Customer Reviews: The Accidental Entrepreneur: The 50 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Starting a Business
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on May 7, 2008
I liked this book. It is full of content and it is well-written. It seems to be an updated version of a smiliarly titled book the author wrote back in 2004. See "The Accidental Entrepreneur" with ISBN: 0975977806. The 2008 version has a new chapter added - the 7th in the following list of chapter titles:

1. Introduction
2. What is an entrepreneur, anyway?
3. Ready, set, go!
4. Taking care of business
5. What do you bring to the party?
6. Market and sell your socks off
7. Get connected to the Web for profit
8. Making room for more business

The author is a self-employed business coach and mentor to wanta-be entrepreneurs. Basically she does for pay what I do for free as a SCORE volunteer. Most of what she discusses in her book is what I discuss with my SCORE clients. About the only thing we differ on is the extent to which a person should put effort into preparing a business plan. The author suggests that the entrepreneur should not go overboard on preparing a plan. Whereas I believe great time and effort should be put into dreaming, consolidating, researching, writing, proofing, and editing the 25-35 page written business plan for a startup. Maybe we differ because the author seems to separate a business plan from a marketing plan? And she seems to emphasize in her book how important a marketing plan is to a small business. In fact, she devotes all of Chapter 6 to it. And now that she has added Chapter 7, she has TWO chapters devoted to small business marketing. I, on the other hand, consider marketing plans to be a subset of a business plan.

The book gets its name from the fact that the author at one point in her life sought career counseling and almost overnight she became an "accidental entrepreneur" by starting her own business coach and mentor firm. In this book we are told what many wanta-be entrepreneurs need to hear about the realities of starting a small business. By reading this book the wanta-be entrepreneur will be able to avoid making mistakes in starting their venture, and do many things correctly.

I would have liked the book better if the "Target Your Market" section at page 58 had been a little more developed. I found the coverage to be kind of weak frankly. I particularly liked the coverage of "Which business structure is best for you" at page 40. And my favorite parts or chapters of the book were 6 and 7 regarding marketing and self-promotion. I also enjoyed reading the section on "Minding your Ps and Qs" which stressed the importance of planning. Poor planning is one of the most common causes of business failure. And without good planning it is difficult to be persistent in a meaningful way. So mind your Ps and Qs. 5 stars!
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on March 4, 2012
I hate being that one person who gives a bad review when everyone else seems to
think otherwise, but the book was horrific. I had to stop reading it when I was
confronted by the diagram with a circle labeled, "comfort zone". Some months
later I picked it back up but it didn't improve much.

If you can imagine a book about running a small business, as written by someone
with zero experience running a small business, but was instead some kind of a
hybrid cross between a hippie and a high school guidance counselor - this is
it. (No defamatory remark toward the author intended. I don't know anything
about her. That's just the vibe I got while reading it.)

I bought the book thinking I was getting some insight about the art of making
money and instead all I got was a bunch of obvious and painfully general
advice. Throw in a few motivational fill-in-the-blank worksheets and a lecture
about saving the planet for some reason, and call it a business book.

If you want to map out your comfort zone and fill out a bunch of worksheets
reminiscent of high school, this book is for you. If you want to learn how to
make money - I'd look elsewhere.
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on June 29, 2008
I really like this book and as an entrepreneur cannot stress enough how helpful this book would have been to me when I started my business many years ago
This book is for those of us who woke up one morning and found ourselves owning our own business. Funny as it sounds isn't that what happens? I know that many of you in the rep business for example were sales people with real jobs for many years and then for a number of reasons: company cut backs, a principal who offered to set us up in business if we would agree to represent him or we went to work for a large rep firm and ended up either running it or splitting off to start our own firm. Others of us got an idea that we were passionate enough about to go out on that limb and risk everything to "follow the dream" Whatever the reason we became entrepreneurs...accidentally. So here we are, what do we do now?
We pick up and read Susan Urquhart- Brown's book The Accidental Entrepreneur that's what we do if were smart. This book is filled with as she says 50 things I wish someone had told me about starting a business. Fifty very valuable things I might add. Here are some examples:
* Eight questions to ask before you start a business. This is an excellent chapter on defining yourself, your business and your goals.
* Avoid seven common pitfalls in business. Basically this is:
o Know what you sell before you sell it
o Know what it will take to succeed
o How to use connections and so on.
As well as a number of other chapters presenting a real meat and potatoes approach to starting and running your own business.
What I enjoy are the examples the author uses to make her point and demonstrate how others have succeeded using her experience and direction. These include the story of Mary Foley and Cheryl Thompson who started [...] (great name!) an online club for business women who want to be "outrageously in charge" of their lives.
David Riklan the owner of Self-Improvement online Inc. talks about his " Crossroads in business" which is the books term for the time when he knew he was ready to leave the safety of his corporate job and strike out on his own. By the way this was after five years of working evenings and weekends to start his business.
This book is just filled with stories about people just like you and me who struck out on their own and started their own business.
Reading The Accidental Entrepreneur provides us with not only great examples and guidelines of how to be a successful entrepreneur but it also provides something even more valuable. It provides through us with passion and inspiration to strike out and succeed in our own businesses. I like that. I like that a lot.
This is the best $[...] you'll ever spend on your business. Hit the business section and pick it up right now.
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on November 4, 2010
As an entrepreneur for the past decade, I find that I have to do so many different things to keep my business thriving. At times, it can be quite overwhelming to know what to do next. The Accidental Entrepreneur is an excellent guide for navigating the many decisions that I need to make.

