Wow! That’s what I thought as I flipped through the pages of The Tech Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide: How to Bootstrap Your Startup, Lead Through Tough Times, And Cash In for Success.
Some books on startups, like their founders, are heavy on rah-rah and emotion and light on details. Nothing wrong with that. There’s a huge audience and a number of successful startups. I worked for two, becoming the details-oriented CEO for one.
Some books on startups, like their founders, are big on case-studies and stories.
And others are extensions of productivity treatises in the style of How to Get Things Done. That’s cool. An entrepreneur’s life is nothing if it’s not about getting things done, right?
But no book, I’ve read recently, had combined all these areas and more into a single, efficient and well-written Survival Guide. And on top of that the author, Bernd Schoner PhD and CoFounder of ThingMagic shows the entrepreneur how to Cash In, too.
Rare, ridiculously rare, is the entrepreneur whose expertise encompasses all of these parts and facets. That’s the downfall of so many, one of these. But with Bernd’s book an entrepreneur can raise the stakes and the percentages that they will avoid these common potholes along their journey.
He organized the book into Parts and chapters, starting from The Entrepreneurial Dream - Part 1, Bootstrapping: Venture Creation Out of Thin Air through Startup Assets and What to Pack in Your Bag through Cofounders (Key!) to Equity Funding: A Double-Edge Sword in Part II to finally Part III: Exit Strategy. As that’s the standard journey for an entrepreneur, it’s easy to find the section you need or want to read.
As I always do when I read a business book, I scan the table of contents. If they’re simple and clear, pointing me from the book’s start to its conclusion, then it makes it easy for me to jump to the first page and start reading. Bernd’s organization does just that.
Schoner’s writing is crisp and clear. It has to be in order to cover these areas in one book. That’s a good thing for entrepreneurs whose time is of the greatest essence.
Schoner includes his experience as cofounder of ThinkMagic in such a way that adds credibility not arrogance to his narrative. I found reading those parts helped lower skepticism and enhanced the pleasure of reading his book.
But what I really liked about his book, and why I’ll keep it close at-hand, is the depth and breadth of the details he offers in each section. There’s excellent advice on everything from Copyright, Trade Secrets and Know-How to System Admin and Graphic Design and Inventory Management. There’s detailed discussion of government funding programs such SBIR, Small Business Innovation Research, and the STTR, Small Business Technology Transfer. There’s detailed discussion of employee perks from disability insurance to commuter and train tickets and food. I want to list them all, but I don’t want to bore you and I hate reviews that merely describe the contents of a book.
I just want to impress upon you that you should read this book if:
- an entrepreneur or if you’re considering taking that step;
- if you’re an angel investor or you’re considering being an angel investor, you will better understand the entrepreneur’s journey and discover more resources to help you and your investment reach the best ROI;
- an accountant, a legal professional advising small businesses and startups, you will better understand the challenges your clients may face and the solutions available to them.
- working at a startup, well you know, to better understand the challenges you and your founders face and be a valued employee by offering some of these solutions to your founders;
- working at a Fortune 500 whose policies and routines are written in stone and you're thinking you might like a go at that new startup;
- a fan of well-organized, well-written books.
There's not much else to say after that, is there?