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The Art of the Start

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The Art of the Start

The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

The key to a good start-up is not your business plan or your investors – it`s your passion. That`s what makes it an art.

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This is not a manual, but rather a collection of mostly useful tips for people who wish to start businesses, or even, as author Guy Kawasaki claims, other sorts of projects, including nonprofit organizations. Kawasaki may overuse business-babble such as “bootstrapping” or “rainmaking” (in fact, he recommends coming up with a brand name that can enter the language as a verb, such as Google or Xerox) – but his style is good-natured and humorous. The chapters are divided accessibly with subheads, charts, bullet points, “minichapters,” answers to “Frequently Avoided Questions” and reading lists, making it easy to find important points. Many of Kawasaki’s “exercises” are tongue-in-cheek, like, “Go to eBay and search for used Aeron chairs.” He got his start working at Apple Computer, marketing early Macintoshes, and he now runs a venture capital firm, Garage Technology Ventures. He refers to both frequently, and most of the book’s examples come from these venues, not from inside knowledge of others start-ups, even though the author has been involved in several. This isn’t the only book you’ll need to read when you decide to start a business, but getAbstract finds that its iconoclastic pointers are useful and fun, and its sections on pitching, recruiting and branding, in particular, apply to businesses of any size.


The Arts of Entrepreneurship

The 11 entrepreneurial art forms are: "starting, positioning, pitching, writing a business plan, bootstrapping, recruiting, raising capital, partnering, branding, rainmaking and being a mensch."


Starting a business encompasses many activities and attitudes. Although entrepreneurship books tell you to think about how many hours you can work, how much money you need and whether you can handle "rejection after rejection," it's impossible to know these things in advance. If you're at all realistic, you will have many doubts and fears. Ask yourself one pivotal question: "Do I want to make meaning?" - in other words, are you doing this to make life better, easier or more equitable. Craft a "mantra," a three-to-five word "chant" that will inspire you and your team. For example, a mantra for an airline might be, "better than driving." A mantra, designed for internal use, is different from an ad "tagline," like Nike's "Just do it." Nike's mantra is "authentic athletic performance."

Once you articulate the meaning of your enterprise, creating business plans, financial projections or sales messages is procrastination. First...

About the Author

Guy Kawasaki got his start in marketing at Apple Computer and went on to found several high tech businesses. He currently runs the venture capital firm Garage Technology Ventures. He is the author of seven books including Rules for Revolutionaries and How to Drive Your Competition Crazy. He also writes a column for Forbes magazine.

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    C. P. 8 years ago
    It is for me convenient to start top-down as it is also often used for a big picture view in a business plan. However, with a following "bootstrapping", one may be able to change or modify what has been initially put into written form. This summary reminded me to immediately act on that. Thank you.
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    R. E. 10 years ago
    The biggest piece of info I got from the summary was to have a belief and to have a passion for it. Once you have the passion next is to be sure to hire people that will share in that passion. I didn't see any other real tips on starting a business.
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    A. 1 decade ago
    I think the summary is well written. however, it's content is focusing to much on general information than real tips to start a business. I would love to see more of actually how it works.