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The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Turning Dreams into Profits

ISBN: 978-1-118-17844-7
192 pages
June 2012
The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Turning Dreams into Profits (1118178440) cover image
Intelligent strategies for starting and growing a small business with minimal personal financial risk

A comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs from one of the most successful business creators in recent years, The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Turning Dreams into Profits addresses the fears and misconceptions that many people have about starting their own businesses, walking prospective owners through the necessary decisions they need to make before even putting a business plan in place.

Presenting solid, reliable strategies based on author Michael Masterson's own successful practices, and debunking some common illusions entrepreneurs have about their businesses, the book is a vital resource for anyone looking to avoid the pitfalls that threaten fledgling companies.

  • Packed with insights from an entrepreneur who has launched and sold dozens of business, presented in a lively and conversational style
  • Some 600,000 new businesses are launched each year and with an uncertain economy, more and more people are looking for a stream of income separate from their 9 to 5 job
  • Filled with highly applicable advice that budding and professional entrepreneurs can start using immediately

Essential reading for small business owners and both first time and established entrepreneurs, The Reluctant Entrepreneur presents the smart strategies on starting and growing a small business that can make launching your own company a cinch.

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Foreword xiii

Acknowledgments xix

INTRODUCTION Entrepreneurship: What It Is . . . and Isn’t 1

The Reality of Calculated Risk 2

The Reluctant Entrepreneur 3

Launching a Successful Business Takes More Than Motivation 4

It’s Okay to Be Cautious 5

Success Is Not a Roll of the Dice 6

And One More Thing . . . 6

CHAPTER 1 What, Exactly, Is a Reluctant Entrepreneur? 9

Philip Knight’s Story 10

What We Can Learn From This . . . 11

Hatching a Business While You Keep Your Day Job 12

The Myth of the “Entrepreneurial Type” 16

CHAPTER 2 The First Question You Must Be Able to Answer 21

Rule Number One of Reluctant Entrepreneurship 23

Your Initial Challenge: Generating Positive Cash Flow 24

Educating Yourself About Business 25

CHAPTER 3 What It Takes to Be a Successful Reluctant Entrepreneur 27

The Reluctant Entrepreneur Is a Smart Entrepreneur 29

The Foundation of Your Business: Six Strategic

Choices You Have to Make at the Very Beginning 31

It’s Not Rocket Science 38

CHAPTER 4 Hatching the New Business: Overcoming Fear and Taking Action 41

Your First Three Action Steps 43

How Do You Find a Mentor? 48

Putting Fear on Your Side 49

CHAPTER 5 The Magic Happens When You Hire Superstars 51

Recognizing Superstar Potential 52

Knowing What You’re Looking For 53

How Do You Find These People? 54

The Care and Feeding of a Superstar 56

How to Structure a Superstar Organization 59

The Best Investment You Will Ever Make 61

CHAPTER 6 Mastering the Art of Business Relationships 65

The Reluctant Entrepreneur’s Guide to Making Friends in High Places 67

12 Ways to Get People to Want to Do Business With You 69

A Simple Trick That Will Make Important People Want to Talk to You 72

How to Get Others to Tell You Their Most Valuable Success Secrets—A Technique I Learned From a Self-Made Multimillionaire 73

Never Pass Up the Opportunity to Make a Connection That Can Do You Some Good 75

Seek Out Mutually-Beneficial Partnerships 76

It Doesn’t Take Much to Maintain Relationships With All Your Important Contacts—Even Hundreds of Them 78

CHAPTER 7 How to Become a Marketing Genius 81

Every Business Is About the Selling 82

The Beauty of Direct Marketing 83

Mastering the Art of Persuasion 85

The Difference Between Wants and Needs 87

The Difference Between Features and Benefits 88

The Difference Between Benefits and Deeper Benefits 89

The USP: Making Your Product Stand Out From the Competition 90

How to Use Your USP to Create a Successful Advertising Campaign 91

Resist the Urge to Try Something Completely Different 92

Short-Term Results Versus Long-Term Profits 93

CHAPTER 8 Maintaining Control of Your Growing Business 97

Pushing Hard for Profi ts 98

You Can Never, Ever Stop Pushing on Every Single Front 100

How Much of Your Profi ts Should Go Into Your Pocket—And How Much Should Go Back Into Your Business? 101

Why You Should Ignore the “Experts” and Determine Your Own Compensation 102

Create a Culture That Respects Money 103

Keep Your Eye on the Numbers 104

Never Lose Your Competitive Edge 105

How Tiffany & Co. Lost Their Edge—And Found It Again 106

Set High Standards for Customer Service—And Make Sure They Stay High 107

A Success Trap You Don’t Have to Fall Into 110

CHAPTER 9 Leadership: Keeping Your Vision Alive 113

Effective Leaders Motivate Others to Do Great Work 114

Effective Leaders Focus on Work, Not Politics 114

Effective Leaders Understand That Competition Has Its Place in Business, But It Is Not Nearly as Important as Cooperation and Sharing 115

Effective Leaders Care About Their Customers 115

Effective Leaders Make Fast Decisions 116

Effective Leaders Know How to Get Support for Their Ideas 116

Effective Leaders Know How to Delegate 117

Effective Leaders Do Not Micromanage 118

Effective Leaders Create a Culture of Accountability 119

Effective Leaders Understand That Teamwork Doesn’t Always Work 119

Effective Leaders Are Good Communicators 120

Effective Leaders Make Every Meeting Work for Them 121

Effective Leaders Know How to Negotiate 122

Effective Leaders Are Considerate 124

Effective Leaders Don’t Become Buddies With Their Employees 125

Effective Leaders Sometimes Zig When Others Zag 125

CHAPTER 10 Build Your Business Like a Go-Cart 127

Building the Go-Cart, Step by Step 129

Conclusion 133

APPENDIX Do You Need the Mindset of a Champion to Succeed in Business? 135

How to Use Humor in Business 139

Must You Be Cutthroat to Succeed in Business? 144

The Unexpected Side Effects of Making Money (and How to Avoid Them) 149

The Time-Management System That Works for Me 155

About the Author 159

Index 161

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Michael Masterson is not your typical businessman. An ex–Peace Corps volunteer, he never took a class in business, doesn't read the business press, and hates to talk business. He spends his spare time writing poetry, collecting fine art, and practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His neighbors call him a bohemian. But he's also an entrepreneur. He started his first business when he was eleven years old, and in the forty-five years that have elapsed since then, he has started or co-started dozens of successful businesses. The author of numerous business books, several of them New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, Masterson consults for private clients and writes the Palm Beach Letter, a newsletter for individual investors.

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