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Startup: An Insider's Guide to Launching and Running a Business

Book Description

"If I was going to start a new business today I would be sure to study and pay close attention to Kevin Ready's new book, Startup. His wisdom, experience, and his self-effacing and honest writing make this a real gem for aspiring entrepreneurs and business people of all kinds."

Bob Beaudine, author of The Power of WHO

Startup: An Insider's Guide to Launching and Running a Business is for people who are excellent at something—product or web development, writing code, marketing or selling anything—but who are now toiling for others. Yet they have long had a dream: to take that special skill set and use it, on their own terms, in a startup business.

This pattern is romanticized by the media in the form of the "tech entrepreneur"—the guy brainstorming with buddies in a garage who ends up selling his startup for millions. But what is the reality behind stories like that one? For that matter, what mental processes, frames of reference, hard knocks, and lessons learned make up the "back story" behind any startup success? This book not only reveals the actual experience of entrepreneurship, but it provides readers with a set of universal entrepreneurial skills and tools they can use to build a business.

Author Kevin Ready has made this journey, and more than once. He earned his MBA—Master of Bruise Acquisition—through numerous encounters with "situations," problems, black holes, bad employees, sea monsters, not enough money, and other karate chops to the organizational body. Startup illustrates in detail the lessons he learned the hard way—so you don't have to.

Backed up by stories of both his successes and failures, Ready helps readers learn shortcuts to help them do what eight out of 10 entrepreneurs can't: Build and sustain a successful start-up.

  • Illustrates the entrepreneurial journey from start to finish

  • Helps readers decide—or not—to start a business

  • Provides dozens of lessons learned and other takeaways budding entrepreneurs can put to use today

What you'll learn

  • What entrepreneurship is, and what it is not.

  • How to get into the skin of an entrepreneur and see the world from that perspective—before you quit your job and put everything on the line.

  • Key lessons that have left burn marks and abrasions on the (now very thick) skins of successful entrepreneurs.

  • Why building your product is only half the battle.

  • What the most important goals and imperatives are for any business, ensuring that you can start working on them from day one instead of stumbling into them years later and losing time, money, and opportunity in the process.

  • What you must know about finding, recruiting, and growing a team of dedicated employees that will share your vision and eventually take ownership of your ideas and carry them forward for you.

  • The advanced mind-over-business strategies for staying on top of (and inside of) the complex currents that make up your business and the market it flows within. These tools are a prime distinguishing factor for superstar entrepreneurs.

Who this book is for

This book is for anyone wishing to start a business, but especially IT workers toiling in the trenches who have dreamed of a starting a business. What's involved? What challenges can I expect? How do I survive common entrepreneurial mishaps? Once I get the business up and running, how do I keep the wheels turning profitably? How do I attract customers? How do I manage people? This book answers those questions and many more.

Table of Contents

  1. Title
  2. Dedication
  3. Contents
  4. About the Author
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Preface
    1. So How Did I Become an Entrepreneur?
    2. How to Read This Book
    3. Come Fly with Me
  7. CHAPTER 1: Setting the Stage
    1. Entrepreneurship and Resonance
    2. A Ticket to the Game
    3. Nobody Cares About Your Business
    4. What Is a Business?
    5. The Boat
    6. Launch Strategies
    7. Different Kinds of Work
    8. Grains of Sand
    9. Intrinsic Motivation
    10. A Vision to Guide You
    11. The Bootstrap Mentality
    12. Impact to Your Personal Life
  8. CHAPTER 2: Core Lessons
    1. Basics Win Ball Games
    2. No Partial Credit
    3. Diversify
    4. Specific Intention
    5. How to Determine the Demand of the Market
    6. Make Yourself Obsolete
    7. You Will Need More Money Than You Think
    8. Active Iteration
    9. Always Get a Contract
    10. Watch Intellectual Property
    11. Control the Money
    12. Hope for the Best but Plan for the Worst
    13. Value and Preserve Your Agility
    14. Mistakes Are Inevitable
    15. Customer Complaints: Treat Them Like Gold
    16. The Dollar Exercise
  9. CHAPTER 3: Marketing
    1. Choose Your Product Well
    2. What Separates a Hobby from a Business?
    3. Will You Be a Whale or an Eskimo?
    4. The Precious Slice
    5. Why You?
    6. The Internet Is Not Magic
    7. Parity Products and the Bozo Factor
    8. The Two Approaches to Differentiation
    9. Know Your Customer
    10. Image Counts
    11. If You Build It, They Will Come
    12. Radicalize
    13. Never Ask Water to Climb a Ladder
    14. Climbing the Mountain
    15. Learn to Love Statistics
    16. The Marketing Mix
    17. Product Pricing
    18. Oprah Is Not Your Marketing Plan
    19. If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Control It
  10. CHAPTER 4: Building a Team
    1. Your Network Will Determine Your Success
    2. The Best Employees Would Do the Work Even Without the Job
    3. The Psychological Contract
    4. A Contract for Your Team Members
    5. Manage Different People In Different Ways
    6. Friends as Employees
    7. Friends as Partners
    8. Hire Well or Not at All
    9. Lead by Example
    10. Motivated Employees Are the Key
    11. Your Extended Team
    12. Have a Good Lawyer and Put Him on Speed Dial
    13. Getting the Most from Your CPA
    14. Vendors
  11. CHAPTER 5: Communication Matters
    1. Repetition
    2. Multiple Layers
    3. Never Assume
    4. “I Don’t Know” Is a Powerful Statement
    5. Communications Case Study: Valerie
    6. The Pen Is …
    7. Communication Frequency and Duration
    8. The Curse of the Expert
    9. Put a Handle on It
    10. Speech Markers
  12. CHAPTER 6: Strategic Thinking
    1. A Human Flaw: Failure to Appreciate the True Complexity of the World
    2. The 80/20 Rule
    3. Always Ask
    4. Ready, Fire, Aim
    5. Tensions
    6. The Triple Constraint
    7. The Positive Frame
    8. Potential
    9. Think Big
    10. The Flail
    11. The Bell Curve
    12. A Change in Perspective
    13. Chunking Up
    14. Chunking Down
    15. Systems Thinking
    16. Know That You Don’t Know
    17. Domain Knowledge
    18. Enjoy the Drama
  13. CHAPTER 7: Exiting Your Business
    1. Preparing from Day One
    2. Common Reasons for a Sale
    3. What Makes a Business Attractive for a Sale?
    4. Relationships Count
    5. Choose the Front Man Well
    6. Getting the Right People on Your Side
    7. Due Diligence
    8. Earn-Out Agreements
    9. Giving Up Your Baby
    10. Getting and Evaluating an Offer
    11. Handling Employees During a Transition
    12. Exit or Operate?
    13. Exit, and You Are Just Going to Want to Be In Again—Soon
  14. Index