Entrepreneur for the Rest of Us: How to Create Innovation and Opportunity Everywhere (2015)
by Paul B. Brown
I was looking for a book on entrepreneurship/business at the library last week and my criteria were: 1) Less than 200 pages [because I need to bring it during my travel, travel light]; 2) Hardcover [tough for my traveling bag]; 3) Easy-to-read [thus the subtitle]; and recently published [2015 is quite recent] – and so, I choose this one! Surprisingly, I enjoy reading Paul Brown’s book and I have about a dozen ideas taken from this book ready for actions. I read on average one book per week and sometimes readers like me can get caught in the trap of consistently reading and never taking action on anything they read. I must make sure that if I found good ideas from a book, I will take notes (and write a review) and if it is applicable, I will test the wisdom and take actions accordingly.
Entrepreneur for the Rest of Us is really… for the rest of us. If you want to improve your company or if you’re working for a growing company or if you own a start-up or (like me) you are thinking about going out on your own, then this book is suitable for you. For about 30 years, Paul Brown has been studying and writing about entrepreneurs, and he said that the most important is “to study how the most successful entrepreneurs think.” What do they have in common? Brown listed 6 of them. They… #1 Figure out what they really want to do, they get a firm handle on what they want to create; #2 Take a small step toward that goal; #3 Pause after taking that small step to see what they have learned; #4 Build off that learning and take another small step; #5 Pause after taking that step; and #6 Build off what they learned from taking that second step and take another small step. Brown reduced the process into this formula: Act – Learn – Build – Repeat. “Successful entrepreneurs don’t spend a lot of time planning or playing ‘what if’ games,” write the author, “They start (with a small step) and see how the world responds.” There are three benefits if we follow these steps: 1) You can get started right away; 2) You don’t need a lot of resources, and 3) You can respond quickly to market needs. I like what I’m reading!
This book is divided into 9 chapters and end with an afterward. For each chapter, there is three points summary (but I shorten it here), except for chapter 1:
Chapter 2: How the Best Entrepreneurs Think. “Don’t reinvent the proverbial wheel. You don’t need to learn everything the hard way. Serial entrepreneurs… have a proven approach to creating innovation and opportunity. The approach that has worked for them will work for you.” “Despite the myths, the best entrepreneurs take small steps.” “The formula the best entrepreneurs follow is: Act. Learn. Build. Repeat.”
Chapter 3: Always Start with a Market Need (And Not the Great Idea). “Always, always, always start by solving a market need instead of coming up with a wonderful idea.” “Make sure the need is real and big enough…” “Get underway quickly. Don’t wait to perfect your product or service.”
Chapter 4: The Secret of Marketing? Compete Differently. “At the highest level, marketing is remarkably simple: you figure out who you want to sell to, and then you determine how you are going to get those people to buy.” “Listen, listen, and listen some more.” “Costumer is not a ‘nice to have.’ It must be an essential part of your business strategy.”
Chapter 5: Don’t Sell Out to Become Rich. “Focus on making customers happy. If you do, the money will follow.” “Prove it to yourself. [Study the rich and] you will inevitably find that becoming rich was never a motivating force for them.” “Don’t wait until you have a lot of money in hand before you start something new.”
Chapter 6: You Need Less Money Than You Think. “You are going to need substantially less money than you think you get underway if you do things correctly.” “Spending less allows you to experiment more.”
Chapter 7: Building the Team. “Hire before you have to.” “Hire better than you have to.” “Delegate before you have to.”
Chapter 8: How the Most Successful People Turn Obstacles into Assets. “If you faced with a pleasant surprise, simply proceed down the path you were heading…” “If you encounter an unwanted surprise, treat it as a gift…” “Attitude is key. If you assume that everything, even the unexpected, is a gift, it will be.”
Chapter 9: Getting Motivated and Staying Motivated for the Long Haul. “When it comes to obstacles, your attitude and mindset are probably the most important things.” When times get tough, focusing on your end goal can help keep you going.” “Keep things as simple as you can.”
Afterward: Being an Entrepreneur Is Less Scary Than You Think. “Breaking your ideas for something new into extremely small steps diminishes the risk and thus (hopefully) the fear as well. It also gives you early confirmation that you are on to something, or it could reveal that you need to do more work.”
This formula: Act – Learn – Build – Repeat, is memorable and I’m practicing it now for my personal project and the other project with my friend lately. I do feel like I’m an entrepreneur now. Indeed this book is “for the rest of us” and I enjoy reading it!
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.