Tag Archives: Entrepreneurship


StartSuccssflBiz-IncThe go-to source for entrepreneurs, Inc. spotlights celebrated company-builders from all different walks of life who have taken markedly different paths to success. Over more than three decades of interviews, the publication’s editors have observed common patterns and identified the mindset that sets the best entrepreneurs apart from the pack. Drawing on these insights and lessons, Colleen DeBaise’s Start a Successful Business: Expert Advice to Take Your Startup from Idea to Empire (AMACOM February 2017) gives new and aspiring entrepreneurs a valuable edge on creating their own business success story.

Journalists, booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, and media professionals interested in entrepreneurship and business development are invited to request Start a Successful Business: Expert Advice to Take Your Startup from Idea to Empire for reviews.

Let Inc. help launch your dreams.

Makers, doers, and dreamers – for decades they have turned to Inc. for help in getting their businesses off the ground. The publication’s keen advice clarifies the process, while startup stories fuel aspirations and spark action.

Warby Parker shook up the eyewear sector with its innovative, socially conscious business model. Skullcandy tapped into the surfing, skateboarding, and hip-hop scenes-and built a standout audio brand. All along, Inc. was there, capturing triumphs, setbacks, and lessons learned.

Now, Start a Successful Business gathers these important lessons into a single path-charting guide. From brainstorming to crowdfunding to building partnerships, the book walks new and aspiring founders through seven crucial stages:

Come up with a brilliant business idea. Select the best structure and strategy for your startup. Figure out funding. Get the word – and get customers. Dig deep to discover their wants and needs. Become an exceptional leader. Prepare to go global.

Throughout, celebrated entrepreneurs share ideas that worked for them, including where Sarah Blakely got the inspiration for Spanx, how Elon Musk stays insanely productive, why Rent the Runway ditched the business plan, and how a hashtag accelerated Airbnb’s success.

With a fleet of trusted experts by your side, starting a business will be faster, less confusing – and a whole lot more fun.

COLLEEN DEBAISE (East Hampton, NY) is contributing editor at Inc., podcast host at The Story Exchange, founder of Hampton Bee, and author of The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook. She has written for The New York Times, Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, SmartMoney, and other national publications.


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NetGalley is a service for people who read and recommend books, such as book reviewers, journalists, librarians, professors, booksellers, and bloggers.

There are a number of different reading options for this e-galley:

Find all of AMACOM’s e-galleys on NetGalley.

You can review how to get AMACOM’s digital galley request approval on NetGalley HERE.


Cliff Ennico Shares 10 Need-to-Know Facts on the SEC’s New Crowdfunding Regulations


The following is a guest post from Cliff Ennico, author of The Crowdfunding Handbook: Raise Money For Your Small Business or Start-Up with Equity Funding Portals (AMACOM May 2016).


On May 16, 2016, the SEC handed down regulations under the federal JOBS Act that allow small businesses and early stage companies to raise capital on the Internet via “crowdfunding portals,” such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and SeedInvest.

The regulations are over 600 pages long, but here are some key points:

