After a year and a half of working on Unlocking Your Entrepreneurial Potential, it’s ready for publication. Here’s an excerpt from the Preface:
Starting and running your own business can be a very rewarding experience. It provides a great sense of accomplishment and can generate wealth beyond your wildest dreams.
You’ll never get rich working for someone else. In fact, almost half the people considered “super rich” say they created their fortunes by owning their own businesses. The best way for the average person to build wealth and gain independence is by starting a business.
Unlocking Your Entrepreneurial Potential is written for people without easy access to capital or high-powered connections. In fact, well over 99 percent of the 6 million new business started every year will never receive third-party funding. According to Niels Bosma and Jonathan Levie, authors of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s Executive Report (2009), “A person has a better chance of winning a million dollars or more in a state lottery, than getting venture capital to launch a new business.”
In addition to the approximately 28 million businesses in the US today, there are millions more aspiring entrepreneurs. They include students, recent graduates, people working for other companies, those recently laid off, and the recently retired.
People starting and running businesses need all the help they can get. Frankly, it requires knowledge of a wide variety of subjects. Clearly, there is a need for a pragmatic playbook for new and existing entrepreneurs.
Starting from scratch, I cofounded a software company that survived and thrived despite five recessions, four disruptive technology changes, and three huge global competitors. As CEO, I navigated our self-funded company through all seven stages of the business cycle: planning and preparation, start-up, profitability, growth, reinvention, decline, and sale of the company.
I won’t say the journey is easy, and I won’t say everyone will succeed. In fact, I would say it’s extremely challenging. The numbers confirm this: over 50 percent of all new businesses will fail within five years, and 50 percent of the survivors will fail during the following five-year period. The good news is that over time, entrepreneurship provides a level playing field.
As you go out to sell your product or service, no one will ask you if you graduated from Princeton. They will simply ask, “How can you help me?” If you can articulate how you can help and prove it, you can get the order.
There’s an entrepreneur inside every one of us. With the right information and knowledge, anyone can start a business and realize his or her dreams. This path to prosperity is available to anyone and everyone who is willing to work hard and work smart.
In the words of Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph, “The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
The goal of Unlocking Your Entrepreneurial Potential is to share insights, strategies, and tactics from my thirty-year entrepreneurial career to improve your probability of success, however you may define it. Unlike many books on entrepreneurship that are written by investors, consultants, and academic types, Unlocking Your Entrepreneurial Potential is based on practical, real-world experience.
I lived it, and I loved it. I hope you will too.