I just had a long schmooze with Susan Wilson Solovic. Well, actually I didn’t. I read her book, It’s Your Biz, The Complete Guide to Becoming Your Own Boss, and it felt like having a conversation over coffee with a friend.
A really smart friend.
Susan is down to earth, clear, very practical, and very human. So is her book. It’s wisdom is clearly based on experience because she tells quite frankly about the mistakes she made as she built her business. It is also based on an understanding of human nature (look before you leap into a partnership, be very afraid when you hire relatives or friends) and a solid foundation of business principles.
The book starts with the basics: Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur? No sugar-coating. She talks about the hard work and the new skills you’ll have to acquire as well as the really good questions about how much can you afford to lose? How long can you survive without a paycheck? And do you have a Plan B if the business fails?
She’s not being a pessimist; if you take the time to answer these questions honestly, you’re more likely to succeed.
Once you’re thoroughly grounded in the reality of entrepreneurship, she takes you through business planning, finance, checking out the competition, and defining your purpose. Here’s where I really like Susan’s take on business a lot.
She emphasizes integrity, personal values, and valuing the people your business touches: customers, employees, partners, and advisors. Which is another thing I like about Susan’s approach: She’s big on asking other people for their ideas and critiques of yours. She recommends putting together an advisory board — I second that! — of people not directly connected to your business who can point out flaws in your action plan or opportunities you haven’t seen.
Susan doesn’t neglect the basics of marketing and sales, both online and traditional. She walks you through financing options and choices about physical location … pretty much everything you need to think about before quiting your day job. Then she gives you lots of resources to check out, from networking groups to financial assistance. A lot of these are aimed at women entrepreneurs, another thing I like about the book.
If you are dreaming about being your own boss or wondering what it will take to get that widget you invented into production, Susan’s book is a great place to start. No, it isn’t the be-all and end-all. Susan gets you thinking, asking the right questions, and looking for more information.
Oh, and in case your are wondering, Susan is well qualified to lay out entrepreneurship. She is owner and co-founder of ItsYourBiz.com, a video news and information site for entrepreneurs. She has contributed weekly small business reports on ABC’s Money Matters and is a featured blogger on the The Huffington Post, among other small-business sites. She’s written a number of books and served with several groups that support women entrepreneurs.
Susan will be presenting a free webinar for Ventureneer, It’s Your Biz: How to Get From Start-up to $ Million Plus on Thursday, December 1, 12n-1pm ET. You can have a listen to her advice yourself, ask questions, and decide if you want to dive deeper into the entrepreneurial pool.
What’s stopping you from starting your own business?
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