Category Archives: Books

What is an Entrepreneur—Really?

—JUST RELEASED—

 “ENTREPRENEUR!—Can I Be One?”

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So… you think you want to be an entrepreneur! Well, over 6 million full-time businesses will start up this year, and….

Most of them will quickly fail!!

 

Various reasons are given as to why so many businesses fail each year… the most popular ones being: they were undercapitalized; the business idea was not viable; or that most of these were not “real” businesses to begin with.

These reasons could all be true, but they only emphasize the fact that the new business owners didn’t properly prepare before starting their businesses—they simply weren’t ready to ride the “Entrepreneurial Lion.”

Entrepreneurship is a demanding taskmaster and every business owner and aspiring entrepreneur should know what will be demanded of them when they start their business.

That is why I wrote “ENTREPRENEUR!—Can I Be One? This book will NOT tell you how to start a business—it is intended to help you determine whether or not you should start a business.

So, where do you begin? It takes more than just a good idea to start a business! You need to prepare yourself for the rigors of entrepreneurship, and this book is a good place to start.

ENTREPRENEUR!—Can I Be One?” helps you determine whether you currently have the “right stuff” to be an entrepreneur—and what areas you need  to work on before starting a business.

In this book you’ll discover;

  • The “real” definition of Entrepreneur.
  • Whether entrepreneurs are born—or made.
  • How to handle fear of failure.
  • The Characteristics of an entrepreneur.
  • The “Entrepreneur Test.”
  • Facts about home and Internet Entrepreneurs.
  • The “secret” to being a successful entrepreneur.
  • How to answer the question: Can I be an entrepreneur?

This book is one of my small business Primer Series books, where a primer is defined as any book of elementary principles.

This is a book that should be read by anyone contemplating starting a business, as well as those who are in business and are now wondering why things are not going the way they thought they would.

Unless you purposely intend to be one of the more than 5 million business failures this year, I strongly urge you to better prepare yourself to be an entrepreneur.

ENTREPRENEUR!—Can I Be One?” is a good place to start preparing.

Get more information on this book here, or buy today at Amazon.

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The 4-Hour Workweek–Myth or Reality?

How would you like to only work 4 hours a week and make all the money you need to do the fun things you would like to do in life? The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss tells you how… sort of.

I just finished reading the updated version of Tim’s book, and as he points out, it is not a revised version of the original, but rather an expanded version—by about 100 pages.

So, although this is not a review of the book, I thought I would point out a few of the more interesting observations that could be made.

Let’s take a look at some of the high points:

  • Tim worked 15-hour days until he built a business profitable enough to allow him to hire competent staff and take long vacations—he certainly did not build a successful business by initially working only 4-hours per week. Tim also pulled a few all-nighters in his day.
  • Throughout the book Tim discusses lifestyle habits that make for a happy life and a successful business—like: never multi-task; plan everything well; focus on being productive, not busy; don’t save it up for the end; and many many more. The book is well worth the money just for these gems alone.
  • Tim Ferriss is obviously a master of promotion. He really knows how to build a brand—the 4-Hour brand he created has been highly successful for him. Wired magazine said that Tim was the “Greatest Self-promoter of 2008.”
  • Tim is also a confident and assertive (aggressive?) personality. Some of the things he recommends in his book cannot be carried out by many of us… probably most of us.
  • In his book, Tim discusses “…the singular importance of being a ‘dealmaker’.” Not all of us can be successful “dealmakers.”
  • The book is a bit hard to read and does not flow well. As Tim points out in the book—it started out as a bunch of notes he made on his many trips around the world… then someone said he should write a book. So, he combined his notes and turned them into a book. That’s likely why it tends to read like a compilation of notes.
  • The book is substantially about travel—where to go, how to pack light, how to fly on the cheap, how to find cheap accommodations, how to party the night away in foreign lands, etc.
  • There are an awful lot of Tim’s personal exploits presented throughout the book. I’m not sure how much they add to the book… or to achieving a 4-hour workweek.

Here is what I didn’t like:

  • Tim won a Kickboxing tournament in China by dehydrating his body before the weigh-in, then re-hydrating his body (with professional medical assistance) before the match so he would be fighting opponents 2 weight classes below him. I question the ethics of this maneuver.
  • In the same tournament, Tim discovered that if he pushed his opponents off the platform they would be disqualified and he would win. Apparently, this is how he kept winning his matches (since he outweighed his opponents?), and ultimately the tournament. I also question if I would want to win in this manner.
  • I believe Tim carries his “ask for forgiveness, not permission” philosophy a bit too far in dealing with your employer. Personally, I would fire any employee who lied to me in the manner of some of Tim’s suggestions.
  • Not all of Tim’s suggestions are what I would call desirable.

If you are a new business owner, or an aspiring entrepreneur—the following should be your takeaways from this book:

  • You cannot start and build a business by working only 4 hours per week—that can come only after you are successful, and have a solid cash flow.
  • You need to be as aggressive and self-promoting as Tim Ferriss in order to become as successful as he is—most of us are not.
  • We could all live a more satisfying and enjoyable life, and Tim’s book gives us lots of pointers on how to do this better.
  • Here’s a typical statement taken from Tim’s book: “… we spend too much time with those who poison us with pessimism, sloth, and low expectations of themselves and the world. Poisonous people do not deserve your time.”

