The difference between success and failure for a business is almost always down to making the right decisions. A wrong choice during the critical growth phase can doom any startup; the right decision, however, propels the fledgling business onto the path of potential success.
In the book “Hits & Misses: New York Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Strategies” by award-winning journalist, columnist and essay writer Tina Traster, such decision-making by some entrepreneurs are put under the microscope. Traster compiles over 60 short but incisive stories – which were originally published in her successful Crains New York Business column – of New York-based entrepreneurs and small business owners from across a variety of industries. The stories (we’re also proud to say we’ve covered two of them, Appitalism and CyberSynchs, before) may be short, but each features a succinct overview of the business as well as a “Hit” section that looks at decisions which had worked for the business, as well as a “Miss” section for those that has gone against it.
It is evident that Traster believes that even though businesses are inherently very different from one another, there are common threads when it comes to decision making in running a business. You’ll read of examples in “Hits & Misses” ranging from a meal delivery service to an audio gear maker, or a barber shop to an online business community, so you can get a wide swathe of how other entrepreneurs view their own decision making processes. Stories are grouped under various sections such as “Web Wunderkinds”, “Foodies”, Match Makers” or “Savvy Strategist”, but the stories within those groupings are only loosely associated and hence largely meaningless. You’re going to be reading them all anyway!
“Hits & Misses” may make quick reading – the stories are short, after all – but you’re still as likely to pick up something useful even as you read about the experience of a business from a totally different industry. What I do enjoy about the book is that it moves as far away from business theory as is possible, so what you’re reading comes from the experience of battle-scarred entrepreneurs who’ve been there and done that. Those lessons of decision-making has come at a price to them – I say we may as well take full advantage of such experience.