Friday, September 1, 2017

Book Review: 'The $100 Startup' by Chris Guillebeau

"Better is a little with righteousness,
Than vast revenues without justice." -- Proverbs 16:8 (NKJV)

The book's title is probably what attracted you. That was true for me, as well. While it's possible to start a business for $100 (I started my first one for $12), the bulk of those studied by Chris Guillebeau spent between $100 and $600. The point is to start small, experiment, and stick to low-cost methods. You will probably be surprised by how little the book actually has to say about how to keep investment costs down in other ways. That's because the book is mostly focused on personal services, professional services, and selling information products. These kinds of businesses are more marketing than investment intensive.

Because of his love for travel, the book is also filled with the notion of using the freedom that a business can bring to move around and enjoy a better lifestyle. That, too, is true of entrepreneurship kept in perspective.

The book's great strength is in lots of information about low-cost ways to acquire and make more profits from customers. It's one of the best small business marketing books I've read. I intend to recommend it to my adult education classes.

The book is also helpful in providing a lot of success stories. If you are looking for ways to copy those success stories, you won't find the details here. You'll have to track down the entrepreneurs and ask them your questions directly.

Although the book displays a strong counter-culture flavor, the advice is pretty much traditional business 101, except scaled for a start-up person with limited business experience.

If your weakness in starting a business is marketing, you will find this book valuable.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Donald Mitchell. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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