When a Product Becomes a Business

May 19, 2022

Book Review by Taylor Berrett

What happens when someone creates a transformative product? They’ve spent months, maybe years, honing their idea. They’ve developed prototypes. They’ve spent sleepless nights crumpling up drawings and starting from scratch. Finally, they release a finished product and find that, wouldn’t you know it, people actually want to buy the product they’ve created.

Suddenly, what was once a purely creative endeavor has turned into something else— a business. And with a business, especially one growing at the rapid pace of a startup, there comes a requirement for leadership. A business attracts employees, which participate in a company’s culture, and that’s not to mention all of the day-to-day business decisions to be made.

As an entrepreneur yourself, are you equipped to not only create an innovative product but also lead the enterprise that will (hopefully) be built up around it?

In From Start-Up to Grown-Up, Alisa Cohn fills a desperate gap in the collective knowledge— how does a founder turn into a leader? There is certainly no more qualified instructor in this regard.

Cohn is an executive coach whose entire career is centered around helping start-up founders develop into world-class leaders and CEOs. After all, many founders find success on the strength of their ideas, and only then find themselves thrust into a leadership role. Cohn has coached leaders and executives in companies ranging from Etsy and Venmo to InVision and Foursquare. She’s been named the #1 startup coach in the world and spoken at CELA, the largest gathering of tech accelerators in the world. 

From Start-Up to Grown-Up

A Road Map with a Dash of Inspiration

As a practical guidebook for entrepreneurs with little leadership experience, From Start-Up to Grown-Up shines. It features tons of effective and practical methods for maximizing strengths, controlling self-doubt, building upon existing motivators and inspiring others to become their best.

Perhaps the most impactful result of reading this book is the realization that, especially at first, it’s okay to follow a roadmap while navigating the tumultuous period of early startup success. Cohn provides literal word-for-word scripts that readers can use for navigating difficult or delicate conversations and step-by-step guides for running effective meetings that aren’t soul-crushing.

Inherent in this approach is the empowering belief that it’s okay to not know exactly what you’re doing in the early stages of a startup. The transition into a leadership role isn’t a natural one for everyone, and Cohn writes with a powerful conviction that you don’t have to be a natural-born leader to become a great one. That’s a shift in mindset we could all afford to adopt for ourselves, whether we’re leading a successful company or just getting our ideas off the ground.

The Bottom Line

Overall, From Start-Up to Grown-Up is the real deal. Written by a true expert in her field and packed with key insights and actionable information, this book is a must-read for anyone worried about the future of their business with them at the helm.


Taylor Berrett

Taylor Berrett is a Contributing Writer at Soundview. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and host of the podcast Alone in a Room.