What do You Want to Know About Entrepreneurship?

I recently assumed a new role as the entrepreneurship editor for a publishing company — Business Expert Press — that has a new business model. We are publishing concise, academically reliable, no-nonsense, applied, mini-books (50-100 pages) on important topics for practicing entrepreneurs.

The idea is that busy entrepreneurs don’t have time to read long books that only touch on a topic that’s important to them. If you need information on how to do market research, for example, you want to read something just on that topic. But if you need information on how to hire employees, you want something focused on that issue.

The books will be available in electronic form for easy download, bundled together in collections for libraries, and available in traditional book form for retail purchase.

Here’s where I need your help. We need to figure out what to publish. So I have a few questions for readers of this blog:

1. What are the entrepreneurship topics you would most want to read a mini-book about?

2. What kind of information is most useful to you — explanation, examples, statistics, case studies, sources of help?

3. How long do you think a book would need to be to give you the information you need?

4. What authors would attract you to read a mini-book on entrepreneurship?

Any and all feedback you have would be helpful. And if you want to write a book for the series, let me know that too. Thanks in advance.


Scott Shane Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of nine books, including Fool's Gold: The Truth Behind Angel Investing in America ; Illusions of Entrepreneurship: and The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By.

26 Reactions
  1. Taxes and Legal Insights for small business owners. Also, books of success stories and what folks have had to do in order to succeed. As far as your other questions, I think everyone’s different. Personally, when I’m ready to learn a topic, I go to Amazon and purchase 4 or 5 books that appear interesting on a given topic and then read them. After this point I know just enough to be dangerous and get after it.

  2. Tips & advice for writing a business plan with links to useful business plan templates.

    Specific ways to finance a small business.

    Advice on franchising a business – when to consider it, how to go about it, etc.

    These are just a few examples of stuff I would read about. I would want to see facts and links for anything relative.

  3. I like to be able to go through information quickly. I tend to search for info I need online, according to the specific topic I need.

    For me personally, I like hearing about personal experiences with being an entrepreneur. When is the right time? How did you do it? Did you get help? I have so many friends that “think” about starting their own businesses. They have good ideas, but they don’t seem to make to make the leap, for whatever reason (money, time, fear, life timing, etc.)

  4. Best premises with your new business venture. How about a book with inspirational quotes by entrepreneurs?

  5. How about making it print on demand? You would actually know how many people are buying so you know how many copies to print.

    One major topic per month?

    Fill the 50-100 pages with 100% meat! Have real world examples where the insights have been tested and effective. People want proof of effectiveness.

    Sounds like a powerful IDEA you have.

    PS: Seth Godin, Mark Cuban & Guy Kawasaki are a few authors that come to mind. They bring lots of street creed.

  6. I’m interested in just about anything but if I had to pick a topic I would say shoestring marketing, networking, word of mouth marketing. I also like books on CD so I can listen to them as I work or maybe even a podcast.

  7. Alexis Martin Neely

    When I was considering leaving the big law firm to start my own business, I craved reading “How I Made the Leap” stories.

    If you like the idea, I’d be happy to write mine for you.

    I could also write about a little known way of structuring your business entity using irrevocable trusts that protects what you build from estate taxes, creditors, divorce and the like. Plus, other legal structuring type issues that start-ups face and should consider before launching.

    Great project!


  8. 1. Raise Capital, Social Media Marketing and NDAs

    2. Real world lessons from the pros

    3. As short as possible. Probably no more than 25-40 pages if you are doing a micro-book.

    4. Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin (as mentioned by David above)

    Food for thought… Why not do audiobooks as well? I always have my iPod with me and prefer to listen than read.. I’m in media production. This wouldn’t be hard or expensive to do. Just my $0.02!

  9. E-commerce
    2/3 of small business in America do no e-commerce…
    Lots of reasons that we’ve found so far.
    But where can you find good solid information on how to actually conduct business over the Internet? Most people believe in just a shopping cart, which is barely scratching the surface.

    Other topics, such as the ones mentioned above are really good as well. As a recent college graduate now into the entrepreneurial world, I realize and have discussed with a number of people how college curriculum in Business doesn’t teach students much in the way of being entrepreneurs. They’re still too busy teaching us how to be employees.

    So the topics such as financial management within a small business, tax tips and a tax plan, the business plan topic is a good idea, but take it a little bit further and maybe discuss how to plan, set and maintain goals for your business to work towards.

