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So, You Want to Start a Business?: 8 Steps to Take Before Making the Leap Paperback – August 30, 2008

24 customer reviews

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So, You Want to Start a Business?: 8 Steps to Take Before Making the Leap + Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses + The Road to Organic Growth: How Great Companies Consistently Grow Marketshare from Within
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Two former corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and now professors Hess and Goetz combine their wisdom and experience to offer new and wannabe business owners some critical thinking, management strategies, and tried-and-tested pointers. Their book is written in a simple albeit very academic style, with logical headlines, practical sidebars, and summarized “lessons learned” at the end of each chapter. Although the authors are generous about sharing the ABC’s of business, whether it’s how to find and keep good employees or explanations of financial gotta-haves, the overall subtitle—8 Steps to Take—gets buried in a welter of other numbers: the 8 mistakes business owners make (e.g., pricing incorrectly), the 7 techniques to get a customer to try your product (references/testimonials), the rule of 3s and the rule of 7s (only manage 7 or fewer people at any given time). Use this as a novice’s springboard (and remind the authors to follow their own advice: keep it simple!). --Barbara Jacobs

From the Back Cover

“Hess and Goetz present a roadmap for how to avoid the things that can cause you to stumble and how to build a business the right way.



“When I started my graphic design business, I knew I had enough talent to impress and keep my clients, but I struggled with the day to day running of the business.So, You Want To Start A Business?is the blueprint I needed to get organized and put all the right things in place.

-KORY BAILEY, Owner, Creative Counterpart


Build the Successful Company You've Always Wanted to Own!

  • Avoid the 8 disastrous operational mistakes that kill new businesses
  • Walk step-by-step through the entire process of building a winning business
  • Master 55 amazingly simple rules of business success
  • For every entrepreneur and potential previous business experience necessary!
  • Launch the winning business you've always wanted…or make more money in the business you've already started!

More than 5,000,000 new businesses are started each year…but 70% of them will fail. Now, two renowned experts on entrepreneurship identify the 8 “killer mistakes that cause most business failures-and give you the knowledge, tools, and hands-on advice to avoid them, so you can build a business thatthrives.


Unlike other books on entrepreneurship, this book focuses on the crucial operational issues associated with consistent profitability. You'll learn how to identify the right opportunities and customers; design winning products and services; set the right prices; overcome customer inertia; avoid common day-to-day management mistakes; find and keep good employees; and finally, smoothly manage growth.


Throughout, the authors draw on real life entrepreneurial experiences, case studies, and leading-edge research. There's nothing theoretical here: This is fast-paced, 100% practical advice you can use to make your business dreams and goals come true-startingright now.


What really makes a successful entrepreneur?

What they do, how they act...and how to find your best path to business success


Get the 3 “Ws right from the start

Whatwill you sell,whowill buy it-andwhywill they buy it?


55 simple, indispensable rules for success

What you must know about customers, competitors, and your employees


The art and science of managing people, operations, and growth

Create processes, set priorities, maximize quality, measure people-and improve every day


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (August 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137126670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137126675
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #895,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edward D. Hess is a Professor of Business Administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence at the Darden Graduate School of Business, The University of Virginia.He spent over 30 years in the business world prior to joining academia as a lawyer, investment banker, strategy consultant, and entrepreneur.

He is the author/editor of 11 books, over 60 business school cases, and over 60 articles dealing with high performance learning organizations, growth, values-based leadership, and family businesses. His current research is in the areas of learning cultures, systems and processes. His work can be found @ His work has appeared in over 300 media outlets worldwide the last 4 years including WSJ Radio, Dow Jones Radio,Bloomberg Radio, CNBC, NPR, Fox Business News, Forbes, Bloomberg, Business Week, Investor's Business Daily, CFO Magazine, Leadership Excellence, Chief Learning Officer, Washington Post, Financial Executive,Big Think, Business Insider, MSNBC Radio, and Money Magazine.

He has extensive experience advising and financing growth companies and multi-generational family businesses. He also has extensive research and consulting experience in the areas of public company organic growth and is the co-author of the Darden Growth/Innovation Model. His organic growth research has produced the concepts of The Growth System, The Growth Risks Audit, The Organic Growth Index financial model, and The Organic Growth Progression.

His business experience includes tenures with Warburg Paribas Becker, Boettcher & Company, The Robert M. Bass Group, Jones Lang Wooten, and Arthur Andersen Finance.

