Intelligent strategies for starting and growing a small business with minimal personal financial risk
A comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs from one of the most successful business creators in recent years, The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Turning Dreams into Profits addresses the fears and misconceptions that many people have about starting their own businesses, walking prospective owners through the necessary decisions they need to make before even putting a business plan in place.
Presenting solid, reliable strategies based on author Michael Masterson's own successful practices, and debunking some common illusions entrepreneurs have about their businesses, the book is a vital resource for anyone looking to avoid the pitfalls that threaten fledgling companies.
Packed with insights from an entrepreneur who has launched and sold dozens of business, presented in a lively and conversational style
Some 600,000 new businesses are launched each year and with an uncertain economy, more and more people are looking for a stream of income separate from their 9 to 5 job
Filled with highly applicable advice that budding and professional entrepreneurs can start using immediately
Essential reading for small business owners and both first time and established entrepreneurs, The Reluctant Entrepreneur presents the smart strategies on starting and growing a small business that can make launching your own company a cinch.
MICHAEL MASTERSON is not your typical businessman. An ex Peace Corps volunteer, he never took a class in business, doesn't read the business press, and hates to talk business. He spends his spare time writing poetry, collecting fine art, and practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His neighbors call him a bohemian. But he's also an entrepreneur. He started his first business when he was eleven years old, and in the forty-five years that have elapsed since then, he has started or co-started dozens of successful businesses. The author of numerous business books, several of them New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, Masterson consults for private clients and writes the Palm Beach Letter, a newsletter for individual investors.
Foreword xiii Acknowledgments xix INTRODUCTION Entrepreneurship: What It Is . . . and Isn t 1 The Reality of Calculated Risk 2 The Reluctant Entrepreneur 3 Launching a Successful Business Takes More Than Motivation 4 It s Okay to Be Cautious 5 Success Is Not a Roll of the Dice 6 And One More Thing . . . 6 CHAPTER 1 What, Exactly, Is a Reluctant Entrepreneur? 9 Philip Knight s Story 10 What We Can Learn From This . . . 11 Hatching a Business While You Keep Your Day Job 12 The Myth of the Entrepreneurial Type 16 CHAPTER 2 The First Question You Must Be Able to Answer 21 Rule Number One of Reluctant Entrepreneurship 23 Your Initial Challenge: Generating Positive Cash Flow 24 Educating Yourself About Business 25 CHAPTER 3 What It Takes to Be a Successful Reluctant Entrepreneur 27 The Reluctant Entrepreneur Is a Smart Entrepreneur 29 The Foundation of Your Business: Six Strategic Choices You Have to Make at the Very Beginning 31 It s Not Rocket Science 38 CHAPTER 4 Hatching the New Business: Overcoming Fear and Taking Action 41 Your First Three Action Steps 43 How Do You Find a Mentor? 48 Putting Fear on Your Side 49 CHAPTER 5 The Magic Happens When You Hire Superstars 51 Recognizing Superstar Potential 52 Knowing What You re Looking For 53 How Do You Find These People? 54 The Care and Feeding of a Superstar 56 How to Structure a Superstar Organization 59 The Best Investment You Will Ever Make 61 CHAPTER 6 Mastering the Art of Business Relationships 65 The Reluctant Entrepreneur s Guide to Making Friends in High Places 67 12 Ways to Get People to Want to Do Business With You 69 A Simple Trick That Will Make Important People Want to Talk to You 72 How to Get Others to Tell You Their Most Valuable Success Secrets A Technique I Learned From a Self-Made Multimillionaire 73 Never Pass Up the Opportunity to Make a Connection That Can Do You Some Good 75 Seek Out Mutually-Beneficial Partnerships 76 It Doesn t Take Much to Maintain Relationships With All Your Important Contacts Even Hundreds of Them 78 CHAPTER 7 How to Become a Marketing Genius 81 Every Business Is About the Selling 82 The Beauty of Direct Marketing 83 Mastering the Art of Persuasion 85 The Difference Between Wants and Needs 87 The Difference Between Features and Benefits 88 The Difference Between Benefits and Deeper Benefits 89 The USP: Making Your Product Stand Out From the Competition 90 How to Use Your USP to Create a Successful Advertising Campaign 91 Resist the Urge to Try Something Completely Different 92 Short-Term Results Versus Long-Term Profits 93 CHAPTER 8 Maintaining Control of Your Growing Business 97 Pushing Hard for Profi ts 98 You Can Never, Ever Stop Pushing on Every Single Front 100 How Much of Your Profi ts Should Go Into Your Pocket And How Much Should Go Back Into Your Business? 101 Why You Should Ignore the Experts and Determine Your Own Compensation 102 Create a Culture That Respects Money 103 Keep Your Eye on the Numbers 104 Never Lose Your Competitive Edge 105 How Tiffany & Co. Lost Their Edge And Found It Again 106 Set High Standards for Customer Service And Make Sure They Stay High 107 A Success Trap You Don t Have to Fall Into 110 CHAPTER 9 Leadership: Keeping Your Vision Alive 113 Effective Leaders Motivate Others to Do Great Work 114 Effective Leaders Focus on Work, Not Politics 114 Effective Leaders Understand That Competition Has Its Place in Business, But It Is Not Nearly as Important as Cooperation and Sharing 115 Effective Leaders Care About Their Customers 115 Effective Leaders Make Fast Decisions 116 Effective Leaders Know How to Get Support for Their Ideas 116 Effective Leaders Know How to Delegate 117 Effective Leaders Do Not Micromanage 118 Effective Leaders Create a Culture of Accountability 119 Effective Leaders Understand That Teamwork Doesn t Always Work 119 Effective Leaders Are Good Communicators 120 Effective Leaders Make Every Meeting Work for Them 121 Effective Leaders Know How to Negotiate 122 Effective Leaders Are Considerate 124 Effective Leaders Don t Become Buddies With Their Employees 125 Effective Leaders Sometimes Zig When Others Zag 125 CHAPTER 10 Build Your Business Like a Go-Cart 127 Building the Go-Cart, Step by Step 129 Conclusion 133 APPENDIX Do You Need the Mindset of a Champion to Succeed in Business? 135 How to Use Humor in Business 139 Must You Be Cutthroat to Succeed in Business? 144 The Unexpected Side Effects of Making Money (and How to Avoid Them) 149 The Time-Management System That Works for Me 155 About the Author 159 Index 161