  1. It’s Not Just for Tech Companies.  Any small business can raise money under these rules, including retail, service and other “non-scalable” businesses that haven’t been able to tap into the securities markets until now.
  2. It’s Not Just for “Accredited Investors”.  Anyone can buy securities in a crowdfunded offering, although there are limits on how much they can invest.  If your company has a large following on social media, you can solicit them to view your offering (but see below).
  3. Some Companies Can’t Crowdfund.  Foreign companies (other than Canada), hedge funds and other investment companies, public companies and companies that have run afoul of SEC rules in the past can’t take advantage of the new rules.
  4. You Gotta Use a Portal.  You can’t crowdfund from your website or Facebook page.  You must register with a broker-dealer or “crowdfunding portal” (registered as such with both the SEC and FINRA) and post your offering only there.  Fees will run between 5% and 10% of the offering amount, with (maybe) flat fees for small offerings.
  5. You Gotta Do the Paperwork.  You have to fill out a disclosure document using the SEC’s Form C (available as an “online questionnaire”) on the crowdfunding portal.  You can attach “supplemental materials” such as marketing videos, product demonstrations and the like, but if you put these on the portal they can’t appear anywhere else (for example, on your website or Youtube.com) until the offering is completed.
  6. You Can Only Raise So Much.  You can raise up to $1 million over a rolling 12-month period with crowdfunding.
  7. You Can’t Advertise Outside the Portal.  You can post an “offering notice” on your website directing investors to the portal, and e-mail the “offering notice” to your social media crowd, but that’s it.  You can’t communicate with investors directly, only through the portal.
  8. For Big Cash Raises, You May Need Audited Financials.  If you are raising less than $100,000, your CEO can bless the financials.  Over that, your financials must be “reviewed” by an independent CPA, but if you raise more than $500,000 in two (or more) separate offerings, the second offering must include audited financial statements.
  9. You Can “Double Dip”.  If your crowdfunded offering is acceptable, you can go back for more (up to $1 million), but you will need updated business and financial information, and will probably have to pay a separate fee to the portal.  You will also have to explain why you need the extra money.
  10. You Need to Manage Your “Crowd”.  Consider carefully what it will mean to have dozens, if not hundreds, of investors to keep track of if your crowdfunded offering is successful.  You will need to develop an “investor relations” strategy for keeping your crowd informed, up to date and satisfied with your company’s performance.  It will be much tougher to “pivot” your business plan in a different direction with a crowd watching over your management team’s shoulders.



CLIFF ENNICO is a syndicated columnist and author of The Crowdfunding Handbook: Raise Money For Your Small Business or Start-Up with Equity Funding Portals (AMACOM May 2016). This article is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state.

Random Quotes from New Books this July

A Plant-Based Life: Your Complete Guide to Great Food, Radiant Health, Boundless Energy, and a Better Body by Micaela Cook Karlsen

Jacket cover of A Plant-Based Life

Despite your enthusiasm for dietary improvement, an initial burst of motivation isn’t enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Long-term success occurs by forming new habits, which are behaviors that are thought to originate from an impulsive or nonrational part of people. In this context, impulsive isn’t a bad thing. It simply means you don’t have to stop and think about what you’re doing, or make a conscious choice to eat differently. But while you are integrating these new patterns, and even afterwards, you need to stay plugged into your motivating force. There will be moments when your willpower, you energy, and your commitment may wilt. You’ll need a pick-me-up, and staying in touch with your inner impulses in those moments can spark the flame to get back in the game and keep going. The more contact you have with your reasons for your new behaviors, the easier it will be to take the steps required to make them permanent(page 36).

The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees—and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line by Leigh Stringer

Jacket cover of The Healthy Workplace

“Today, Owens Corning is one of the first companies to pilot Harvard’s Health and Human Performance Index. This index measures employee well-being, productivity, engagement, and work culture and was developed by Harvard’s School of Public Health in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson as a tool to enable most robust corporate sustainability reporting. ‘The initial results of this survey have set a baseline of data for us to measure again every 18 months to two years,’ [Gale] Tedhams explains. ‘Even with the results of this first survey, however, we have learned things about our population that we were not aware of before, like the impact of mental health issues, the lack of sleep some of our employees are getting, and where smoking is more prevalent based on age.’ Especially across countries and regions, but also between the different functions in Owens Corning’s workforce and between employees of different age groups, there are always unique health issues to be addressed. ‘Knowing the specific issues and what part of the employee population is most impacted is the first step to making things better’” (pages 179).

