Sunday, February 13, 2011

The best book ever on entrepreneurship

There are lots of books out there on starting your own business. Most of them are bubbly, optimistic - and ultimately pointless. Finally, one has come along that really gives you the straight scoop on starting and running a successful business.

My good friend Carol Roth is no wannabe entrepreneur consultant. She has helped businesses raise over a billion dollars in capital, shows up regularly on cable news channels like MSNBC and Fox Business, and has reviewed over 1000 business plans for clients. She will soon be featured in a new cable reality show on business startups. Above all she is smart, funny, and takes no prisoners.

Her new book The Entrepreneur Equation isn't a warm, fuzzy tome on the joys of entrepreneurship. Instead, she breaks down the hard truths of starting your business: the capital you will need, the hours you will have to put in, the personal strengths it requires, and the realities of starting up in what she describes as the worst competitive environment ever. And you will be laughing as you read every page. Carol, who fashions herself in the book's introduction as Lucy Van Pelt from the comic strip Peanuts, combines a caustic wit with a razor-sharp insight on what makes successful businesses tick.

But don't think this book is simply a needed dose of castor oil. More accurately, it is - as she describes it - a screening interview that will make sure you succeed. Her own proprietary consulting formula, which goes by the acronym FIRED-UP (Finances, Inspiration, Reponsibilities, Experience, Dedication, and Unbridled Passion), boils the mechanics of starting a business into the basics everyone really should be thinking of: Do I have the drive, the capital, the experience, the crazyness to pull this off? No bland chapters on how to write your business plan here.

As I was talking with Carol a few weeks ago about this book launch, it got me thinking about my own business startup. I've been on my own for the better part of 15 years, and make a very nice living writing for people and being a public speaker. And everything she says really resonates with me and my own situation. I started with enough capital, I knew my market, knew what I was doing, and was very good at it. But above all, I was and still am crazy. I can stay up to 5 AM finishing one client, and then get up at 5 AM for another. I can get off the phone after losing a lucrative five-year contract bid, shrug, and get back to work. (And react much the same way after winning a similar one last year.) I keep learning and re-inventing myself. All because I know how badly the guy on the other side of the mirror wants to live the life I lead.

But back to Carol. This is the launch week for her book, and I am honored to be a part of it. If you buy her new book this week through her web site here, you will get some great bonuses, ranging from video media coaching to a chance to win a free coaching session from me - or, better yet, her. Purchase multiple copies, and you will even get a realistic Carol Roth doll made by a major toymaker (and one of her clients), the only business author I've ever seen with her own action figure.

In closing, don't just take my word for Carol's fresh approach to starting a business - watch this video and you will see exactly what I mean. And then go buy her book. Enjoy!

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