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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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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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Entrepreneurship: Do YOU Have What It Takes?

© 2001 Elena Fawkner

PERSONAL QUALITIES

Equally important as the common issues shared by all entrepreneurs are the personal qualities of the entrepreneur him or herself. To start you thinking about whether you have the right stuff to make a success of an entrepreneurial venture, here's a list of character traits and work ethics common to successful entrepreneurs. Although it is not necessary that you possess all of them, you should possess most:

Passion - entrepreneurs have a strong passion for their idea or concept, so much so that their work is their play. If you don't like what you do, you won't stick it out when challenges come along, as they inevitably will.

Curiosity - entrepreneurs need to understand how things work. They ask a lot of questions. Curiosity therefore triggers innovation.

Sponges - entrepreneurs are sponges. They devour information about their industry and are always current on new and emerging trends and technologies, not only in their specific industry but in closely related industries. This habit of scanning their environment is a rich source of discovery of new opportunities. Entrepreneurs are ALWAYS looking for new markets, applications, products or twists on an old concept.

Optimism - entrepreneurs think of problems as opportunities for improvements and new ideas.

Forward looking - entrepreneurs are never satisfied with the status quo and are always proactively carving out their future.

Careful about money - entrepreneurs are careful with money and have a firm grasp on what things cost and their value to the business. This allows them to recognize a true bargain when they see one.

Started earning at a young age - entrepreneurs commonly displayed entrepreneurial leanings as a teenager seeking out entrepreneurial activities such as babysitting, lawnmowing and lemonade stands.

Competitive - entrepreneurs are naturally competitive and don't let the grass grow under their feet.

Time conscious - entrepreneurs know the value of time and how to make the best use of it. You won't find entrepreneurs spending much time on nonproductive activities. That said, entrepreneurs typically also recognize the value of downtime and time with family and will factor these activities into their schedule.

Risk takers - entrepreneurs are not afraid of taking calculated risks. They typically trust their hunches and act on them.

Usually loners - entrepreneurs generally prefer a solitary work environment as opposed to teamwork.

Professional - entrepreneurs are professional in their approach to work. They operate as they would in a corporate environment and don't allow themselves to be distracted by outside influences.

High energy - entrepreneurs have a plan and a vision and they work it. Entrepreneurs are often health-conscious too, recognizing that the fitter they are, the better their minds work. So entrepreneurs will take time from their schedule to work out and eat well.

Flexible - entrepreneurs are nothing if not responsive to change. Although they appreciate the importance of having a plan and working that plan, they allow themselves room to react and respond to opportunities that may suddenly reveal themselves.

Nurture entrepreneurial spirit - entrepreneurs seek out and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in their employees and reward them accordingly.

Confident goal-setters - entrepreneurs are confident and set long-term goals, both for themselves personally and their businesses. They view money and financial security as a measure of accomplishment and a source of peace of mind.

Persistent - entrepreneurs never give up. They persist until they succeed.

Learn from failure - entrepreneurs learn from their failures and those of others. Failure to an entrepreneur is nothing more than an opportunity waiting to be discovered.

Self responsibility - entrepreneurs take the initiative and personal responsibility for their success or failure (which is always a merely temporary state).

Resource utilization - entrepreneurs utilize ALL of their available resources.

Internal locus of control - entrepreneurs don't believe in luck. They firmly believe that success and failure lies within their personal control or influence.

THE FUTURE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

As we all know, increasing numbers of people are electing to work from home either through telecommuting or running home businesses. While this trend has commonly been attributed to the growth in the number of working women wanting to be home for their children, over half of all people now working from home are men.

A recent Purdue University study concluded a number of factors seem to favor continued high rates of new firm formation:
1. Continuing high rates of change (change creates opportunities for new firms).
2. Continued growth of the service sector (the highest growth area for new firm formation).
3. Increasing number of virtual corporations in which firms outsource their functions, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs.
4. Positive climate for small business - a general perception that small business is a positive influence on the economic wellbeing of the country giving entrepreneurs legitimacy and respect.
5. Growth in international business opportunities.

With the traditional corporate-employment track seemingly on the decline, the trend of forming strategic alliances with other businesses that are closely aligned with yours or with someone who can add value to your product is emerging. In fact, futurists envision a return to extended community living with shared resources but individual living and working relationships with entrepreneurial activities being the basis of these communities. Strategic alliances are a first step along this path.

So, if you have determined entrepreneurship is for you, you can be confident that you are part of the wave of the future. But understand what it will demand of you and whether you are prepared to give what it will take. The allure of entrepreneurship is undeniably strong for many but make sure you're going into it for the right reasons. Being miserable in your job does not automatically make starting your own business the best idea in the world. In fact, it could be the worst reason of all to get into business for yourself. The right choice may instead be to find another job that you won't be miserable in. But if, taking into account everything that's been said above, you're adamant that you have what it takes, by all means take the bull by the horns and create something absolutely fabulous.

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Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical ideas, resources and strategies for your home-based or online business. http://www.ahbbo.com

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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:
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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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