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So, You Want to Start a Business?: 8 Steps to Take Before Making the Leap

Book Description

“Hess and Goetz present a roadmap for how to avoid the things that can cause you to stumble and how to build a business the right way.”


“When I started my graphic design business, I knew I had enough talent to impress and keep my clients, but I struggled with the day to day running of the business.So, You Want To Start A Business?is the blueprint I needed to get organized and put all the right things in place.”

–KORY BAILEY, Owner, Creative Counterpart

Build the Successful Company You’ve Always Wanted to Own!

  • Avoid the 8 disastrous operational mistakes that kill new businesses

  • Walk step-by-step through the entire process of building a winning business

  • Master 55 amazingly simple rules of business success

  • For every entrepreneur and potential previous business experience necessary!

  • Launch the winning business you’ve always wanted…or make more money in the business you’ve already started!

More than 5,000,000 new businesses are started each year…but 70% of them will fail. Now, two renowned experts on entrepreneurship identify the 8 “killer mistakes” that cause most business failures–and give you the knowledge, tools, and hands-on advice to avoid them, so you can build a business that thrives.

Unlike other books on entrepreneurship, this book focuses on the crucial operational issues associated with consistent profitability. You’ll learn how to identify the right opportunities and customers; design winning products and services; set the right prices; overcome customer inertia; avoid common day-to-day management mistakes; find and keep good employees; and finally, smoothly manage growth.

Throughout, the authors draw on real life entrepreneurial experiences, case studies, and leading-edge research. There’s nothing theoretical here: This is fast-paced, 100% practical advice you can use to make your business dreams and goals come true–starting right now.

What really makes a successful entrepreneur?

What they do, how they act...and how to find your best path to business success

Get the 3 “Ws” right from the start

What will you sell, who will buy it–and why will they buy it?

55 simple, indispensable rules for success

What you must know about customers, competitors, and your employees

The art and science of managing people, operations, and growth

Create processes, set priorities, maximize quality, measure people–and improve every day

