Street Smarts

Street Smarts

An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs

Portfolio, 2010 more...

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Entrepreneurship experts Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham deliver a practical tool kit for starting and building a business. Don’t look for shortcuts or magic formulas, just knuckle down. Brodsky and Burlingham say hard work, resilience and fortitude matter most. Their advice might seem old school, since they recommend managing your accounting by hand, maintaining some personal distance from your employees and avoiding doing any business with friends – but their overall approach seems to work well. getAbstract recommends this useful guide to business success to anyone who wants to pursue a good business idea and to small business owners.


The Basics

No one can give you a template or magic formula for building a successful business, but you can develop and practice “street smarts” so you avoid common mistakes. Find a business that meets three criteria. First, look for a “100-year-old concept,” an idea that’s been around a while. Resist trying to create a new market or industry in which you have to educate the marketplace. If you succeed, competitors will emerge, but only after you’ve done the hard work and spent a fortune. Second, choose a niche opening. And third, look for an area where current “competitors are out of step” with consumers’ needs or technology gains, an “antiquated” market that hasn’t kept up with the trends. Research your idea. Believe in it. Don’t look for an existing company to buy; start your own.

Create a short, simple business plan describing your niche and how you’ll promote and publicize your business. Include an “income statement” and a “cash flow statement” describing what you expect to collect and spend and when you plan to begin. Conservatively forecast your sales and their cost – that’s your “Cost of Goods Sold” (COGS). Research your industry to learn how...

About the Authors

Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham are columnists for Inc. magazine. Burlingham is also the author of Small Giants, The Great Game of Business and Finish Big.

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