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Four books help would-be entrepreneurs.
Before starting a business, take a look at the following books to gather helpful advice.


Originally published on Monday, May 3, 2004 in The Miami Herald.

While it's grand that the economy is in recovery, chances are you're not celebrating just yet if you are out of work or underemployed. In fact, the time-honored American tradition of starting a business beckons as an increasingly appealing alternative. True, there's a certain amount of risk and speculation, but unlike, say, the lottery, many variables can be controlled or anticipated.

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Here are some recent books to help would-be entrepreneurs get started, or, at least, start thinking about beginning their journey.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting Your Own Business. Edward Paulson. Alpha. 409 pages

Don't know about you, but though I'm not excessively egotistic, I consider myself neither an idiot, nor a dummy. Regardless, books aimed at dolts and dimwits are successful, and for good reason. Despite the potentially off-putting titles, they're generally well done.

This recently updated edition offers a very thorough examination of the issues involved in starting one's own enterprise. Beginning with detailing the necessary personal qualities to possess and the immediate needs faced when starting a business, the author does a solid job in presenting the realities of the situation, internally and externally. To be sure, motivation is important, but it's not enough, so he lays out the seemingly mundane tasks that can't be ignored but might be overlooked by neophytes. That includes creating a business plan, calculating expenses, securing financing, devising pricing, conducting competitive analyses and so on. There's even a CD-ROM with forms, reports and other useful resources included with the book. Smart!

Steps to Small Business Start-Up: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Idea into a Successful Business. Linda Pinson, Jerry Jinnett. Dearborn Trade Publishing. 245 pages

Sometimes it's good to have a workbook. Exercises force people to role-play, model and project. It's a lot easier and less risky to do it on the page before taking it to the stage. This fifth edition isn't just a collection of forms, though. It also covers a lot of the same ground as the Idiot's book with tips, lessons, anecdotes and more. It's also a couple of bucks cheaper, but there's no CD-ROM, so you do the math.

Financing Your Small Business. Robert R. Walter. Barron's Ed. Series. 368 pages

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It takes money to make money, so how do you secure the necessary financing if you're trying to start a business? Here's a good resource for would-be CEOs of firms of all sizes to consult before securing funds to operate a business. Valuation, dealing with banks, private investors, IPOs and more are covered in detail. It's not light reading for a day at the beach, though it's clearly written, accessible and stimulating.

Roadmap to Entrepreneurial Success: Powerful Strategies for Building a High-Profit Business. Robert. W. Price. AMACOM. 304 pages.

This road map is written for those seeking to travel on the high road; that is, not with a pushcart, kiosk or work-at-home venture. Robert Price does an extremely thorough job of presenting his material in a provocative and thoughtful manner. It would make a fine text for an entrepreneurial course at the university level.

The author presents a very compelling glimpse of the Promised Land, and a tempting vision to which self-starters can aspire.


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