Starting a Business? Here’s What You Need to Know
Many times over the past seven decades, I have met ambitious young men and women who wanted to leave the corporate rat race and go off on their own.
On July 23, I came across a story in the Raleigh News & Observer titled, "Which small business fits you?" Celeste Smith was reporting on entrepreneur and author Mike Collins, president of the Perfect Workday. His business is putting on seminars for start-up wannabes.
A 25-word paragraph stopped me cold:
Usually, Collins said, audience members for his "best businesses" talk expect quick answers: "'Give me a list of what's going to be hot.'"
People were coming to his seminars looking for quick answers and instant gratification.
According to the Small Business Association, only about 50 percent of all new businesses survive for five years or more.
The idea of working like hell for five years only to have your business tank is not a pretty thought.
I'm a guy who started two businesses (the WHO'S MAILING WHAT! newsletter with my wife Peggy and a freelance copy and design service). Both are still going 25 years later.
Starting a business that's "hot" and making a go it is certainly possible. But it takes a lot of careful research and planning.
In 2010, I found a book I wish had been written 50 years ago. It would have changed my life: Here's my 55-word review:
**** The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Dr. Atul Gawande. Dazzling descriptions of how checklists are created, save lives in hospitals, help Warren Buffett analyze companies, prevent disasters on crippled airliners, enable skyscrapers to be built, restaurants to run and how Wal-Mart saved New Orleans in Katrina. Checklists keep smart people from screwing up, as well as create teamwork and foster communications. A masterpiece! Metropolitan Books, 224pp, ISBN-13: 978-0805091748, $24.50 hardcover.