In an era when venture capital for a proposed Net startup is about as forthcoming as a politician caught in a sex scandal, Under the Radar
by economist-turned-entrepreneur Arnold Kling offers timely advice on opening a new cyber-business without such big-time outside money. Combining experiences gleaned from his own self-funded Homefair.com (which he eventually sold for $85 million) along with examples of 25 other online enterprises also financed that way, Kling presents a practical how-to that readers with real ideas and realistic expectations could use to build viable Internet concerns, even in less-than-optimal times. Kling says there are still feasible niches for online businesses aiming between the $5 million entry level and the $1 billion minimum that satisfies venture capitalists--the "under the radar" zone of opportunity of his title--and outlines a route similar to those he and his other sources have used to fill them. One core suggestion does away with the traditional, time-consuming, and usually unproductive process of preparing and continually revising an extensive business plan; instead, he details a more effective program of 12 initial steps (developing the proper team, identifying a personal commitment threshold, recognizing operational milestones that will take you to the next level) that "netstrappers" can combine with internal and more modest funding sources to build a business that outlasts the next shakeout. --Howard Rothman
From Library Journal
This book offers advice from the founder of the successful web site Homefair.com, who built up that business and sold it (along with two related businesses) for $85 million. Kling recounts his experiences as a "Netstrapper" who created a successful enterprise without venture capital by looking to smaller target markets than those required by entrepreneurs seeking such funding. The characteristics of the Netstrappers, as described by the author, are charm, talent-scouting skills, the ability to stand up to the bar, the ability to focus, and a beginner's mind. Kling also describes the nuts and bolts of establishing a company, including writing a business plan, choosing a team, brainstorming, selecting a target market, and test marketing. Bibliographic citations would have been helpful in supplementing the numerous case studies, but given the current situation with dot-coms, this volume offers readers a way to build a potentially more stable company than those relying on venture capital. Recommended primarily for public libraries, though larger academic libraries should consider. Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.