He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Florida, and obtained a J.D. from the University of Virginia and an LL.M. ( Taxation) from New York University.

He was raised in Carrollton, Georgia and worked his way through college as a student football mathematician for the Florida Gators. He is happily ( most days) married, loves to cook, travel, read, and play with his grandchildren and two tibetian terriers.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What a book. Just wonderful. I've been reading books on business plans and books related to business plans on and off over the past couple of years. I have found a number of adequate books on business plans, but this book (and "The Business Rules" ISBN: 1599180618) both do a pretty good job explaining what you need to know in order to write a great business plan.

Neither book tells you how to write a business plan. However, they are great books to help you polish up the business plan you have already written. If you are interested in preparing a great business plan, or in need of some strategic planning regarding a business plan you have already written, then I highly recommend you get a copy of either or both books and study them.

Included in this book is great content related to what the author claims to be 124 Business Lessons spread over 10 chapters as follows:

0. Introduction
1. Can you be a successful entrepreneur? (15 lessons)
2. Basic rules of business success (8 lessons)
3. What is a good business opportunity? (10 lessons)
4. How do you choose the right business customers? (9 lessons)
5. How do you design your product or service? (14 lessons)
6. What is the right price for your product or service? (9 lessons)
7. How can you overcome customer inertia? (9 lessons)
8. How to manage your business (22 lessons)
9. How do you find and keep good employees? (15 lessons)
10. How do you manage growth? (13 lessons)
11. Conclusion

As you read this book with your business plan in mind I guarantee you will think of many things you have left out of your business plan that should have been included.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on November 8, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is a useful run down of the things you NEED to think about before starting your own business. It poses questions you need to be able to answer about your own venture before runnng with it.

The only short coming of this book are the often short explanations about "how" to do something. This book answers more the "why" plan your business and "what" to plan but not really how to go about it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Eric Barger on November 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are thinking about starting your first business, you are already counting the money you will make. Do yourself a favor and read this book before you make the leap. It will save you a lot of heartburn and after you have started.

Being a large business owner and the owner of a new startup company, I can tell you from personal first-hand experience every word in this book should be taken to heart. Be brave and go for it, but know the pitfalls that most people fall into after they have started their business.

One example from the book is that people who are ready to start their own business are counting the money they are already going to make. I have been there and done that. It was nice to see a book that will ground you so you don't make the mistake of succumbing to the negatives that outlook can have.

Read the book! Be successful! Make lots of money and do it wisely!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CrimsonYell on May 25, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this book. It does an excellent job assisting a non-business person (like me) in thinking about all of the things one needs to do to get a business on solid foundation before making such a huge investment (both in time and money).

The book is structured to cover one main topic per chapter, and it does so in an excellent way. The authors harp incessantly in the early chapters about making sure you have a profitable business idea, not just a good idea. I appreciated this because I believe there is an important distinction.

It also spends many, many pages discussing the importance of customer service. Another important point that many failed small businesses did not grasp. My partner was once turned away from a small business three times due to poor customer service policies despite him almost begging for the business's help (it was a battery store). The employees simply didn't want to take the time to help him. Now, they are unemployed or in a new line of work.

This book won't make you rich. It won't give you any good business ideas. However, it will give your business idea a stress test and help you improve any weaknesses in your existing plan. It is also sold at a good price ($9.89 for Kindle for me).

I would highly recommend this book for any person who wants to start a business but feels like they lack some business knowledge. Very good investment for the right person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 4, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The common mistakes made by people starting businesses include choosing a bad business, choosing the wrong customers, selling the wrong product, using the wrong prices, not selling fast enough, not executing well, employing the wrong people and mismanaging growth, according to Edward Hess and Charles Goetz in this book.

The book goes on to describe how to manage each of these areas of a new business correctly so that the pitfalls are avoided. Most of the chapters deal with issues related to getting a new business going, but chapter 8 contains a crash course in principles for managing a business, chapter 9 gives advice on finding an employing good people, and chapter 10 discusses the issues that arise as a business expands.

There are plenty of books on starting a business, and most of them cover similar territory. However, most of them are not very interesting to read. What makes this short book stand out from the others is the clear, concise and engaging way in which it is written, with summaries of "lessons learned" at the end of each chapter and resources for further learning at the end. I would strongly recommend the book to anyone who is thinking about starting a new business or looking for some quick hints on how to run an existing business well.
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