We review the best small business and investing books
So, you want to become an entrepreneur?
John B. Vinturella, author of The Entrepreneur's Fieldbook says: "Entrepreneurship is the process of creating or seizing an opportunity, and pursuing it regardless of the resources currently controlled."
So, even if you don't possess the capital or some other resource necessary to launch your venture, an entrepreneur finds a way to acquire the resources he or she needs.
I think of an entrepreneur as a person who brings together the resources to make a business idea become a reality. In Thinking Like An Entrepreneur, I use a movie producer as an example of an entrepreneur. Movie producers bring together the resources needed to make a film happen--capital, actors, crew, equipment, etc.. Then, after the film is made, most of those resources go off and do other things. And, the producer begins a new film.
One of the necessary resources for a venture is often other people. You do-it-all-yourself in most entrepreneurial ventures. Fast growth companies are often fast growth employers. Yet, many bright people feel they need to be able to do everything within their business. They fear they must master all skills.
In my book, I use the expression "Men Are Cheaper Than Guns" to remind entrepreneurs that they should learn to delegate, hire others, and outsource. The expression comes from a great little film called "The Magnificent Seven."
In the film, a small Mexican town is bothered by bandits, so the farmers collect what money they have and go to a bigger town to buy guns to defend themselves. But, they aren't fighters. They're farmers (most farmers are probably actually quite good shots, but never mind that). They meet up with a man of metal and honor and one tough Hombre of Yul Brynner.
Because they feel Yul's a man they can trust, they ask him to help them buy guns to protect their little town. Yul responds: "Why buy guns? why not buy men? These days men are cheaper than guns."
The idea isn't that your employees are cannon fodder. But, rather, you can hire people more capable than your are for many roles.
Not everything that you delegate to others must be done by your employees to get the job done right. You can outsource to other companies.
In Thinking Like An Entrepreneur, I discuss the example of a small book publisher. Book publishers delegate a great deal. For example, small publishers do not own printing presses. Neither do most large publishers. Rather, they outsource printing to a quality printing company. Many small publishers don't pack and ship their own books. They hire distributors or fulfillment companies to do that. Publishers don't typically write books in house, but they scout out profitable authors to publish. Much of the work of publishing is outsourced. This is one reason that small publishers can start-up easily, with little capital. Most small publishers couldn't afford to purchase a printing press, and it wouldn't be effective to have one sitting around. Many new small ventures form strategic partnerships and outsource to gain resources.
A big resource is money. Many new entrepreneurs view getting money as the biggest hurtle. Seldom is money the real problem. It's possible to raise $100 million and have a company fail. Money without business discipline means little to long-term success. (Although many entrepreneurs define the most crucial trait of a successful entrepreneur as the ability to raise funds)
In Thinking Like An Entrepreneur, I discuss and champion bootstrapping, which means reinvesting cash flow to grow your business. Reinvested earnings are the heart-and-soul of most successful businesses. Imposed frugality during the start-up years often creates a financial discipline which keeps the company strong into the future.
And, due to the power of compounding, even a very small venture can grow very substantial over time.
Below are some books to help you learn more about entrepreneurship:
Peter Hupalo, Author of Thinking Like An Entrepreneur