Make Your Own Waves: The Surfer’s Rules for Innovators and Entrepreneurs by Louis Patler


“Jack Viorel, founder of Wrightsville, North Carolina’s Indo Jax Surf School and Indo Jax Surf Charities, introduces underprivileged kids to the joys and lessons of surfing. He says what surfing teaches is deeper–and wider–than any ocean. ‘Even the best surfers wipe out–a lot. Getting good at surfing means a ton of wipeouts. To many of the kids we work with, their lives seem like a wipeout,’ he says. ‘Surfing teaches that wipeouts are just part of the deal. When you learn to wipe our and go back out, that can translate to your own life. You can wipe out in anything you’re doing, but all you have to do is paddle back out'” (page 87).


july 2016 new releases

Want to sample other AMACOM books? Check out our Random Quotes from New Books series.


Louis Patler on Business & Surfing

The following is a guest post from Louis Patler, author of Make Your Own Waves: The Surfer’s Rules for Innovators and Entrepreneurs (AMACOM July 2016).




About 25 years ago I started doing research and writing about innovators and entrepreneurs who had repeatedly been successful. I was interested in how they sustained innovation over time, not just as a one-hit wonder. In the course of this project I stumbled upon an unexpected, common characteristic they shared: they took analogies and metaphors literally. This enabled them to form some odd couplings and creative inventions, ranging from making an industrial solvent into kitty litter to a “talking typewriter” that eventually became a smart phone.

In the world of business a common analogy at that time was matching “cycles”, “sets” and “waves” to economic activity. One day I had an epiphany: why not take that analogy literally and seek out those who are the subject matter experts on waves? I chose two: physicists and surfers! I started talking to both and found conventional wisdom on waves from the physicists, and unconventional wisdom on waves from the surfers. Taken together I gained new insights into the world of work.

In my 1991 book If it ain’t broke…BREAK IT!, amidst dozens of other topics, I wrote a few pages about seven “Surfer’s Rules”, and moved on. I received occasional comments about The Surfer’s Rules and in 1998 I was asked to do a short video feature to explain them further as part of a four-video package of training materials on innovation. To my surprise, the Surfer’s Rules video had quadruple the popularity of the other three. I saw that the Surfer’s Rules struck a chord with a broad audience–but I still didn’t see the depth of their wisdom, and their direct application to entrepreneurship.

In 2015, I contacted my literary agent, John Willig, with an idea about an ambitious, data-driven book that summarized my 25 years of research on serial innovators. I developed a book proposal in which one of the chapters revolved around the Rules. The proposal was sent around to a half dozen publishers and generated some early interest, but one editor, Stephen S. Power, contacted John immediately.

Stephen had an idea: might there actually be a book that could come from The Surfer’s Rules? Stephen was interested in targeting young entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovators and saw something unique and special in the juxtaposition of surfing and business. He contacted John, John asked me what I thought about the idea and after I had a talk with Stephen I decided to give it some thought.

By this point I knew that my real interest in the surfing community had shifted to the small, elite group of athletes who rode Big Waves. Having talked to many of them over several years, I knew that the Big Wave surfers were a breed apart: prepared, focused, patient, creative and courageous. As such, their traits mirrored my research findings of repeatedly successful entrepreneurs and innovators.

So I wrote a new proposal for a totally different book and audience. John looked at the new proposal and liked it. Stephen looked at it and liked it too, not only offering a contract almost immediately but even proposing a title: “Make Your Own Wave.” I knew then that he “got it,” he understood the power of this analogy that linked Big Wave riders and entrepreneurs facing big opportunities. He also understood the depth of insight these elite athletes could offer readers. I signed the contract, added an “s” to the title to reflect the ability to repeatedly succeed, and Make Your Own Waves: The Surfer’s Rule for Innovators and Entrepreneurs was born.

In writing the book, the starring role played by Big Wave surfers led me to immerse myself in that world. The deep dive helped me to evolve and modify the original seven Rules into the ten Surfer’s Rules that form the book. The more I researched the better the analogy fit and I then realized that there was a natural chronology or cycle to the Rules. The first four chapters (Learn to Swim; Get Wet; Decide to Ride, Always Look “Outside”) address the hard work to be done before even trying to ride a wave. The middle three chapters focus on the rides, wipeouts and determination to get up after set backs (Commit.Charge.Shred.; Paddle Back Out; Never Turn Your Back on the Ocean). And the last three chapters examine how important it is to not rest on your laurels, to collaborate and to stay passionate about what you do (Dare BIG!; Never Surf Alone; Stay Stoked!).

