If you’re starting on your entrepreneurial journey, here’s one book you must definitely consider: Elizabeth Edwards’ Startup: The Complete Handbook for Launching a Company for Less is an excellent resource and step-by-step guide for the aspiring and budding entrepreneur.
The problem with most books that cover entrepreneurship is that they tend to either get extremely preachy (how you must have passion etc), overly delve into the author’s own personal experiences which you’re never ever likely to go through), or just comprise of confusing how-to templates (that can be meaningless, or are pointless exercises).
Startup: The Complete Handbook is nothing like that. Edwards offers the simplest, most practical advice you’ll ever need when starting out – how to make sure you have your finances in order before you quit your job and start out, for example, or advising the use of technology like Skype and Google Voice to lower communication costs, signing up on Mint.com to track your spending, to using Froogle.com (now known as Google Product Search) to find the cheapest deals on the products need. It’s comprehensive too – she’ll take you on your startup journey step-by-step, from assessing the business feasibility of your idea to pricing your product, and from identifying possible sources of financing to controlling business costs. Follow her advice religiously, and you’re likely to find yourself saving a lot of money when starting out.
And while many other startup books seems focused towards the budding technology entrepreneurs (especially those who plan to raise venture or angel capital), the advice within this book is suitable even for freelancers such as designers or artists, as well as small business owners in brick-and-mortar businesses. Yes, it’s that useful.
Although it’s hefty at almost 400 pages, I found it quite a pleasure to read. Edwards’ prose and writing style is smooth and succinct, it doesn’t preach, and honestly, Startup: The Complete Handbook is one of the better written books on this topic I’ve read in a while.
In case you’re wondering about her credentials, Elizabeth Edwards is a venture capital investor and the CEO of Metro Innovation, a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship. She also serves on the board of the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association and teaches at Xavier University.