Well, there you have my observations on The 4-Hour Workweek. It is mostly myth, but there are some gems of insight and inspiration that can help you get closer to that goal.

Tim Ferriss does not say you can achieve a 4-hour workweek without working hard at the beginning. Even if you travel on the cheap; you still need money to pay the bills. But, don’t work for the sake of work—learn when enough is enough.

Overall, I thought the book was well worth the money, and I recommend it to anyone looking to improve their work life and their lifestyle.

What do you think? Have you read Tim’s book? Did it change anything in your life?

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Financial Statements Demystified

Small business financial statements are usually the last thing a new business owner worries about—and yet—they are one of the most important tools available for managing a small business.

Every successful small business creates financial statements in one form or another, and all too many businesses don’t use this information to full advantage.

Actually, they are generally a mystery to the new small business owner.

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That is why I wrote a small book titled Small Business Financial Statements: What They Are, How to Understand Them, and How to Use Them. This book is one of my Primer Series books and is written specifically for the aspiring entrepreneur and new small business owner. If you want more information right now, you can click here.

 

If you are an accountant—don’t bother reading this book, because you will only write to tell me I have not used the proper accounting nomenclature and verbiage to explain financial statements. I admit to that discretion right up front, because it was deliberate.

This is not a book for accountants. This book was written for entrepreneurs who want to know more about the use of financial statements—not how to prepare them in accordance with “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles” (GAAP). Sadly, the two purposes are worlds apart for small businesses.

That is not to say that your financial statements should not be properly prepared—they must be!

But, even when business owners have properly prepared financials in hand, they still seem to have many questions about what to do with them.

Here is a sample of some of the questions I receive regularly from entrepreneurs:

  • What are Financial Statements—really?
  • Do I actually need them?
  • Who usually prepares them?
  • Why are they so difficult to understand?
  • How can I use them in my business?
  • What are Pro forma Financial Statements?
  • What is an “audit?”
  • Where can I see sample Financial Statements?

With these questions coming up over and over, it appears that our accounting community doesn’t do a very good job of counseling entrepreneurs and new business owners about their financial statements.

However, with this book you should find information you need, to answer many of your own questions about your small business financial statements … plus, you will find some guidelines that may help you better use your statements to manage your business.

So, if small business financial statements are a mystery to you—or if you’re just unsure of how best to utilize them—you should take a look at this book.

To see a sample excerpt of what’s in the book, take a look at Amazon’s “Look Inside,” click here.

If you would just like more information about this book, click here.

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It’s Here! “Be Your Own Turnaround Manager”

Again, I will do a little shameless self–promotion. I have written a book titled, Be Your Own Turnaround Manager: A Common Sense Guide to Managing a Business Crisis, and it was released today.

For many years, I specialized in helping businesses that were in crisis and heading towards bankruptcy. Several of these business crises appear as case studies in the book. Although this book is directed toward small businesses with employees, I have presented many fundamental business precepts that can be valuable to any business.

To give you some idea of what this book is about, I have included, below, some of the front-page copy that is on the publisher’s web site:

Is a Business Bankruptcy or Other Business Crisis Looming on Your Horizon?

Be Your Own Turnaround Manager is one of the few business books that deals with the issues that small businesses face daily, but that no one wants to talk about. It helps you recover from small problems so they don’t become disasters.

If your business is already mired in a crisis, Be Your Own Turnaround Manager provides an alternative to filing for bankruptcy.

Be Your Own Turnaround Manager  doesn’t present any new management fad, magic formula, or acronym approach that can save your enterprise once it is in crisis—it requires a step-by-step business recovery plan.

Regardless of whether you’re a small business owner, run a non-profit organization, or a segment of a larger corporation, any business crisis you face can be managed long before it gets out of control.  The business recovery plan set forth in Be Your Own Turnaround Manager helps small business owners answer these questions:

  • What do I do when I can’t pay my bills?
  • How do I face my employees when there is no money for payday?
  • What do I do when I can’t pay my past due bank loan?
  • What if the bank no longer wants me as a customer?
  • How do I know if I have a real business crisis, or just some “hard times?”
  • How do I know when I should file for bankruptcy?
  • How do I handle HR and government agency demands if my business is in crisis?
  • With my business in crisis, what do I do first?
  • How do I plan and execute a crisis management/turnaround program?
  • How do I know when I need outside help?
  • How do I execute an orderly shutdown if I just don’t want to go through a crisis turnaround program?
  • What is a business recovery plan and how do I implement it?

These concerns, and many more, are addressed in Be Your Own Turnaround Manager. Actual case histories are presented and referred to extensively as examples of how others solved these kinds of problems. In addition, checklists are included in each chapter to assist you in developing real solutions to your own problems.

For information about this book, or to receive a discount, go to the publishers web site at beyourownturnaroundmanager.com It is also available at Amazon.com or through most major book stores.