Thursday, December 5, 2013

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.  
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