Welcome to The Start-up Business Guide. Join our mailing list to receive 3 free chapters.
Our belief is that entrepreneurship – starting your own business – has things in common with swimming and with sex: You can’t learn how to do any of them from reading a book. At some point, you just have to jump in, see what it feels like, and practice until you improve.
So why did we write a book about something you can’t learn from a book! Because, like with swimming and sex, we want you to be safe when you plunge into the exhilarating world of owning your own business.
You are about to embark (or maybe you already have) on a grand journey, perhaps the most exciting and rewarding of your life. It is only once you are on that journey that you can truly understand what entrepreneurship is all about – the great times, and the terrible burdens. No book you ever read can replace that first-hand experience.
As adults, we learn from experience. Our belief for start-up business owners is this: you can either learn from your own experience, slowly and expensively; or you can learn from the experience of others, avoiding the common errors and accelerating towards your outcomes. This guide is designed to bring that experience from others.
What you will learn through all 50 Steps we discuss comes from our own experience as business owners, and more valuably from interviews with and insight from more than 1,000 other small business owners who were once in your shoes.
Sometimes we quote them directly; other times we are more direct with our guidance, or explanation of key concepts or tools that you can use in your business.
We can’t guarantee you success in your venture, but we will improve your odds of success. We believe that the only way to truly fail in business is not to take risks, not to jump in to the pool and start swimming.
Because even if your first business, this beautiful baby you are thinking of bringing into the world, doesn’t succeed – that doesn’t make you a failure. In fact, it makes you even more valuable as a business owner, even more prepared for another attempt.
Congratulations on choosing the entrepreneurship path. Thank you for choosing to use our guide to help you through the earliest, most precarious part of that journey: Start Up. As start-up guru Paul Graham wrote, “If you can just avoid dying, you get rich.”
The wealth in your business – both financial and lifestyle – comes after you make it through the Start Up phase. On average, this takes a business three years: three years of riding the rollercoaster of emotions and cash flow until consistency sets in and you can feel relaxed.
Our goal in this guide is just the first year, the first 12 months. If you can “just avoid dying” in the first year, you are much closer to the third year, and then beyond. Of course, much of the advice and experience we share is designed to help you build your business for the long term right from the beginning.
We believe this guide will be a tool through all of your Start Up phase and beyond.
For now though, there is just one simple first step you need to make.
Decide to jump. Commit to no more thinking about starting a business, talking about the possibility with your friends, or going to events as an aspirational “wantrepreneur”.
Commit to doing.
New business owners have a choice: they can pay to learn from the experience of others, or they can pay to make the expensive mistakes themselves. A copy of our book The Start-up Business Guide is the best investment you’ll make in the success of your business.