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Customer Review

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can You Predict the Future?, May 15, 2012
This review is from: Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future (Hardcover)
I've helped create and/or review hundreds of business plans. Invariably they all involve lots of assumptions about the future. I tell anyone working with a business plan that the plan is only as good as the assumptions. And generally the assumptions are the best guess of whoever prepared the business plan.

Unfortunately most of these plans did not come close to meeting the goals set forth in the business plan. So the question becomes: Is there a better way for entrepreneurs to get their business off the ground than the time honored business plan? The answer, according to the authors of Just Start is just that. Get started.

One of the recurring themes of the book is "If you can't predict the future - and increasingly you can't - action trumps everything." The authors go on to say, "you need to act your way into creating the future you want."

But they are not advocating helter-skelter action. They are not suggesting that you start taking action without some structure. What they are suggesting is that you do a lot less thinking about things and take some actions which will produce measurable results. Whenever you take action, you gain some knowledge that you did not have before. Use that knowledge to guide your next steps.

There is a well thought out structure to their advice. Before you jump in and start taking action, ask and answer these four questions:
1. It is feasible, is it within the realm of reality?
2. Can I do it, is it feasible for me?
3. Is it worth doing? Is there a market for it? Does it make sense to put in all this effort?
4. Do I want to do it?

The fourth question is the most important. You need to measure your level of desire for the project.

After you assess your level of desire, the next step is to act quickly with the means at hand. What can you do with your current resources? Next determine your acceptable loss level. How much time, money, energy are you willing to lose on the project? You must determine this on the front end.

After you take action you will gain some additional insights. From those insights, you need to build on what you have learned. The final step is to bring other people into the process.

While I have highlighted the steps, there is a lot of additional very helpful information about the process. The authors go into detail about what to do, how to do it and the results you are looking for.
There are also sections which deal with how to use these concepts in a larger organization as well as your personal life. Those sections are interesting but not on the same level as the information for entrepreneurs.

The book is based on lots of research and experience but it is written in a breezy conversational style. You will immediately grasp the concepts and how to apply them to your entrepreneurial projects. This book could save you a lot of time, money and energy in developing your next new business/project.

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, by all means add this book to your toolkit. If you know someone who longs to be an entrepreneur, this is the place to start.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 7, 2012 4:46:21 PM PST
D. Whitney says:
I appreciate this review - it explains the main ideas of the book pretty well. What I don't get is why this book is entitled, "Just Start." If you're considering the answers to the four questions you listed, you're actually not "just starting." Those questions and their answers are very important, and they may either be impossible to obtain, or not particularly meaningful to the basic question of whether I should start this business. It may well be feasible and within the realm of reality, but still not have a prayer of succeeding. Whether I can do it is a question I can't really answer until I try. I may think it's worth doing, but it may turn out to be irrelevant to the rest of society. And whether I want to do it is another thing I may not really know until I try. I'm saying all of this because I've had some experience with what is so far a failed business this year. So, while I'm grateful for the review, because I have a better idea about the contents of the book, I don't really get it, and also don't get why this book should get 5 stars.

That's just my alternative 2 cents worth about what's been presented here.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2012 5:14:18 PM PST
I think the author's point is no one knows whether they can do something until they try. So just start, but start in a small way and start so that you have measurable results. Far too many entrepreneurs spend lots of time, money and energy on the planning stage then go full speed ahead. The authors are suggesting that you get started with a step which will not break the bank but will move you ahead. If that is successful, take the next step. The book goes into much greater detail than I could in a one page review. I think their approach is valuable, and since it sounds like you have not been successful with your efforts, this might give you some additional insights.
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