3. READY FOR A GOOD HARD KICK IN THE ASS ?
4. I run a boot camp for entrepreneurs that gets their companies up and running. I can’t tell you how often I hear people say things like: 5. “I have an idea for a new product that’ll make a billion-dollar business.” 6. “I’ve spent ten years working in this business, and I know what customers really want.” 7. “All I need to do now is write a killer business plan and raise a whole lot of money fast.” 8. “My company will go public in a couple of years.”
9. When entrepreneurs talk like this, I want to give them a swift kick in the pants. Why? Because these notions are BS. They have nothing to do with what it really takes to start a successful company. They’re myths. They’re illusions. And in this book, I’ll tear them down. If you subscribe to them, I’ll rearrange your thinking. In the process, I’ll prepare you for the winner-take-all firefights of the marketplace. 10. I’ve been involved with new businesses for all of my working life, 11. READY FOR A GOOD HARD KICK IN THE ASS?
13. and I’m incredulous that the entrepreneurial path has been so polluted. Who believes all this junk? Believe me, it’s not just the techno-hip I-wanna-retire-by-thirty crowd. I hear experienced corporate executives say things like, “The Internet represents a $50 billion market, and we will capture one-half of one percent of that.” People who’ve spent decades building sophisticated technology will say, “All I need for marketing is some advertising.” Or consider this, from a Fortune 500 stalwart spinning out a new business unit: “We have no competition.” What I say is “Dream on!”
All of a sudden, a lot of startups are looking like armadillos on a country road in Texas. Spawned by the feeding frenzy of the late 1990s, many of these companies went public well before they should have. Even the ones that never IPO’ed hired hundreds of employees, sat them in ergonomically correct desk chairs, and spent money like screaming banshees before they hit the wall with no skid marks. First, it was the business-to-consumer startups that bombed—especially those whose revenues (what revenues?) relied solely on website advertising, community, or referral fees. Then, like dominoes, many of the business-to-business exchanges—startups linking companies up to do business over the Internet—began to collapse. Plenty of other categories started teetering as well. Who founded all these companies, anyway? A bunch of bozos? No. Mostly they were intelligent, technically astute people who intended to build great businesses and make everybody rich. Problem was, they used a process that was fundamentally broken. They didn’t start by defining their market and determining how best to serve that market. Instead, they got their hands on all-too-readily-available wads of capital, built their products, then tried to figure out how to reach the market. They used what I call the “ready, fire, aim” approach to business. They blew through huge stockpiles of money—unbelievably quickly—without stopping to think how their resources could be used to build value. Profitability never crossed their minds. The result? Their companies (not to mention shareholders) have been taking it right between the eyes. If you’ve picked up this book, you might be thinking of starting a business yourself. Or maybe you’re building a new division in an established company. Perhaps you want to reengineer your existing business to take advantage of the Internet or some other new technology. Or you might just want to learn about what really works for businesses in these confusing, hype-ridden, fast-changing economic times. Whatever brings you to these pages, I bet you’re smart. You’re also pretty sophisticated, am I right? All the same, I’d wager you have some fairly goofy ideas about starting a business. Go back to the start of this introduction. Take a look at some of the stuff I’ve heard so many people...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document