An Entrepreneur’s Handbook
Conventional wisdom holds that nine of 10 new businesses fail. The reality is that 66 percent of new businesses are still operating after two years, 50 percent survive for four years or more and 40 percent survive for six years or more. Also, about one-third of all businesses that close or are sold are considered to be successful by their owners.
How does an entrepreneur improve his or her odds? According to the authors of What’s Stopping You?, a new business owner must get to know as much as possible about the business startup process, by learning from the successes and failures of others and by overcoming self-limiting behaviors. Left unchecked, bad behaviors can lead to a lack of self-confidence, which might be the top reason why people hesitate to start their own firms.
What’s Stopping You?, by business scholars and entrepreneurial experts Bruce R. Barringer and R. Duane Ireland, provides prospective business owners with the resources to increase their chances of success. The well-documented, carefully researched treatise is one of the most comprehensive entrepreneurial boot camps available in print and a must-read for anybody contemplating starting his or her own business or interested in improving a new business.
No Entrepreneurial Silver Bullet
Packed full of tools, case histories and entrepreneurial insights, What’s Stopping You? dismantles nine commonly held misperceptions about starting a business. One of the myths the authors debunk is that it takes an extraordinary person to start a business. Indeed, they note that “because some business owners have hit it rich and made a large impact on society, there is a growing tendency to view business owners as bigger-than-life and place them in the same category as professional athletes and rock stars. This tendency has led to the prevailing wisdom that starting a business is an extremely difficult task and that a person must have ‘loads of money’ and ‘tons of talent’ to get a new business off the ground.”
Not true, the authors write. They note that there is no entrepreneurial gene that predisposes a person to business ownership. Characteristics, competencies and skill sets have been studied for years without determining any meaningful differences between business owners and non-business owners in the most basic human characteristics, behaviors, attitudes and desires.
Theory Backed by Practice
Unabashedly optimistic, the book serves as a smart coach, a resource to be consulted time and again, and a road map to guide any business startup. Thus armed, the future entrepreneur is much better equipped to handle the vicissitudes of a harsh and unyielding marketplace.
What’s Stopping You? is packed with incisive analysis and valuable information. It is an empowering read for any aspiring entrepreneur. Throughout their book, Barringer and Ireland thoughtfully demystify the common perception that starting your own business involves a lot of risk. The more risky behavior, they contend, may be on the part of those who remain traditionally employed in light of the fact that 70,000 to 80,000 corporate employees are being laid off every month.
In addition, the authors caution that raising or borrowing money may not provide the freedom you desire as it gives you a boss with objectives that may not match your own. Further, they point out that borrowed funds often mask problems and enable a firm to operate unprofitably for too long. Instead of borrowing, they encourage all businesses to trim costs and develop a mindset of frugality and resourcefulness.
Beyond providing ample facts, the inspirational What’s Stopping You? allows the prospective entrepreneur to connect viscerally with the dreams and aspirations of many business owners. With varying degrees of comfort, motivation and fear, the reader can unpack the experiences of many people just like them who have already started a business. Readers learn that these people aren’t any smarter, richer or more talented than they are.
Through real-world stories and examples, the authors successfully complete their destruction of each of the nine myths about startups and provide a framework to help construct a new business on proven fundamentals.