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on September 27, 2001
I've been in business for myself for over 14 years now. Started with basically nothing and had to learn the hard lessons. My immediate advice...learn from the lessons of others. This book is a good place to start.
Author Norman asks 101 entrepreneurs what they wish they had known prior to business startup and, if known, what would they have done differently.
As with most startup or troubled businesses, capital, cash flow and knowledge of the marketplace are the heinous leaders of failure. Each of the 101 short stories tells a tale tantamount to each entrepreneur's greatest challenge and/or fear. If this depicts an accurate picture of each entrepreneur's greatest burden in creating success, listen up. This is where you will pick up the absolute BEST advice. New and experienced entrepreneurs alike will take something away from this book.
The author provides and plethora of resources including reading material, associations, societies and other pertinent information. Further, Ms. Norman suggest that readers contact her with their stories presumably to begin "Book II."
A great primer or refresher.
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on October 23, 2003
I think many people who purchased this book were thinking this might be a one-stop shop for business advice. Although there's much to be learned from the small businesses featured in "What No One Ever Tells You About Starting Your Own Business," it hardly works as a textbook-type book.
However, if you're throwing around some ideas for a potential, you're bound to get your creative juices flowing by reading about the highs and lows of those who took the gamble before you. It's bound to spark some ideas. In that respect, I rate this book very highly.
The book does offer solutions for the problems these companies faced, but it most circumstances, it's hard to apply the information to your specific situation.
If you've already started your own business, this book probably isn't for you. However, if you're looking for an idea or hoping to shape one, you're bound to get some value for your money.
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on March 4, 2004
Judging by the raving reviews for this book, I was expecting something spectacular. I came away feeling that I was cheated.
While the book is not bad, it is not worthy of the raving 5 star reviews and acclaim that it has recieved. I can only think that the reviews were shills or people who are terribly naive to business.
Not bad...but not great. Definitely not 5 star material.
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VINE VOICEon May 27, 2003
A fair dose of common sense would seem to preclude the need for reading this book. When you read these "mini case studies"...101 of get little snapshots of various hard lessons real life businesses have learned, regarding all sorts of subjects critical to small business owners...personnel, financing, cash flow and so forth. When you read the stories, you often think to yourself, "Well, duh, I wouldn't do that." or "I know enough to avoid that problem."
I would point out that sitting in the comfort of your home reading this book makes it easy to be an armchair quarterback. It's much harder to avoid mistakes during the hustle and bustle of actually running your business. Unfortunately, it's often hard to remember little two page stories you might have read 8 months earlier and apply them to your situation.
The primary value of this book, I would say, is to give a person an overall view of the complexity of running a business, as well as the daily curveballs thrown at those businesses. If you read the book and think, "Whew, that all sounds pretty tough," then maybe entrepreneurship is not for you. So look at these 101 cases as a gut-check or a "personality test" if you will.
The book is written in a breezy, fast-paced manner, and the stories themselves are largely entertaining. I'm not saying the book is without merit, but for TRUE nuts and bolts help, its value is probably limited.
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on April 10, 2002
I just started reading this book and I have to write hear that I have gotten more detailed vaulable information in the first 50 pages alone. I am in the process(happily) of starting my own business and in ongoing counseling sessions with the SBA office since last September. What I got from this book in two days has more value to me then any information I recieved from the SBA office "Period"! If you are going to do a start-up read this first. I have a few other books that I purchased from (my second home)as it relates to start-ups and so far this gets a five star. Buy it you will be glad you did.
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on December 2, 1998
How much is it worth to you to know in advance how to avoid costly mistakes when starting or running a business?
Multiply that by 101.
This book contains 101 lessons learned the hard way by 101 successful entrepreneurs. That's 101 lessons we readers get to learn the easy way.
Ms. Norman's book is invaluable not only for the brave souls considering starting their own business, but also for those who have been in business for years.
In fact business veterans probably can appreciate even more than novices the value of avoiding costly mistakes.
In a highly readable, anecdotal format, Ms. Norman relates the stories of 101 successful entrepreneurs who learned business lessons the hard way.
The value of these insights is immeasurable.
The bottom line is there are 101 potential mistakes that you can avoid by learning from the experiences of successful business owners. It's like having 101 free consultants, each expert in his or her field.
Ms. Norman also provides a handy list of resources, including internet, association and corporate contacts.
She also encourages readers to contact her with their stories so she may continue the good work, perhaps in a sequel or in her newspaper column published nationally.
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VINE VOICEon April 18, 2003
What No One Ever Tells You About Starting Your Own Business is a compilation of 101 tips from entrepreneurs who have successfully started their own businesses. From road signs to electronic circuit boards, healthy cookies to paint stirrers, this book gives the reader a collection of eclectic stories from people who have a bit of advice for those who are just starting on the road that they have previously traveled. Most of the advice is nothing startling or new and, if you have read other books about creating your own business, you have probably heard them before. The strength of this book lies in the fact that each little lesson is presented as a kind of case study where the entrepreneur shows you how not following that advice hurt their growth or caused their start up to be more difficult than it needed to be. Their advice includes sections on 'Look Before You Leap' (make a plan, get some training, its harder than you think, you need more money than you plan, etc.), 'Early Decisions' (know your strengths, get advice/help from others, grow your business, balance personal life and work, etc.) 'The Money Chase (everything costs more than you think, how to get funding, should you sell part of your business for money, equity vs. debt financing, etc.) 'Management Issues' (counting inventory, look at your business the way outsiders would, coping with growth, nightmare customers, etc.) 'Helping Hands' (delegating, hire the best, sales commissions, partnerships, etc.) and 'Marketing' (you need a plan, test different ways of advertising, focusing on your customer niche, etc). All of these sections had some useful advice, but they were very brief, no more than a page or two. However, the book was pretty inspirational because all of these entrepreneurs had problems and challenges, but they kept going forward and they ended up being successful. If you are looking for something motivational and fun that is also informative on the side, this book is for you.
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on October 17, 2004
This book should be a must read before someone starts planning a company and then again right before they implement the plan. Many of the mistakes outlined apply to businesses of all sizes, but these mistakes could easily kill a small business. I have seen many of these topics in other books, but this is the most comprehensive. I have introduced this book to a friend who recently had to close his business and he wishes he had this before he ever started.

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on April 24, 2004
I agree with the other reviewers who said this book is pretty basic. However, there are a few nuggets of information, if you search for them.
Not the best book on business. I would recommend that you borrow it from a library or get it from a used book store.
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on July 16, 2005
As some of the other reviewers have mentioned, there are some great "nuggets" of information in this book. And the value of those nuggets to the reader will depend on how much the reader already knows. For someone just getting started, this book provides a great way to learn from others.

There simply aren't enough business books on the market with real-world advice. And when you compile the advice of many people, different readers will find different parts useful. I read this book several years ago and thought it was a great primer. Too many people jump into business ownership with their eyes closed. If you talk to successful business owners, very few will tell you that they got where they are by figuring it out as they went along. You need mentors and advice from people who have been down the path before you.

This is not a book for someone who has been in business for awhile, however I highly recommend it for anyone who is getting started. The more prepared you are to start a business, the more likely your chances of success. This book is worth your time and could save you from making some mistakes in the process.
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