33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2011
If you are thinking about starting a business and want to be talked out of it, this is the book for you. Carol lays out all the downsides, risks, and pitfalls of entrepreneurship. This book is a cold splash of water for starry-eyed dreamers. But it doesn't offer solutions. Successful businesses are started every day in America, and somehow companies make profits. I'd rather hear about how obstacles are overcome and problems solved. Why the negativity?
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2012
As an entrepreneur I consider the author's point of view too radical and somehow out of balance. Only warning alone can not make the future entrepreneurs successful. There is very little practical insight or solution offered in this book to avoid the pitfalls. Creating too much fear around the goal of building your own successful business can result in failure anyway. To my opinion she has a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience but colored by her childhood's scarcities and her dread for financial loss. Give yourself permission to question all the materials in this book because reading it blindly can cause you to co-create your own failure.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2011
Disclosure: I had an early copy of the book to read. Carol is a wonderful person, a sound business mind, and clearly a great writer. Ready for the review?
Sometimes it's easy to say "Go" or "just start" or "just do it"... I've repeatedly found myself saying this to others.
Want to start that new shop on Etsy? "Just go." Want to open that Hot Dog Restaurant? "Do it..."
But... Carol's made me realize an important caveat still exists..one that's easy to forget.
The one about "oh yeah, it's hard work to start a business and actually succeed." I found the book to greatly reminded me of Michael Gerber's E-Myth. You know the book? The one that makes you consider all these things you don't really want to consider because they easily unmask some telling truths about your plan.
Carol helps us answer the tough questions early before it's too late. Carol takes you on a bit of a journey. It's a bit of an adventure book, almost like a board game. "Move forward if and only if you've done this."
Let me explain, the book works like this..
First few chapters.
1) Here are the myths about starting, running, owning a business. Are you starting for these reasons or for that reason?
2) Are you this type of person? Do you possess these qualities?
OK Good. Once you've answered these questions NOW it's time to move on to the next chapter.
3) Now let's look at your idea. Let's do some risk assessment. Let's consider the idea and fit for you and your personality. Does your idea have legs? Let's look at your business plan. How about financing? etc etc...
OK good, have you done that? Now let's move on.
Carol's funny and witty and the book delivers a lot of spunk.
So why 4 stars?
4 stars because we're living in a day and age where we need the starters more than ever. We need the folks that ARE willing to ask these questions later. I know, I know... The book can save you a lot of wasted time, heartache and lost money. Carol has given us a guidebook to help avoid a potential disaster, but I believe such books also have the ability to shy us away from starting anything in the first place. I know as I read the book myself and considered some recent business ideas I've started, I got that scared, anxious, and that resistant feeling I've been trying to avoid. "Ah Geez Carol.. Thanks for making me thinking about that"
Sometimes we need to read the Carol books after the fact. It's the ah-ha moments that allow us to look back and do it better the next time. I believe that's when you want to read Carol's book. Not before you start your first business, or even your second, but after you've got a few failed attempts under your belt.
It's a weird suggestion, but that's the moment I believe Carol's book can help you the most. So YES, Buy it! Stick it on the bookshelf. Lock it in the vault. Don't send it to your kindle just yet. You'll know when you really need it.
Make sense? I still say Go Now.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2011
This book focuses mostly on the reasons why you shouldn't have your own business - I felt it was a little biased rather than impartial. I bought it looking for guidance, but it ended up putting down most of the good reasons for having your own business. I know having a business is a lot of work, but not having to put up with Dilbert-like situations daily makes it worth taking a chance.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2013
I read the first few chapters but it is very negative for people starting a business. I have already started mine and was hoping it would provide tips. It instead was all the reasons you should not start a business and had more downer stories than positive and uplifting stories. So I would not recommend for someone who already has a business, if your just starting out and want a shock of reality I would recommend this book to you.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2011
Carol Roth is a truth teller. I figured that out the first time I met her in Chicago, before a recent SOBCon. She has never shied away from hard facts and uncomfortable realities, especially when it comes to the business world.
She has faced many of these realities herself, during her career as an investment banker, deal maker, and business strategist. By her own admission, she's always had this "Lucy Van Pelt" (the character in the Peanuts comic strip) thing going on, putting up her own version of the "Doctor is In" sign, telling it like it is to all who frequently ask her for advice.
I have been one of those people myself, because I'm about to make the big jump into my own business (with a partner, Liz Strauss), and Carol knows a thing or two about that.
There is SO much to think about when starting a business, and I needed a few doses of reality as I slogged forward. Carol has been extremely helpful, and now I feel a lot better about what I'm doing, and, on top of that, I have a great new friend, because she also happens to be a good and caring person to boot.
