intelligent, capable and decisive

* Having a strong sense of urgency

* Confident about taking risks

* Problem solvers seeking new challenges and believing that nothing is impossible

* A determination to succeed, be wealthy or 'make a difference'

Stolze (1999:16) divides the reasons why entrepreneurs start businesses into two categories: reactive reasons and active reasons. Reactive reasons are negatives that push people out of working for other people; active reasons are the positives that pull people towards the idea of working for themselves.

Reactive reasons

1. Inequity between contribution and reward. People who are high achievers tend not to enjoy working in large organizations. According to Stolze: 'They want rewards based on accomplishment - not on seniority, conforming to the corporate culture, or political clout.'

2. Promotion and salary policy. Large organizations tend to categorize people and mavericks do not fit the conventional promotional paths and salary bands.

3. Adversity. One of the commonest reasons - basically, job insecurity. When the job is not safe, people tend to think about alternatives. According to Stolze: 'I get very upset when a young college graduate seems unduly concerned about a retirement plan, fringe benefits and so forth. Long ago, I concluded that there is only one kind of job security that means anything - your ability to get another job fast.' Redundancies may also mean severance packages, allowing people to fund their own businesses.

4. Red tape and politics. Stolze says they are 'shortcomings of all large organizations that drive the entrepreneurial type bananas. Politicians and bureaucrats are rarely entrepreneurs.'

5. Champion of orphan products. Those of us who have cared about products or services outside the mainstream can understand how negative a large organization can be about 'orphan products'. This can be a first step towards the entrepreneurial leap.

Active reasons

1. Wanting to be one's own boss. According to Stolze: 'Many entrepreneurs have personality traits that make it difficult (if not impossible) for them to work for others.' Running their own business is the only solution. But also, there is the opportunity of professional satisfaction, seeing a job through, using time more flexibly, and so on.

2. Fame and recognition. Stolze does not consider this to be a common reason for starting a business, considering that there are 'more extrovert egotists' in established large organizations. In fact, he believes that starting one's own business is often a lesson in humility.

3. Participation in all aspects of a business. The all-round experience is elating and challenging. Being able to see the whole picture is more interesting than being one 'cog in the wheel.'

4. Personal financial gain. This can be important for some people, but not all. Potentially, the gains are much greater than normal wages.

5. Joy of winning. Gaining pleasure from a sense of achievement.

Entrepreneurship: Do YOU Have What It Takes?
Starting your own business
Growing the business
Entrepreneur Research
One Adult in Eleven is an Entrepreneur
The Power of Selling a Dream

References

Catlin, K. and Matthews, J. (2001) Leading at the Speed of Growth: Journey from Entrepreneur to CEO, John Wiley & Sons.

Stolze, W.J. (1999) Start Up: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Launching and Managing a New Business, Career Press.

Timmons, J.A. (1994), New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century, Fourth edition. Irwin Press.

Leading at the Speed of Growth: Journey from Entrepreneur to CEO

by Katherine Catlin, Jana Matthews
  Learn how to take your company to the next level of growth through the stories of over 500 successful entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, this flagship book introduces a new series on managing growth. The authors expertly guide you through the three stages of entrepreneurial growth: initial growth, rapid growth, and continuous growth. Personal stories told by successful entrepreneurs reveal the hows and whys of evolving as a leader at each stage, identifying red flags, vital signs, and secrets of sustained growth. Become a dynamic leader by using this book as your roadmap to entrepreneurial success.
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Start Up: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Launching and Managing a New Business

by William J. Stolze
  This fifth edition of Start Up is a thorough, concise, and exceptionally easy to read book that applies to those who are ready to embark on a new venture, those who have already gotten their feet wet, and those who would like to learn more about entrepreneurship. It addresses key problems that are crucial to the success of any business such as: how much money is enough, how to write a successful business plan, what is most important to business success, and why small companies are better. Completely revised and updated, this edition also features complete information on how to use the Internet to fuel the information and promotion needs of a business.
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