For entrepreneurs with little or no experience, this basic overview offers a smattering of everything about operating a business.
There’s no shortage of people with entrepreneurial spirit looking to start a business. Maher, who has started several businesses, has written a guide that should be useful to those who’ve never owned or run a commercial operation. He offers a potpourri of information covering the gamut of business operations but only in a cursory way. Each short chapter addresses a specific topic—e.g., “Contracts,” “Intellectual Property,” “Payroll”—which would be an aid for readers in need of a quick overview of a certain area but is less helpful for anyone searching for depth. For example, the “Business Plan & Financing” chapter falls short, as Maher quickly skims over the elements of a business plan, referring instead to other sections of the book rather than describing the business plan in any detail. After all, entire books have been written about business plans. He then provides, in abbreviated form, a rudimentary introduction to financing that focuses on primary sources of cash. While the information is useful as an introduction, it leaves so much unsaid that readers will undoubtedly need to reference other sources for additional details. Most chapters are similarly light on content; for instance, what can be said about “Taxes” in two pages? The structure of the book is problematic as well. Maher chose to organize the content strictly in alphabetical order, and as a result, subjects that should be linked together in an integrated fashion, such as “Branding,” “Marketing,” “Publicity” and “Sales,” are separated. The alphabetical order also pushes “Vision Mission & Value Statements” to the end of the book; logically, this topic might be better addressed at the beginning. Even with these shortcomings, the broad content and concise writing style have some value, especially for those who have limited knowledge of business operations.
Broad in reach and shallow in depth, this primer is more of an expanded index of startup topics.