Pamela Slim's Escape from Cubicle Nation was written for the new or thinking-about-it entrepreneur but it has lots of good material for the old and crusty entrepreneur, too. (Nah, I don't mean that; I just mean there is something there for those of us who have been in business for a while and need some inspiration.)
It's been almost 12 years since I "escaped from cubicle nation" so I am delighted to discover that the ideas and guidance offered are useful for the entrepreneur in the middle of a major re-positioning transition, too, or who just needs some practical and intelligent encouragement or guidance.
I am currently reading chapter 11, "Test Often and Fail Fast," a subset of the section on the realities of entrepreneurship. Even though she offers guidance in earlier chapters about how to go about planning and preparing, in which she discusses best practices, in this chapter Slim talks about the perils of waiting for perfection. She offers accounts of successful ventures that were launched after an overnight brainstorming party, highlighting Pwiki as one example. She encourages the "act before you're ready" approach I've been playing with this year. She also reminds us that it's OK if, after some investment of time, effort and money you discover that an idea you thought would take hold does not. In other words, she talks about the realities of entrepreneurship that can cause you to question your skill, capacity and judgement. She reminds you that these things are normal...and therefore, so are you.
Regarding getting ready, Slims reminds us that all the degrees, education and certificates in the world may not prepare you for the work in reality world. There comes a time when the best way to address the needs of the people you want to serve is to get out into the world and hang out with them. Leave your collegiate world behind and mix it up with your ideal clients. They'll tell you what you they need and want.
There's is much more in this 321 page resource book, but this is a blog post after all. I'll close with this quote:
The more you try, test, get beat down, get back up, laugh in the face of massive failure and maintain a spirit of curiosity, the better entrepreneur you will be.
~Pamela Slims, Escape from Cubicle Nation