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Praise for So, You Want to Start a Business?
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. About the Authors
  5. Introduction
    1. Who Should Buy This Book?
    2. Why Is This Book Important?
    3. What Topics Are Covered?
    4. Why Are We Qualified to Write This Book?
    5. How to Use This Book
  6. One. Can You Be a Successful Entrepreneur?
    1. What Do Successful Entrepreneurs Do?
    2. Who Are Successful Entrepreneurs?
    3. Two Common Paths to Entrepreneurial Success
    4. Chapter One: Lessons Learned
  7. Two. Basic Rules of Business Success
    1. The 8 Common Start–Up Mistakes
      1. Common Mistake #1: Choosing a Bad Business Opportunity
      2. Common Mistake #2: Choosing the Wrong Customers
      3. Common Mistake #3: The Wrong Product
      4. Common Mistake #4: Pricing Products or Services Improperly
      5. Common Mistake #5: Not Selling to Enough Customers Fast Enough
      6. Common Mistake #6: Not Executing Well
      7. Common Mistake #7: People Problems
      8. Common Mistake #8: Mismanaging Growth
    2. Basic Rules of Business Success
    3. Chapter Two: Lessons Learned
  8. Three. What Is a Good Business Opportunity?
    1. Pencil It
    2. Example 1: The Best Sandwich Shop
      1. What Is the Average Price You Can Sell Your Sandwiches For?
      2. Competitors
        1. Comparables
        2. Internet Research
        3. Speak with Other Entrepreneurs
      3. Back to the Math
    3. Example 2: Children’s Clothing Shop
      1. Customer Conversion Ratio
      2. Customer Conversion Rates
    4. Two Different Types of Businesses
    5. Estimating Your Costs
      1. What Does Net Profit Margin Tell You About Costs?
        1. Example:
      2. Why Do You Need to Know Your Costs?
      3. 7 Ws
    6. Chapter Three: Lessons Learned
  9. Four. How Do You Choose the Right Customers?
    1. The Right Customers
      1. Who Is a Prospect?
        1. Who Are High-Probability Prospects?
        2. How Do You Find High-Probability Prospects?
        3. Primary Research—Doing a Market Survey
          1. Creating Market Survey Questions
          2. Tracking Survey Answers
    2. The Competition
    3. Chapter Four: Lessons Learned
  10. Five. How Do You Design Your Product or Service?
    1. Give Customers Only What They Truly Need
    2. Features or Benefits
    3. What Is Value?
    4. Example: Enhancing Your Product/Service Value
    5. Your “Reason for Being”
    6. Low Innovation
    7. It’s Now Time to Build Your Product/Service
    8. Can You Build or Produce It?
    9. The Prototype—The Test
      1. What Is a Prototype and How Does It Work?
      2. Other Tips
      3. 3 Ws
    10. Chapter Five: Lessons Learned
  11. Six. What Is the Right Price for Your Product or Service?
    1. Competitive Pricing
    2. Break-even Formula
      1. Number of Products Required to Be Sold to Break Even
    3. Additional Pricing Factors
    4. Chapter Six: Lessons Learned
  12. Seven. How Can You Overcome Customer Inertia?
    1. Obstacles to a Sale
    2. The Risks of Buying from You
    3. Making Sales Takes Practice
      1. The Psychology of Sales
      2. The Customer Buying Timeline
      3. Time Is Your Enemy—Your Money Is Burning
      4. Selling Is Like Fishing
      5. Customer Referral Programs and Customer Loyalty Programs
      6. Start with a Customer
    4. Chapter Seven: Lessons Learned
  13. Eight. How to Manage Your Business
    1. Start-Up Overload
    2. Your Value Chain
    3. Your Supply Chain
    4. Your Manufacturing (Assembling) Chain
    5. Why Do You Flow Chart Your Business?
    6. Management by Objectives
    7. Management by Exceptions
    8. The Power of Simplicity
      1. Rule of 3s
      2. Rule of 7s
    9. Measurements and Rewards
    10. Stay on the Front Lines
    11. Iteration
    12. Make Work Fun
    13. Chapter Eight: Lessons Learned
  14. Nine. How Do You Find and Keep Good Employees?
    1. This People Stuff Is Hard
    2. What Do Employees Want?
    3. Why Is High Employee Turnover Bad?
    4. Hire for Fit
    5. Hiring Tools
      1. Probationary Hiring
    6. Buy-In
    7. The Rules of the Game
    8. Best Practices of Managing Employees
      1. Promote from Within
      2. The Meaning of Work
    9. Mental Rehearsal
    10. Mental Replay
    11. Chapter Nine: Lessons Learned
  15. Ten. How Do You Manage Growth?
    1. Growth Can Be Good or Bad
    2. The Two Absolutes
    3. Process
    4. Financing Growth
    5. Financial Controls
    6. Managing the Unexpected
    7. People
    8. Small Business Services
    9. Check-Off
    10. Legal
    11. Legal Structure
    12. Small Business Networks
    13. Upgrading People
    14. Customer Diversification
    15. Growth Changes Your Job
    16. Chapter Ten: Lessons Learned
  16. Conclusion
    1. Business Rules
    2. Lessons Learned
      1. Chapter One
      2. Chapter Two
      3. Chapter Three
      4. Chapter Four
      5. Chapter Five
      6. Chapter Six
      7. Chapter Seven
      8. Chapter Eight
      9. Chapter Nine
      10. Chapter Ten
  17. Bibliography and Resources
    1. Books
      1. “Building a Company” Books
      2. Business Strategy Books
      3. Entrepreneurship Books
      4. Family Business Books
      5. Finance, Accounting, and Measurement Books
      6. Leadership Books
      7. Books on Lessons to Learn from Bad Leadership
      8. Management Books
      9. Marketing and Sales Books
    2. Articles
    3. Information Portals
    4. Author’s Commentaries
  18. Financial Times Press
  19. Inside Front Cover
  20. Inside Back Cover