Saturday, February 19, 2011

If I Were To Write A Book

First, I don't presume to be able to write a book. I don't have the dedication to finish a writing project of that size. Furthermore, I am not so full of myself that I would think that in writing a business book, anyone would want to read it. Of the thousands of business books written each year, only a few are worthwhile. There is a reason for that: business books are dull.

To do a good business book you almost have to make it a simple story such as Who Moved My Cheese or something like that. Most business books sit unsold in warehouses.

However, if I were to write a business book, I would say the following:

1. Entrepreneurship is not something you can just pickup when you are laid off. You need to prepare for years to get it right. Many think the road to riches lies with their first business. It doesn't with the exception of a just a few businesses, it isn't until the 2nd or 3rd do you actually make money. Just because you did well as a manager in a big company, doesn't mean you have the tools to start up a small business.

2. The ability to raise capital is huge. If you cannot raise debt or equity financing, you will starve for cash quickly.

3. If you cannot sell, you shouldn't try to be an entrepreneur. Selling helps with raising capital, getting customers, hiring good employees, and leading others. I would put selling at the top of the list for a startup business. Of all my businesses, the biggest issue has always been revenue growth. Handling costs, employees, government red tape or even product delivery is easy by comparison.

4. Whatever your business plan says, you are wrong. I have yet to see a business plan be right. Period. Costs are always higher and revenues are always lower. Never trust what your numbers are until they are real.

5. Listen to others, but believe in yourself. You will hear every expert in the world tell you that you can or cannot do something. Of course, they are nowhere  to be found when the chips are down. Listen to them and add it to your base of knowledge, but ultimately you need to depend on yourself and what you believe. Don't let them talk you into or out of doing something.

6. Nothing pays off like hard work. If you think that owning your own business involves a lot of free time and traveling, think again. You will need to do more work for less pay than any of your employees, at least at the beginning. After the business is successful, you will have plenty of time for relaxing. But don't go into this thing thinking you can have weekends and evenings off.

7. Once  you get the business running right, your next job will be to get yourself out of the day-to-day business. If you are stuck in the day to day running of the business one year after starting, then you aren't doing your job right. Ultimately, you should be replaced by employees.

8. Finally, once you are successful, you should stay paranoid. Success breeds complacency. Staying paranoid keeps you sharp and increases your energy.

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