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Daring Mighty Things—
The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next) New Business.
John S. Wren, MBA+
1st edition June, 1993
Current Draft-2nd Edition
January 3, 2008
These are the first pages of the current text of the 2nd edition my little book on business startup. (Complete book on links to the right and at the bottom of this page.)
The book was first published in 1993 with several printings. Until a few years ago, I sold it through book stores, had lots of positive feedback from readers, never a complaint. A version of this revised edition was serialized and published in the Denver Herald Dispatch Newspaper in 2003.
Amar Bhide, Ph.D., Professor of Entrepreneurship at
has said of the first edition "This is a very useful book for anyone who is starting a new business. I recommend it." Dr. Bhide has recently been called the “new Malcomb Gladwell” because of his recent book, The Venturesome Economy. (http://www.bhide.net/) Columbia University
The title Daring Mighty Things comes from Teddy Roosevelt:
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failures, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
Your feedback and suggestions as I continue the revision process would be appreciated. I'm especially interested in hearing from entrepreneurs who would be willing to share their startup stories in the revised 2nd edition.
My name is John. I'm a recovering MBA.
I say I'm a recovering MBA, because much of what I learned in graduate business school is deadly for entrepreneurs. Especially toxic to the success of a start-up is the big business approach to strategic planning, market research, and financing.
There are many books about how to write a business plan. These thick, complex tomes pontificate at the little guy just getting started; they seem to do more harm than good. And, there are lots of books about how to improve the operations of a business once the first few customers are sold. This little book is different. The focus here is how to get started from zero.
I believe that reading this little book would have saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars and a failed marriage. It is based on: 1) my direct experience working in a family business and as an entrepreneur who has started seven businesses; 2) the experience of hundreds of my consulting clients; and 3) the experience of members of organizations I founded--the IDEA Café, groups for people starting new projects, careers, businesses, or campaigns that I first organized in 1994; and Franklin Circles, peer support groups for entrepreneurs and small business owners that I first organized in 1996. And this experience is confirmed by the research findings of Dr. Amar Bhide www.bhide.net.
This little book has two goals: 1) To help you start your first or next new business, and 2) To encourage established entrepreneurs to stimulate their own creativity by mentoring a new entrepreneur.
All books are flawed. Teachers teach what they most need to know. That's why I suggest a system of filtering what is said in this book through your own mind, possibly with 1) the help of another entrepreneur who serves as your mentor, and 2) a group of others who are starting new businesses in a
Franklin Circle or similar group.
John S. Wren, MBA+
The world needs your new business!
To understand my system for starting your new business, it is necessary to first appreciate the nature of business in a capitalistic, free market economy.
The world will always have government, big-business, and big-labor: government for those things individuals cannot do for themselves and big-business and big-labor because of certain efficiencies of scale. Unfortunately, the large scale of these three forms of bureaucratic operations leads to problems:
1) Efficiency comes at the expense of intelligence and creativity. The large organization has a tendency to get better and better at doing what eventually is the wrong thing.
2) Power corrupts. Governmental corruption is kept in check by our process of representative democracy. Big-business corruption is kept in check to the extent that the free market is allowed to operate. That is why big business hates competition.
The world view of the bureaucrat is necessarily different from that of the entrepreneur. The steps recommended here for starting a new business will not make sense to most bureaucrats.
If you decide to work with a business mentor, it is important that you work with someone who subscribes to the following philosophy of business. This person almost always will be an independent business owner.
Beware of seminars about how to start a new business; the most deadly advice for entrepreneurs comes from bureaucrats, public or private, active or retired.
Yes, the world really does need you to create a new business!
There is always a shortage of entrepreneurs, that's why it pays so well.
This shortage of start-up specialists is caused by two things:
1) The infinite power of the human mind to create new ways to help people; and
2) People's unlimited need for help.
Read today's newspaper. It's easy to see the world needs help. To the entrepreneur, these problems are opportunities in working clothes!
Each human life is a story told by God. The entrepreneur's story is about doing Good Work. Good Work (E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, 1973) has three qualities:
1) Good Work helps customers by providing a necessary and useful product or service at a price they are willing to pay.
2) Good Work provides an adequate income for the entrepreneur and everyone involved in the business.
3) Good Work provides a path for personal growth. Starting a new business is the best form of adult education!
The word entrepreneur comes from a French word which means "to undertake." The entrepreneur is a person who starts or undertakes and assumes the risk for a new business or enterprise. Entrepreneurship has been the vital catalyst to economic growth derived from three technological revolutions over the last five thousand years...