- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Square One Publishers (6 January 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0757003745
- ISBN-13: 978-0757003745
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 181 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 364,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Start a Business & Ignite Your Life Paperback – 6 Jan 2012
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"Ernesto Sirolli has spent 30 years helping people find the resources they need to start businesses and make them thrive. He and the people he's trained have been instrumental in launching more than 40,000 enterprises in 250 communities and 25 countries. Curiosity, commitment, and the willingness to spend time in some of the most remote locations on earth have given him unusual insight into what successful entrepreneurs do well. Above all, he advises business leaders to shut up and listen."--Sally Helgesen "Strategy+ "
" . . . there's much worthwhile advice, notably when it comes to creating a business plan."--Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Dr. Ernesto Sirolli is one of the world’s leading consultants and lecturers on the topic of economic development. For over thirty years, Ernesto has been teaching thousands of people around the world how to successfully start a business based upon their own personal interests. His approach has been so effective, in fact, that governments around the world have recruited him to go into economically depressed communities to teach his principles of entrepreneurship to the local population. And time and time again, he has shown that given the right direction and information, people can follow their dreams and create businesses that work. Now, in his new book How to Start a Business & Ignite Your Life, Ernesto Sirolli has written down his easy-to-follow formula for success so that anyone with an idea for a business can pursue his or her dream.
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(His 1999 book, Ripples from the Zambezi: Passion, Entrepreneurship, and the Rebirth of Local Economies is really great for understanding how he learned to just "shut up and listen" -- watch his TED talk -- but it's not as pragmatic as this book.)
The main point of this book (subtitle: "a simple guide to combining business wisdom with passion") is that few entrepreneurs succeed on their own. Teamwork is necessary because:
* A startup product or service needs attention to production, marketing and finance. Pretty much everyone is better or worse at each of these skills.
* Teams share the burden of work as well as limiting (not) brilliant ideas that can derail or distract efforts to produce value for customers.
* Communication among team members forces them to quantify and qualify ideas that may be "obvious" in their head but make little sense when explained to others.
The book is short (100pp), clear and useful. Rather than discuss it chapter by chapter, I will leave a few notes that may interest potential readers.
* Passion ("suffering") is important for entrepreneurs, as success is neither quick nor inevitable.
* Outsiders are usually ignorant of what a community needs (the development aid trap), so they should try to find and enable passionate locals with solutions.
* Entrepreneurs often have good ideas but little experience. That's why they may need partners who can speak from experience and/or fill in areas where the entrepreneur is weak.
* Every team must have at least one person with a comparative advantage in each of the big three roles: production, marketing and financial management (P, M and FM). A division of labor improves time allocation, speeds decisions, and drives innovation on each of these critical margins.
* If you don't like (or can't do) P, M or FM, then find someone who can. They may even work for free if they have passion.
* Good production people are always looking to improve but don't let perfection prevent sales!
* Good marketers genuinely want to help people, not dump crap on them.
* Good financial managers can help you understand where you are and where you might go, using only realistic numbers.
* Investors back teams, not ideas. A good team will write a good business plan. A bad business plan means the team is too weak in talent or cooperation.
* "Entrepreneurship is much more a social game than an individual one. The most striking characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is perhaps the ability to identify, cultivate, and use other people’s competencies."
* If you need a partner for P, M or FM, then find someone you like in that area and ask for a referral. They may not be free, but they probably know someone who is.
* "Solitude is the death of the entrepreneur. Just as you must look inward to understand your passion, you must look outward to find others to help you. Success in business rests primarily on these two actions. Never be reluctant or embarrassed to seek assistance, and do so with prudence and optimism. Remember, there are “magical helpers” out there waiting for a passionate “hero” to commit to the entrepreneurial journey."
Bottom Line: I give this book FIVE STARS for providing useful advice to would-be entrepreneurs and insight to those of us who want to understand the elements of success. Find partners and bring value to the world!
Anyone interested in starting a new business should read this book.
It is a plus that this book is written with clarity and with real life examples, which makes Mr. Sirolli's points easy to understand. A definite five star!