So it was with great interest that I recently read her latest book, "The Entrepreneur Equation". The book is a wonderful distillation of all that advice she has given over the years, well sequenced and organized. It really is essential reading for any would-be entrepreneur, because it really "lays it all out there" - all the hurdles and "screens" that one has to jump and pass through to conceive, plan, fund, staff, model, manage and execute (just to name a few) a new business.
The crux: Just because you think you CAN be an entrepreneur, that doesn't mean you SHOULD be one, until you answer all the right questions.
I'll pass along just a few of the examples of those "right questions" in the book that "got" me (and made me reach for the yellow highlighter):
* Are you going to create a "salable" business, rather than a "jobbie" (a hobby disguised as a business) or a "Job-Business" (a one person business that isn't scalable)? There's a great chart in the book that breaks this down perfectly.
* How are you with your personal finances? Because if you can't manage your own finances, then "you shouldn't be an entrepreneur trying to manage a business (and implicitly, the business's finances)". That one really made me think (as I stared at my unbalanced checkbook).
* Are you willing to put in a LOT of hard work and practice? The "Secret" of success is not just a great idea, a positive attitude, and venture funding. A lot of us are so impatient when it comes to this - we want instant success. But it's rarely so.
* Are you a "Santa or an Elf"? That is, are you better at giving direction, or taking direction? If you are the latter, it will be very, very hard to run a business on your own.
* Are you "too smart for your own good"? That is, you can't give up control over anything because "nobody can do it better than you"? Carol has quite an interesting take on this one. And boy, it made me look in the mirror (thanks Carol).
I highly recommend this book to anyone even remotely thinking about starting their own business - it's a great reality check that covers all the bases.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2012
If you need assistance building doubt or reasons not to take action, Ms. Roth's book is just the thing. While it is certainly wise to examine different perspectives prior to embarking on a new venture, The Entrepreneur Equation seems to be a treatise on why the odds are against you, why you shouldn't even try. Ms. Roth reminds us, repeatedly, that many, many more businesses fail than succeed. Indeed, early in the book we are asked "Why would so many people risk their time, money and effort in a journey with such low odds of success?"
A dose of realism is healthy, but this book struck me as pure negativity.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2011
Running a business is hard. Really hard. No, really, and there are apparently no rewards to it. Ever. At least according to this book.
Let me start by saying that this is a great book for someone considering going into business who has no experience, knows no one who runs a business, or who has starry-eyed visions of how awesome it would be.
I already have a business. I read in a review that this is great even for existing business owners. In my case, it was just depressing. I get that it is hard because I'm living it. The points in this book about the myriad difficulties of running a business are valid. I do think they are expanded and stretched beyond necessity to make a point, and it gets repetitive, chapter after chapter, to hear that it sucks. A lot. Really.
Really? There are no upsides? I did not see a single mention of the rewards in this book, unless they were mocked as "yeah, right, in your imagination maybe" or "that's about as likely to happen as winning the lottery."
It would have been nice to hear the author's perspective on who she thinks *should* become an entrepreneur. There is none of that in here, just a whole lot of no.
The take-home message: if you have a regular job, don't even think of leaving it. If you don't, go get one. In my case, I am one of the many "accidental entrepreneurs" to come out this recession, and while it has been a hard road, it is better than the other options I had. This book left me feeling stupid for even going into this business (which is working out ok, as I am trying to stay focused on the rewards I do get), and offers no information whatsoever for existing entrepreneurs - except "go get a regular job."
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2012
I find Ms. Roth amusing. Great claims are made by her about raising venture capital and doing M&A deals in Chicago. The strange thing is that no one in these circles seems to have heard of her or any deals that she's been involved in. I have Googled her and have not been able to find anything supporting her claims. Perhaps Google had a few down days where it wasn't working up to par?
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2012
Don't waste your time with this nonsense.
If you are considering being an entrepreneur, or are a business owner SPEND YOUR MONEY ON OTHER BOOKS.
The author consistently reminds you that owning your business is not worth your time and pushes the consensus that you should just be an employee. It's like she is advocating the reader to just give up and go work for a corporation, almost to the point where it in itself is a paid plug.
Miss Roth, should be ashamed of herself, she consistently projects a negative tone throughout the book and her obvious insecurities are highlighted through referenced experiences.
Someone with so much knowledge, you would expect to give advice on successes to a business or elements/traits, which she has picked up in her life. Experiences that she has come across, where a decaying business has turned its fortune around, and the guiding factors behind it.
Save your time and money, pick up a book by a successful entrepreneur.