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Chapter 3
Men Are Cheaper Than Guns


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Intellectual Capital And Bootstrapping


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New Learning When Starting A Small Business

Sometimes you will need to learn new things when starting a business. Maybe you will not understand accounting as well as a small business owner should. What Color Is Your Parachute? has some simple, but wonderfully valuable advice for career changers thinking about starting a small business.

I'll summarize that advice here. Go out and talk to people who run businesses of the type you want to start. If you want to start a boat-building company, go talk to some owners of boat-building companies. Ask them what you need to know to successfully run such a business. Write it down. Go talk to other owners of boat-building companies. Write what they tell you down.

Let C= Everything You Need To Know

Let A= Everything You Need To Know Which You Already Know

Let B = C- A

B represents the things you need to know which you don't. You either need to learn them or begin the business with someone else who has these skills. Be careful not to believe you need skills which you don't! Remember, you can hire employees to do things you haven't a clue about. Read my online Chapter, Men Are Cheaper Than Guns from Thinking Like An Entrepreneur. But, be sure you possess the skills needed by the top dog (or cat) of the type of organization you wish to start.

This brings up two key factors. The first is mentors. Mentors are people who know what you are about to go through, because they've been there and done that. The boat builders you talked to have experience from which you can learn. Sometimes you will meet someone with expertise who is very willing to help you. That person can become your mentor.

One of the best things you can do to enhancing the chances of success in your business is having a good mentor. SCORE is one source of mentors. Don't annoy your mentors. Annoyed mentors will no longer mentor.

The second issue is experience. The more experience you have in a field the better before you begin a company in that field. If you really want to start a company in an area in which you have no real-world, operating experience, consider becoming an employee for two years in the industry. Try to learn a variety of jobs.

Lesson (my mentoring help):
Learn accounting. Pick up a copy of Keeping The Books and read it. Doesn't matter what business you're in!


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