Practical Advice On Launching Your Business
Bob Reiss has spent the past several decades making entrepreneurship his business, and has become successful by learning how to fine-tune the gears that set it in motion. As the creator of the popular TV Guide Trivia Game and the founder of the Valdawn Watch Company, his efforts are so inspirational that Harvard Business School Professor Howard Stevenson made a case study of Reiss' entrepreneurial exploits to use in his classes.
In Low Risk, High Reward: Practical Prescriptions for Starting and Growing Your Business, Reiss and co-author Jeffrey L. Cruikshank define entrepreneurship as "the recognition and pursuit of opportunity without regard to the resources you currently control, with confidence that you can succeed, with the flexibility to change course as necessary, and with the will to rebound from setbacks." This flexibility is the primary ingredient that his book breaks down into useful advice for anyone seeking to learn more about how to work smarter and grow a start-up business.
Reiss begins his book by examining the skills needed by an individual entrepreneur to succeed.
By being creative, flexible, a good salesperson, passionate, able to trust, and in possession of a deep-seated thirst for information, an entrepreneur has the tools needed to build a new business from the ground up. Another primary ingredient in this recipe is personal integrity that can withstand the temptations that will come along on the road to success: Core values are an integral part of a successful venture, and sacrificing them can lead to failure.
The Importance of Numeracy
Next, Low Risk, High Reward looks into the understanding and use of numbers to reveal the facts behind a new venture. He calls this "numeracy," which he refers to as "the numbers equivalent of literacy," and encourages every entrepreneur to get a grasp of its importance.
Using numeracy as a foundation, he moves on to ways to see, manage and reduce risk to acceptable levels by starting in small markets before moving on to larger ones. Other ways for start-ups to determine risk include converting fixed costs to variable costs, talking with other entrepreneurs about their experiences, getting outside advice, and working with an "incubator" that can help to support a small business until it gets on its feet.
The Distribution Chain
To help the roots of a young business flourish, Reiss offers many ways to make it healthy and vital through attention to products.
Of course, no business can succeed without getting orders, so he takes his readers through the process of "selling in" to other businesses that will become part of the distribution chain, and the benefits of selling directly to consumers. He offers bountiful advice about working with retailers, using manufacturers' reps, licensing products, using advertising, and making marketing work.
And, if you thought the initial order was crucial, don't forget the reorder. The success of this "selling through" will rely on a sturdy infrastructure that is built on firm relationships and a knack for dealing with problems and opportunities.
After the Success
After a business is growing nicely from all this nurturing, Reiss offers up the pros and cons of different options for dealing with a company that has been around long enough to serve its purpose. Deciding whether to keep a company as it is, shrinking it, growing it, going public, selling it, or closing it down should take considerable thought. His guidance helps to clarify these decisions.
Why Soundview Likes This Book
Reiss' advice is valuable because it comes not only from his own ample experiences in the world of business, but also from the knowledge he has acquired from dozens of students, salespeople and other experienced entrepreneurs.
Along with step-by-step instructions that open up a wealth of understanding about the issues with which all entrepreneurs must contend, Reiss also provides a copy of the Harvard Business School case study that is based on his experiences, which provides more compelling and instructive reading.
Low Risk, High Reward not only reflects the intelligent spirit of a man for whom entrepreneurship has provided success: It also demonstrates his ability to put his ideas into practice. By publishing this book, he uses the very skills he delivers and takes the entrepreneurial spirit to the next level.