    Michael Nethery

  10. I like the “How I made the leap” stories also. Even after being on my own since 2001 I still feel inspired when I learn about others making their way on their own. I can help also if you want a “Making the leap” story.

  11. “What authors would attract you to read a mini-book on entrepreneurship?”

    How about our very own small business expert, Anita Campbell! Some of her work in the Small Business Success Center has been on very popular topics such as the 100 marketing tips. . . very useful information to others.

  12. I think this is a great example of engaging your community and crowdsourcing your editorial calendar! Count me in for a few ideas:

    1. Why and how giving and giving back pays dividends to your business, your soul, and your community.

    2. Identifying and managing priorities for your business — this more than just simple time management, this should be about how to manage efforts, financial resources, scope, and schedules toward the 1 or 2 main priorities of your business.

    3. Alternatives to borrowing: How to raise capital to grow your business

    4. How to use technology to grow your business.

  13. Besides marketing, my clients have always struggled with pricing (of services) and the ole catch 22, having tons of work but no operating cash to hire help or purchase new equipment to keep up with the demand.

    Address these subjects might help others as well.

  14. 1. How to do effective research & where is it best provided.
    2. Tested stories; uncommon persons who make it; unusual industries.
    3. 125 to 150 pages
    4. Established writers along with a certain mix of new ones, Wes Moss, KC Rowe, Craig Williams
    Be sure to show through stories that it is not always the most structured plans that work. Get WAY out of your comfort zone and get after your dream. Use people who won’t tell you what you want to hear, use people who have an interest in your well being, but not in your capital.

  15. I would love to know the PRO’s and CONs as a bootstrapper and what are the PRE, DURING and POST actions that are a must do in bootstrapping.

  16. Susan Payton, The Marketing Eggspert

    All these suggestions hit the nail on the head. I am interested in writing a book on what I call Marketing 2.0: it includes social networking, the new way press releases are being used, SEO, blogs, etc. Please contact me if this is of interest.

  17. Being new in the small business industry and managing it with my wife, I think I have to suggest that you add issues about family business management – a success story of a family business while keeping their family intact.

    Thanks for asking and a congratulations to your new task.

  18. Would you be interested in publishing my little booklet on business startup? It’s been endorsed by Dr. Amar Bhide, Columbia University. Link to free text file on http://www.JohnWren.com

  19. I would love to learn practical steps in pursuing an internet business and of course, sources of help.

    Thanks and good luck on this, Scott. 🙂

  20. The following comment was left by John Carmack on Plaxo under this article:

    “Entrepreneurship really rests upon an idea that is marketable and achievable. I’d be interested in learning how many of the entrepreneurs come up with their ideas.”

  21. Ooh. Coming up with ideas requires a lot of our creativity!. 🙂

  22. Hi Scott. Congratulations for this. I would like to ask if you can release an audio version of your business mini-books? I am an auditory type of a learner. Would love to learn more about proper business financing.

  23. Hi Scott–I’m a member of EO–the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. We’re a 7,000+ member group of entrepreneurs, worldwide. All members have $1M+ in sales, most are in the $3M to $10M range. I love your minibook concept and would be happy to forward your request for suggestiosn to the Boston Chapter (where I’m on the board)–so let me know if you want feedback from our group!

  24. Dear Professor:

    I would be very interested in you providing the businesses you have founded and operated. In addition, please advise how you made payroll and still ran your company given competing use of funds.

    Thank you and I look forward to your response.

  25. 1. Business plans
    2. Leadership models
    3. Entrepreneurial disciplines
    4. Essential financial reports and ratios for leading and responding
    5. I’m intregeged by new organizational structurs and compensation concepts
    6. How to prepare for growth starting day one
    7. Real life stories about start ups

    I believe each book could be very short or resonably long based on the topic. I believe that the important thing is that the infomation is crear, consice and practical. It is essential that the information creates a clear enough vision to produce action. forms, and task lists breaking down a process could be useful. If entrepreneurs find the content useful they will pass it along.

    Podcasts could be another great tool. I recieve more content and information through downloaded information on TED etc.

    I think you have a great idea I look forward to seeing this come together.

  26. john douglas spillane MPA

    I need a business valuation on my 58 sec colour print
    processing businee. We also made the chemicals- cut and packaged the photo paper using non sighted persons- who could do it ifinitely better than you or I could !
    I will supply all the facts ect. I cannot be my own expert in a trial in the Supreme Court.

    I will give you whatever your time is worth or 10% of what I get..

    Blessings on this Easter weekend…