What You Need To Know About Starting a Business

What You Need To Know About Starting a Business

Kevin Duncan's Starting a Business book is part of the ‘What You Need to Know About’ series of knowhow books from Capstone Publishing.


iHubbub Reviewer, Rosalind Brookman reported that on a purely aesthetic basis this book doesn’t look very inspiring; the cover is dull and the contents page could be from any one of the identikit ‘How to’ books that you would find on the shelves of Waterstones.

The chapters have titles like ‘The Idea’; ‘The Business Plan’; ‘The Money Bit’; ‘Sales and Marketing’ etc.…yawn.

Once you have started reading however, you realise that whilst the book is not a ‘enthuse you and get you motivated’ type of manual, it is definitely a useful tool to arm yourself with before you blunder off into the unknown.

It’s a relatively thin volume, so you can see from the outset that it is not going to hold your hand through every minute detail, but what it will do is give you the basics, and then point you at other, reliable sources where you can find out more.

Each chapter is broken down into smaller ideas; Duncan takes you through key aspects of setting out on your own; starting with the most important: is your idea really needed in today’s market?

Helpfully, not only does he look at valid reasons for starting a business (to run your life as you want, you spotted an opportunity or wanted to be your own boss, amongst others) , he also ensures you understand the reasons not to start one (e.g. doing it on a whim, or just being in it for the money)  – which although might sound like he’s trying to kill your enthusiasm is actually a sensible move designed to ensure you’re not just riding on a fragile wave of enthusiasm and not much else.

Once you’ve established that your idea really should be put into practise the book moves on to look at creating a thorough and realistic business plan, which includes a helpful one-page list of the essential questions you need to ask yourself.

This allows you to simplify what can become a complicated process and enables you to see if your company is going to be financially viable. Interestingly, whilst Duncan explains the importance of good planning – of making sure you have looked at every important aspect from all possible angles before you launch into your new scheme – he also makes it plain that many businesses have failed by never leaving that planning stage. He states that ‘doing something is the first step’.

He devotes specific chapters to money and the law, so once you have been through them and followed up the links within them for further reading, you should have a good idea of how to be in total control of your finances, and have a solid knowledge of the legal regulations regarding tax, hiring employees and health and safety.

Alongside Duncan’s common sense advice in each chapter is ‘Who Said It?’ which quotes famous people’s vaguely business-related musings (‘Without promotion something terrible happens: nothing.’ – PT Barnum), a bit of light relief in between the serious stuff. Two features of each chapter that actually are helpful are ‘Who you need to know’ and ‘What you need to read’ which do exactly as they sound.

‘Who you need to know’ draws you to read shortened bios of successful entrepreneurs (the founders of Google, Innocent Drinks, Dyson and Dell as well as inspirational business gurus, leaders and teachers) and learn a little from their way of doing things.

This is the most motivational part of Starting a Business as nearly all of them started from humble beginnings, and succeeded with an idea and a lot of hard work, which leads you to believe that if they can do it, why shouldn’t you be able to?  ‘What you need to read’ is a really useful list of practical and informative websites and books that will expand on the points raised in each chapter and give you a deeper insight into various business practises.

If you are happy in your job, and have never given thought to working for yourself then What You Need To Know About…Starting A Business is unlikely to be the book that changes that.

iHubbub Quote

"If you already have the idea to go it alone however, then Kevin Duncan’s clear and relevant read is just what’s needed to ensure you are equipped with the skills you need to be successful".



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