Authors: Gina Abudi and Brandon Toropov
Publisher: Alpha (www.idiotsguides.com), 336 pages
Book Review by Paiso Jamakar
Small businesses (with fewer than 500 employees) comprise 99.9 percent of all (27.4 million of the 27.5 million) businesses in the United States, according to the Small Business Administration. These businesses have created 65 percent of net new jobs in the past 17 years.
They employ half of all US employees and create nearly half of the non-farm Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They constitute 44 percent of total US private payroll and hire 43 percent of all high-tech workers, such as scientists, engineers, computer programmers and other such skilled people in this country.
Small businesses also made up more than 97 percent of all US exporters and in Fiscal Year 2008 of the US government and contributed 31 percent to the overall export volume. It is also interesting to note that more than half of all small businesses (52 percent) are home-based.
So with small businesses in the US being nearly all of US businesses, creating two-thirds of new jobs, and being responsible for about half of the country’s total economic output as measured by the GDP, we cannot overemphasize the importance of this business sector in the overall business map of the United States.
So it is in the interest not only of the US economy but for individual business owners themselves that these small companies succeed. Unfortunately government data show that most small businesses fail within their first two years. Why? Because those who started their businesses thought their business failed because they failed. So say the authors. They point out and elaborate on one of the principal causes of the failure of new businesses: lack of knowledge and experience of the business owner.
How can you expect people who have had no experience running a business, to succeed?
In order to succeed as a business, owners need to know everything and make all the right decisions in all aspects of business, the key ones being : accounting, advertising, banking, bookkeeping, customer service, distribution, finance, human resources, product research, development and manufacturing, and most important of all, sales. This is impossible.
To succeed in business, knowledge is important and experience is critical. If a new business has neither or one but not the other, he needs to tap into others’ knowledge and experience, point out the authors. Not only others’ knowledge and experience, but also their insights, innovations, and a vast array of financial, technical and other resources, need to be tapped into. (Among these resources are the four Cs, I might add: credibility, credit, contacts and customers).
These resources are termed “best practices.” In this book, the authors share their own and others’ knowledge, experience, insights, innovations (best practices) to make it easer for you to start, operate and grow your business, so that it can generate growing or at least predictable amounts of revenue and profits over a given period of time.
The authors’ knowledge and experience consist of consulting, project management and writing, among other activities.
Gina Abudi, who has an MBA from the Simmons Graduate School of Management, has been a consultant for various small and large companies. She has written and presented papers on management topics at various conferences. She was chosen as one of the 50 most influential project management executives in America by the Project Management Institute.
Brandon Toropov has more than 20 years experience in content development, sales, management and training. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Along with Difficult People, 60-Second Memos, and The Manager’s Portfolio of Model
This is a large book of 336 pages with an extensive range of topics for the beginning or seasoned business owner. With the purpose of the book being to provide best practices, it starts out with defining what a best practice is, gives you its basics, some benefits (improving business performance, reducing costs, crating customer value, for example) and how to tailor them for your business.
The book goes on to show you how to implement best practices in your business and details the practices important for a startup. It shows you how to “get down to business” develop your strategy, and points in good detail the best practices for your first two years, such as your capital and finance plan, your revenue and profit plan, your product development plan, your technology plan, your marketing plan, your sales plan, your human resource plan, and your disaster recovery plan. It also points out to you different planning styles.
The rest of the book goes into details on the above plans and what and how to use best practices in the different parts of your business. This is a great book and of immense aid to people planning to start their own business as well to those who already have their business in different stages of development. Running a business entails knowledge, experience and insight on a large number of its moving parts.
This book is a must-read if you want to take your idea into a real business, develop it, nurture it, and grow it to a viable one, with increasing sales and net income. It is also absolutely essential even if it already is a running business, but want to make it run more smoothly, provide a better experience to your customers or increase your profits.