This book is also particularly useful for prospective entrepreneurs who are trying to decide what business opportunities to pursue as well as how to turn entrepreneurial dreams into a reality without wasting time and money. Author Susan Urquhart-Brown has a clear writing style that flows nicely. She mixes sensible advice and real-world examples quite adroitly.

The Accidental Entreprenuer is definitely a keeper for my business library!
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on April 1, 2013
The title doesn't seems to be conected with the actual content of the book.

I think this is a more "negative" feeling book in where they tell you tell hard things about being an entrepeneur. You are an entrepeneur because you don't want a boss, then your clients are your bosses, IRS is your boss, etc. Also, you wanna have more flexible time job, the author says re think it as an entrepeneur you are going to have less time.

Ok, this might be partially true, but as many entrepeneurs the beggining is hard, then you get the pace of it and the business might run on its own.

Also, As an entrepeneur that I am, I have many weeks working all days, as other weeks are less accelerated and with less work. But something Im sure is I love to work for my self, and would never change it for working for somebody else.

I think this book might be useful for the conformist or person who maybe entrepeneurship isnt for them, who isn't sure of owning her own business. But for those of us who are sure we prefer to work for ourselves, that had find our true calling and passion an a way to get profit from it this is NOT your book.

Kind waste of time to read this had to skip many parts of it.

As I said if you are not sure this might be the book to get out of entrepeneurial adventure and to rationalize your fears and conformist thoughs.
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on January 2, 2014
The book is pleasantly written and has some nice advice here and there. If you are new to this field, it is a nice read.
There is a 1-star review pretty high up the list, and that reviewer makes some good points, however. This book is definitely not your one-stop source for starting a business and if you have read extensively in the field of entrepreneurship, you won't find much news here. So, not awful, but not fantastic either.
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on July 8, 2013
Prior to reading The Accidental Entrepreneur I was quite lost as to how best to form the administrative framework for my new LLC. Having read this book cover to cover twice, I can see this book becoming a valuable asset on my desk for frequent reference. A definite must for even the most educated business entrepreneur.
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on April 11, 2012
I'm planning to start a new business soon and I wanted to make sure I was covering all the bases. This book does a good job of giving you some ways to help organize your efforts when your starting a business. There are a few things I disagree with in the book, but overall, the advise in the book is helpful. I will definitely use some of the ideas from this book when I'm starting my business.

There are a few things I wish were in this book that I'm still not sure about. I wish it covered more ideas for people who will be doing a consulting type business. While the author briefly discusses this type of business, it seems like many more concepts can be covered, especially by someone who got their start in business by doing consulting themselves. I think that billing and administration may be the toughest part of the business for me and there is no advice for this area.

The good things covered in this book are about general concepts about why new businesses fail and how to avoid it (or avoid going into business in the first place.) There are some good suggestions on developing big-picture plans for your business that will help you avoid these pitfalls.

I will definitely refer to this book at several stages while starting my business, but there are a lot of things I will still need to figure out from other sources.
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on January 8, 2013
This book has alot of tidbits for the start up or existing entreprenuer. Whether you've been in business for years, it has information that you can use. I like this book alot. It's not a sit down and read from cover to cover, you can peruse it and find the useful articles that you need, when you need it.
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on January 10, 2014
For someone seriously considering opening a small business there are basic questions here and exercises to try and help you come to a conclusion, but these are all the same type questions in other books written by people who have started consulting businesses, not really shops or businesses that manufacture things, but airy type businesses like editing and career coaching that you do from your home in your pajamas, not places where you have real rent and utilities and employees and fixed hours where you have to drive there every morning and try to sell and/or deliver products, etc. There is little to no info on how to price products, figure out break even cost analysis, calculate what your product needs to cost for you to make money, etc. It's more how you can "cultivate your inner ecology" (whatever that means) or build a green business. She does have a chapter with general marketing tips that are helpful if you have not read many small business books yet.
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