If you report to work each morning only to return home devoid of any true satisfaction, you can take solace in the fact that there are options. Specifically, you can make a calculated decision to build your own business and, if the task seems like a daunting one, spending a few hours reading Bruce Judson’s Go It Alone! The Secret to Building a Successful Business on Your Own is great way to initiate the process.
While books on going solo crowd bookstore shelves, Judson’s book stands apart. On the most basic level, the book reveals why business fails, how to avoid the most common pitfalls and why, in today’s marketplace, it makes sense “to go it alone.” This guide is particularly useful because it provides an overview of the entire process---from selecting your business (great ideas are everywhere), to overcoming psychological roadblocks (take small steps and make a commitment to find your way), to the creation of financial and personal circumstances to enhance your likelihood of success.
As a starting point, Judson debunks many of the most commonly held myths related to solo entrepreneurs. For example he explains that, contrary to popular belief, most successful entrepreneurs do not have unlimited access to cash and are not prone to taking significant risks. Instead, they go to great lengths to plan their financial expenditures, investigate potential risks and incorporate ways to minimizing those dangers into their business plans. As part of this risk aversion, the most successful business owners keep their day jobs while developing their businesses. This decision not only provides a continued income stream, but it also prevents the wasting of time (and energy) pondering how to pay one’s bills and enable the entrepreneurs to focus on the big picture and long-term goal of building a profitable business.
In terns of actually developing a plan, Judson points out that, despite one’s inclination to develop an intricate and all-encompassing idea, simplicity always wins. Specifically, he ascribes to the elevator test, requiring you to be able to describe how your business will make money in the amount of time it takes for a simple elevator ride.
Judson builds on the idea of simplicity with his basic formula for success which 1) acknowledges limited financial resources; 2) emphasizes the critical importance of extreme outsourcing; and 3) insists that you acquire live customers before you give up your day job. He explores how these three components are intertwined and argues that the failure to focus on any one component will be an obstacle to your success.
In terms of contending with limited financial resources, Judson argues that it is a critical mistake to assume that you should save money regardless of the consequences. Instead, he explains that spending additional money on certain components of your business is actually a more financially sound decision than not spending it at all. Specifically, he offers a great deal of information on the readily available and inexpensive technology on the market and explains why it makes business sense to divert some of your financial resources to take advantaging of these services---despite the fact that you could perform these same functions on your own for “free”. He explains that outsourcing should be incorporated into your business plan from the onset since it will leave you with more time to market your business and recruit new clients which, in turn, will justify the expense and enhance the likelihood of your long-term success.
This book is a great starting point for anyone pondering starting a business on their own. Judson is a voice of reason who not only highlights the inevitable obstacles you will likely face, but offers sound and reasoned advice on how to overcome them. This book does not sugar coat the process but rather outlines the step you should take to increase the chances of sweet rewards.