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The Startup Garden: How Growing a Business Grows You Paperback – October 12, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Following your heart is not usually associated with running a profitable small business, but in The Startup Garden: How Growing a Business Grows You, business writer Tom Ehrenfeld explains how aspiring entrepreneurs can successfully mix business with inspiration and dreams. In a conversational, first-person style, he likens business growth to plant growth (i.e., identifying the seed one wishes to grow; determining whether it is fertile; and describing the shift from simply tending a plant to becoming a gardener). Though at times hokey, this is a nurturing resource that will help anyone struggling with the trials of a new business.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

Strategies to Launch and Grow the Business That's Right for You

It's never been easier for an individual to start a business. Ironically, it's never been more difficult for that enterprise to survive and thrive. Let The Startup Garden show you how to control your own destiny, first through learning exactly what kind of business will fit your skills and personality and then learning exactly what you need to do to make that business a success.

Any number of books will tell you how to start a business. The Startup Garden shows you how to start your business, one that matches your dreams, hopes, and aspirations with the skills and experience you have acquired throughout your career.

But more than just a "Do your own thing" self-help book, The Startup Garden provides you with concrete examples and strategies for the practical skills and disciplines required to make your enterprise a success. Leading small-business expert Tom Ehrenfeld provides proven, real-world methods to:

  • Realize how your particular venture makes money
  • Gather information and form relationships with potential customers
  • Grow your business by leveraging existing resources and developing the outside support and capital you'll need
  • Find great employees­­then set the boundaries necessary to make them great for your business

"The real-life stories in the Start-Up Garden are inspiring and demonstrate that you can do it, too. Tom Ehrenfeld is one of today's most insightful writers on the topic of small business."
­­Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit

"With so many books offering startup advice crowding bookshelves, this book is a refreshing change. It goes beyond the dry basics to examine the deeper issues involved in starting a business, from the passion necessary to sustain an enterprise to business ethics and exit strategies."
­­Lisa Waddle, editor, MyBusiness magazine

"Inspirational, holistic and packed with anecdotes, The Start Up Garden imparts a plethora of sound advice and timeless wisdom. A breath of fresh air that will get you to think about choosing work that will motivate and excite you."
­­Eric Tyson, syndicated columnist and author of Personal Finance for Dummies and Investing for Dummies

"This book is the start of something new and fresh and powerful. In the next decade you will see the flowering of entrepreneurship as a creative activity, as a way of building a life, and not just a business. This book makes a substantial contribution by giving people permission to think and talk about business in new ways that today they are afraid to."
­­George Gendron, Editor-In-Chief, Inc. Magazine

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies; 1st edition (October 12, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071368248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071368247
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,400,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most books that deal with startups or entrepreneurship focus on the formulaic sides of business; they include fill-in-the-blank business plans, spreadsheet templates that assume every company is the same, and a directory of financing sources that anyone could find on the Internet. Tom Ehrenfeld's "The Startup Garden" is the antithesis of these books, instead offering the reader not so much a series of answers to everyday questions, but rather a more thought-provoking series of questions which every entrepreneur should ask him- or herself before starting a business. Thankfully, this book is more about the journey than the destination.
As someone who advises a number of early-stage entrepreneurs, I am all too happy to suggest that anyone contemplating a startup should read this book before going too far. Doing so will cause the first-time or serial entrepreneur to consider all the facets of launching and running a company from both business and personal perspectives: a very worthwile introspective effort!
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Format: Paperback
The Startup Garden: How Growing a Business Grows You makes a valid contribution to the field of entrepreneurship. Although the book is by no means a high-browed read, it provides an overview of many important tools and areas that should be addressed by the small-business entrepreneur. The book starts out by guiding the entrepreneur in deciding on which business they should go into, based on their interests and what they want their business to accomplish for them. More importantly, the book provides a cautious guide in deciding if an individual should go in to business at all and if so, what areas they need to focus on when getting started. The book continues by guiding the entrepreneur in assessing the validity of their idea, what they are selling, who there customers are, and how they plan to provide a value-added product. In this phase, it is noted that you must identify other factors that could inhibit the delivery of your offering to consumers, such as the competition, the resources you have (or don't have), and the means by which you will make money. These and other factors are then taken into consideration when developing a "business plan." Further, as the new business owner starts out, they should have a grasp of the financial aspects of their new venture. This includes identifying key financial metrics and developing financial statements. This process of developing measures and continuous planning is mentioned further as the book progresses. Bootstrapping is delved into midway through the book. Ehrenfeld notes the importance of the previous planning efforts and measurements in accomplishing this task of operating lean in the start-up phases. Additionally, it is noted that developing a clear culture to support you efforts is vital as you business grows.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
There are a million books on starting businesses, and every five years or so one comes along that raises the bar. Ehrenfeld's breakthrough book on entrepreneurship presents a sharp set of tools that set it apart from the pack. Clear, concise writing makes the difference. While many entrepreneurs have been successful in business, they haven't been able to give others the right information. In The Startup Garden, you'll get a complete toolkit and -- perhaps most important -- the keys to timing your business so that you have the true sense of an entrepreneur. This book won't help someone like Steve Jobs, but for the rest of us, it's worth its weight in stock certificates.
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Format: Paperback
Are you out to become the next Bill Gates? Me neither. I don't want to found the next Microsoft or Coca-Cola, I am just thinking about starting my own business. Sure, I want to be successful, but I also want to have a life. A real life, where my work sustains me but does not control me.
So many books today are about dominating the world via internet or "how I burned through $40million dollars of venture capital" and lived to write this book. That's not me, and that's not the Startup Garden.
Tom Ehrenfeld has written a book for the rest of us. For the real folks with the motivation and the will to create a business of their own, but still wise enough to know they could use a little help, some sound advice and a shoulder to cry on now and then. This book offers all three.
Yes, I found the information well organized, the writing folksy and direct, the additional resources helpful but that's not enough. What's unique about the Startup Garden is it the first book I've read that treats the dream of building a business that reflects your passions and sustains your journey with respect. Truly, a worthwhile read.This author "gets it".
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Format: Paperback
I picked up The Startup Garden based on a review in our local newspaper, and found it a wonderful read. Having been involved in several start-up ventures, including consulting for several 'dot-coms', I found Ehrenfeld's approach refreshing, honest, and practical.
Building a great business, from a local store to a large company, is as much about execution as idea. By focusing readers on the many different types of leadership needed to launch a venture, from knowing yourself to managing cash and employees, Ehrenfeld goes a long way in providing a full picture of the skills and qualities needed to successfully lead new ventures.
Reading his book is like brainstorming with a smart friend: it helps you think through all of the questions you will need to answer in order to go from idea to business, giving lots of very practical advice along the way.
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