In The Successful Entrepreneur, I lay out a detailed roadmap for prospective business owners to minimize risk and maximize their potential for success:
- The Start Up section covers marketing research to explore the viability of your product, determining your company’s budget, and getting start up capital (without putting your home at risk).
- The Being the Boss section has valuable advice on employment legal issues (from what you can ask when you are hiring, to discrimination and sexual harassment), how to recruit and interview prospective hires, and a succinct description of successful leadership styles.
- The Sales and Marketing chapters explain ‘The Art and Science of Pricing,’ including tools for evaluating your profits, marketing and promotions strategies on a budget, and how to be an effective sales manager.
- In Years Two Through Five, the ‘make or break’ period for many start-up businesses, I describe warning signs of trouble, how to get through tough times, and best of all – how to make money selling your business.
The Successful Entrepreneur shows how to gather and interpret data like a high-priced consultant, has great advice on using Excel spreadsheets, includes many website resources, and has numerous, interesting case histories. And, this is a fun read with many real-life examples from all around the country selling many different types of products and services.
Tell us something about yourself.
I have been teaching small business owners and graduate and undergraduate students for 20 years. I have taught at Boston University’s School of Management as well as Leadership at Harvard University’s School of Public Health as well as for smaller colleges in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have been a SBDC business consultant and small business owner. I know that small business ownership isn’t easy, but it’s a labor of love that most wouldn’t change for the world.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been working with small business owners for over 20 years. The areas that people seek the most advice in are starting up, sales and marketing, HR, and managing an ongoing business. I had so many in-the-trenches experiences to share with people so they can learn from others, even when they can’t see me in-person that a book was the perfect venue to help as many people as possible.
How did you choose the title?
The Successful Entrepreneur: American dream done right had an interesting birth. We played around with several titles, but we chose “Successful” in the main title because most entrepreneurs don’t become rich – but they have wonderful quality of life, which is the true trademark of success. There’s a giant dollar sign on the cover as a reminder that you may, in fact become wealthy.
And doing “the American dream right,” in the subtitle, means spending a little time planning and really making sure a start-up idea works from both a marketing and financial standpoint. And in The Successful Entrepreneur I show people how to do it step-by-step.
When I work with the SBDC it’s quite often that people have to investigate three or four ideas before they have one that fits their need for a satisfying business and also one that has the upside financial potential they’re looking for as well manageable risk. I show people how they can have it all. My strategies take a little time to be sure – 20-30 hours. But entrepreneurs aren’t scared of a little hard work, and the payback on their time is tremendous.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
There are a lot of books on entrepreneurship. I had to show that my book offered something different. For a little of $20 and a few nights of entertaining reading, my book can help small business owners start and have a thriving business that they own and doesn’t own them.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
This is my fourth book. As a professor, I have the unique opportunity to help people become the best version of who they are and to, literally, give them the tools they need to make their dreams come true. But I am limited to helping the people who take my classes. As an author, I can help people all over the world and it’s a wonderful experience for me. The other side of my writing is plays – I’ve had 23 productions of six plays produced by three professional and five community theater groups.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I think about what I’m going to write when I go running – I run 30-40 miles a week. (I completed my first marathon in October, 2010) and then edit it in my head and get it on the computer as soon as I can.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
My last book published was in 1995. The world of publishing and bookstores has changed in fifteen years. Much more is done online and the small bookstores have largely disappeared and the big chains are hurting, too.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
The book business is very competitive, but don’t let that discourage you. There is always a market for a new idea.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Someone who is thinking of starting a business – to be sure – especially ones who are careful with their money. I’ve found many people who have given up looking for work have decided to open their own business, which can be a savvy solution to recession-busting. My book is also for owners of small to medium businesses, especially for the ones that have five years old or less. The financially conservative entrepreneur seems like an oxymoron, but there are many people who want to own a business (or the spouses of these people) who want to line their ducks in a row before making one of the biggest financial decisions of their life.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
It’s available on Amazon.com.