Article by: Perry Romanowski
I learned about the $100 Startup book while listening to some podcast. I don’t recall which one, but the author made the book sound interesting and the book’s promise “Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love and Create a New Future” seemed like something that many people who frequent this blog would find interesting.
Overall, the author, Chris Guillebeau, does a great job of presenting a blueprint that anyone can follow to get started with their own business. Of course, he is talking about a specific type of business that you could start with $100, but the blueprint can be followed to start a cosmetic line (it will just cost more money). The writing is light, easy to understand, and he fills it with anecdotes of real-life entrepreneurs who have managed to start successful businesses following the steps he suggests. On some level, there are too many anecdotes and not enough substance but it makes for a more interesting read.
The book is organized in three parts broken up into 14 chapters. At the end of each chapter is a Key Points section which sums up the chapter in easy bullet points. That is nice for when you want to review the information later.
Part I is about the type of people who are entrepreneurs and has chapters which are supposed to help you decide whether you are that type and what type of business you should run. In the first chapter, you learn the three things needed to start a business:
- 1. A product or service
- 2. People who will pay for it
- 3. A way to get paid
The second chapter talks about what type of product or service you should create. Essentially the message is that you should figure out what people really want and sell that to them. The third chapter delves into your passions and figuring out whether they are suitable for establishing a business around. Some are and some aren’t. The fourth chapter gets into the topic of the easiest type of business to start and this is probably most suited for the advice in this book. It is the publishing business. Essentially, if you have some expertise and can write about it, you can have your own, successful business. Not exactly applicable to a cosmetic line, but pretty good for someone who wants to start a cosmetic formulation consulting business. The fifth and final chapter of part I talks about who your consumers might be. The days of separating people by traditional demographics is over.
Part II is focused on helping you turn your business idea into an actual business. Chapter six talks about the all-important business plan and they show you how to do it in a single page. Chapter seven delves into marketing showing you how to craft your sales message that will make people want to buy your product. Chapter eight takes you through the process of launching your product and chapter nine focuses on advertising & whether it’s worth spending money on. The tenth chapter tells you how to raise money. For a person who wants to start a cosmetic line, this is critically important. Remember unless you have money to get your formula made and produced, you won’t be able to start a cosmetic business. It takes money.
Part III takes you through the final phase of your business…growth. In Chapter eleven you’ll learn how to tweak your business to increase sales. Chapter twelve describes the process of creating a franchise (not necessarily relevant to cosmetic businesses) and chapter thirteen gives advice on how to really make your business grow and be long lasting. The final chapter talks about failure and why you shouldn’t be afraid of it. He sums up all of the advice with the closing thought
Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life
It’s pretty good advice, although it doesn’t always pay the bills.
This is a very good book for someone who is dabbling with the idea of starting their own business and doesn’t know how to go about it. It also is filled with anecdotes so it’s easy and interesting to read. It’s even a little inspiring. If you read it, let me know what you think.