Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

LEADERSHIP SKILLS and EXECUTIVE COACHING

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

LEADERSHIP SKILLS and EXECUTIVE COACHING

Article excerpt

The Little Black Book ofEntrepreneurship, by Fernando Trías de Bes 2008 Berkeley, CA: 10 Speed Press 143 pages; Softcover; $15.95

Intended Audience(s): D

Major Headings from the Table of Contents: Entrepreneur or Testing Your Luck; Partners: A Long-Term Loan at 22 Percent; About that Great Idea; Getting into Bed with Your Partner without a Company Tax Number; Being an Entrepreneur is Easy, The Hard Thing is Growing

How Is the Book Most Useful for Its Intended Audience? If you're considering becoming an entrepreneur, it's important to understand why most entrepreneurs fail. That's exactly what this book is about.

The Top Five Things You Learned from Reading this Book:

1) Poor motives for starting a business are often key reasons a business fails.

2) Motivation is the single most important factor contributing to entrepreneurial success.

3) If you don't enjoy uncertainty, you are unlikely to be a successful entrepreneur.

4) When choosing a business partner, the most important criteria are, in order, honesty, shared values, a complementary personality to yours, and skills and experience that add to the partnership.

5) It's important to determine whether you're an entrepreneur (a person who enjoys creating things) or a business manager (a person who likes to oversee operations and help the business grow).

It is common knowledge that more than 90 per cent of new entrepreneurial ventures fail. What's interesting is that most books focus on what it takes to succeed. Instead, The Little Black Book ofEntrepreneurship forewarns would-be entrepreneurs about 14 potential causes of failure. With short interviews and anecdotes, the author delves into five major issues: (1) the characteristics of an entrepreneur, (2) partners: whether or not to have them and criteria for quality partnerships, (3) the idea for the business, i.e. valid reasons for choosing the market sector, (4) the entrepreneur's family situation, and (5) the management of growth.

Starting out, it is critical that you do so for the right reasons. There are plenty of poor reasons that people use to justify starting a business. Starting a business venture because you are unemployed, hate your current boss, or abhor being told what to do by others are considered sorry motives. Wanting to set your own work hours, making more money than before, or getting rich are also motives that often lead to failure. What is much more important than motive, is motivation. According to the author, you need to have, "enormous, colossal, and infinite enthusiasm."

To be a successful entrepreneur, you must be so motivated that you never entertain even the possibility of failure. It's also critical that you're comfortable with uncertainty and have the ability to overcome difficulties and deal effectively with setbacks. Why? Entrepreneurs rarely get what they expect. They are constantly required to solve problems and reverse mistakes. Perhaps this is why so many people consider a partnership rather than going solo.

A business partnership is a serious proposition. Suggestions regarding partnerships include, "If you are considering going into a partnership because you need money, talk to a bank. If you are considering going into a partnership because you can't do it all yourself, hire an employee. If you are considering going into a partnership because there is some aspect you have no expertise in, subcontract the service." The author is adamant that a partner is often the most expensive option to problem-solve.

Still, he goes on to explain situations when a partnership is advisable. Primarily, it's advisable to join with a partner when, "you require something you cannot obtain any other way." If possible, join only with a silent partner. If you are determined to work with a partner, be careful to pick the right person. A business partnership is like a marriage. You are going to see the worst of each other. …

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