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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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on September 21, 2008
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. I also guarantee that you will think of things that you have included in your business plan that should be changed. This book is a goldmine of information you need in order to tweek your business plan so your business will be as successful as possible. And if your business cannot be successful, then this book will have helped you figure that out, too.

The conclusion to the book is basically just a summary of the 124 lessons learned. And it also summarizes "55 Business Rules" the author plants throughout the book that provide great wisdom.

I would have liked the book better if it had included a chapter, some lessons, and business rules regarding marketing. The book is totally lacking when it comes to that subject. But what the book does cover it covers well. 5 stars!
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on November 8, 2010
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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on November 8, 2008
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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on May 25, 2011
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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on February 5, 2015
Helpful with a course I took from Edward D. Hess with Coursera. The book and the course were both helpful in understanding how others systematically start and operate a business. However, my approach over the past 22 years is way different and it works for me.
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on March 17, 2014
I really liked the format of this book and the subject matter overview provided. This book serves as a great guide for those contemplating starting a business. It is filled with pointers and tips of things to keep in mind during business formation.
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on November 4, 2010
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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on June 22, 2011
So, You Want to Start a Business?: 8 Steps to Take Before Making the LeapThis book is a very concise, well-written primer on business basics. Anyone thinking about starting out on their own should take an hour or two to read through this excellent book. Really liked the chapter on determining business value, profit margins and evaluating the competition.
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on December 10, 2011
I've read a lot of similar business books and this one knocks them all out of the water.

From talking to various MBAs, everything in this book is standard on their curriculum. And as a business owner, I can vouch for the material; having learned it the hard way over time. This should be a must read for anyone starting a business.

The book's more of a how-to and lists what you should be doing. It's not one of those "why it's great to be independently wealthy" or "why it's great to run your own business" books. It focuses on the nuts and bolts of making it happen; which is why I love it so much.
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on October 27, 2015
This was a very interesting and informative read! I have no background in business whatsoever, but I found this book very easy to understand. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is planning or thinking about starting a business.
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