Today’s business opportunities—and challenges – are enormous. They roll in at high speed, in sets and intervals that mirror the ocean’s cycles. The size of the opportunity is dictated by trends, technology, market savvy and hard work. With the unconventional wisdom of Big Wave surfers in their toolbox, innovators and entrepreneurs will be better prepared to make their own waves. Where there’s a will, there’s a WAVE.


LOUIS PATLER is the author of Make Your Own Waves: The Surfer’s Rule for Innovators and Entrepreneurs. He is a longtime surfing enthusiast and President of The B.I.T. Group, a strategic consulting and training company whose clients include Sun Microsystems, Safeway, Wells Fargo, BAE Systems, and GAP.  A New York Times bestselling author, two of his previous books were included in Steve Jobs’ recommended reading list.

Katie C. Kelley on Taking Risks to Further Your Career

Katie C. Kelley, author of Career CourageUnhappy in your current career? The first step towards fixing the problem is recognizing that there’s a problem–but the steps after that are all about finding the courage to make a change. In CAREER COURAGE: Discover Your Passion, Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Create the Success You Want (AMACOM March 2016), Katie C. Kelley helps readers clear the obstacles that block them from their ideal career path.

One mental obstacle is an aversion to risk. During her time as a career coach, Kelley discovered that most of the successful entrepreneurs she met had grown up in homes with a parent who had started a business or put an entrepreneurial mindset to work in someone else’s business. These parents, consciously or unconsciously, raised their children with the knowledge that smart risk-taking could make a happy, stable, fruitful life. These children grew up with high RQ.

Kelley presents eight questions to help readers dig into their past and present relationship with risk. Are you holding back from your dream career because you fear taking a leap? Think about it:

1. Did my parents take any major risks in my early life? Did I? How did they turn out? Some people develop a friendly relationship with risk because the gambles they observed or took as youngsters paid off handsomely. Others avoid risk because earlier ones turned out badly.

2. What runs through my mind when someone I care about takes a big risk? Do I fear they will fail? Do I envy them?

3. Which entrepreneurial risk-takers do I admire the most? Can I name friends, family members, colleagues, mentors, or even fictional heroes and heroines whose bold moves inspire me? The more role models you identify, the more likely you will emulate their behavior.

4. What emotions do I feel when I think about taking a big risk myself? Does the thought of risking something valuable scare me, or does it make me tingle with excitement?

5. Can I list my ‘negotiables’ and ‘non-negotiables’? What can I afford to lose? What must I hang onto at all costs? Gambling everything seldom, if ever, makes sense. But neither does betting nothing on your better future.

6. When I think about the risks I have not taken, do I feel any regrets? Do I wonder what might have happened if I had accepted rather than avoided taking a chance on making a major change?

7. Would I take bigger risks if I knew the game was rigged in my favor? Have I always assumed that the game favors the house, and that the odds are always stacked against a successful outcome?

8. Can I identify two great outcomes that might result from taking a greater risk in my life? What rewards would I reap from a successful change in my work or personal life?

Your answers will point you to areas where you can work on raising your RQ and, as a result, approach your work and life with a more entrepreneurial mindset. Notice where you’re holding yourself back–and allow yourself to re-wire your orientation toward risk!

Cover of Career Courage

Adapted from CAREER COURAGE: Discover Your Passion, Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Create the Success You Want by Katie C. Kelley (AMACOM March 2016).

KATIE C. KELLEY is People Development Director for Fuerst Group, parent company of KEEN footwear and Chrome Industries. Her own career pivots include stints as a psychotherapist, a medical salesperson, an ABC Television Contributor, and, most recently, as an executive coach with clients that included Google and Time Inc. She lives in Portland, Oregon.