Skip to main content

Book Review: Small Business for Big Thinkers

Small Business for Big Thinkers, Unconventional Strategies to Connect With and Win Big Business, Cynthia Kay, Pompton Plains, New Jersey: Career Press, 2013.  252 pages.

The recent book release, Small Business for Big Thinkers, is a small book that achieves the author’s big aim: to teach the small entrepreneur or self-employed service provider how to pursue contract work from the largest of large companies.  Personally, after thirty plus years of following small business and reading oh so many small business books that are simply rehashes of some other author’s rehashing of an older author’s instant-MBA book, it’s refreshing to read something that offers an original perspective with solid ideas and advice from the real world.   

The story is this.  The author, Ms. Kay, took her education and years of experience in hand and started her own business, with a partner, but working out of her home and as 80% of entrepreneurs do, using self-financed equipment and systems, at least in her company’s early days.  Her goal wasn’t just independence, it was to create a business that comfortably supports the life-style and work-style she wanted with a company not too big, not too small, but just right for her.  This is harder to do than you might think involving as it does having a goal in the beginning and the courage and ability to stay true to that goal by saying no to what might seem a tremendous opportunity.  

Ms. Kay lays out the approach she used and continues to use with good success to make contact with the right people in a large organization, how she develops a professional yet somewhat personal relationship with them, and follows through to turn what seem small, insignificant projects into a long-term contracts and ongoing assignments.  Based on my own ten years’ experience as a free-lancer, I have used many of these same ideas and techniques to find opportunity with large, Fortune 500 companies.  Trust me, her advice is based on what works.

To accomplish her dream, she knew from the start that her company’s success and future lay with businesses much larger than hers’ would ever be or wanted it to be.  With a background as a reporter and producer for a regional television station, she had good industry experience and was used to working with the heads of large organizations.  This gave her a head start over many other small service providers who too often find it intimidating if not downright scary to approach decision-makers in large corporations.  

What I appreciate most about Ms. Kay’s book is that she stays focused on those things she knows from experience, not wandering off into flights of “expertness” about things outside the realm of her book.  She stays grounded in practical experience, offering what is tried and true.  This is a book I comfortably recommend to any small business owner or self-employed professional looking for growth and success with the largest one percent of businesses.  
*  *  *  *  *


Popular posts from this blog

The Facts of the Small Business Survival Rate

Back thirty years ago when I first wrote about small business, a hoary and horrible statistic was bandied about, even by some of the most experienced entrepreneurial pros: "80% of new businesses fail in their first five years." 

This "statistic" has appeared in more places than you can imagine, from the leading small business magazines, books, presentations by employees of SBDCs, the SBA, SCORE, Chambers of Commerce, even professors on the college level - who should know better than to quote un-sourced numbers.  It still shows up in small-business blogs today.

For some years, I searched for a source of that statisitic.  Never found where that number came from, leading me to believe that some self-appointed expert made it up.  To quote a character from the popular television show, M*A*S*H, "Horsepucky." 

Here is the truth about the survival rate of new start up businesses in the U.S. economy from two unimpeachable sources, The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundati…

Earn a Living Shining Shoes. . . Really

Earning a Living as a Bootblack
Can someone make a living shining shoes in today's economy?  At on time there shoe shine boys as they were called were found on street corners across the country, thousands of them.  Many were from poor families and worked to help support themselves and their families.  Today, I found three established shoe shine stands in downtown Seattle, plus two bootblacks, the traditional name of those who shine shoes, working on the streets of Seattle.

Meet George Johnson, age 74 on October 20th, a self-employed operator of a shoe shine stand in downtown Seattle's Rainier Place.  George has been shining shoes for the last sixty years, starting in Arkansas and ending up some thirty years ago at the Washington Athletic club a few blocks from his current location.
"Sixty years," I asked him the day we met.  "You ever think of retiring?"

"Gonna work until I can't do it no more," he replied.  "I don't even think about i…

Illegal Immigrants Start Legal L.L.C.'s, Create Jobs While Awaiting Deportation

The situation is a little like a story from the Twilight Zone.

Illegal immigrants can't get driving licenses, vote, or get benefits, but they are legally able to start Limited Liability Companies often creating jobs for legal U.S. Citizens.  All the while waiting to find out if they are going to be deported because they are, admittedly in most cases, in this country illegally.

It's long established that new immigrants to the U.S. are far more likely to start a business, and in so doing, create jobs often filled by U.S. citizens.  I mean, the sun rises in the East, the sky is blue, and immigrants create jobs - it's that level of certainty.

So why do certain elements in Congress,  allegedly pro-business, pro-growth, and pro-job, scream and yell about immigration as though it's a total drain on the economy?  If anything, immigration has been and will continue to be a boon to our economy, creating both wealth, new jobs and even new industries.

Here's an article from the L…