“Startup Leadership” Shows Skills for Business Success


Read the book “Startup Leadership” and discover what leadership skills you will need to lead your business to success.

Startup Leadership

One of the rules of writing a successful book is that the author should be able to write from their own experiences coupled with quality research.

In “Startup Leadership: How Savvy Entrepreneurs Turn Their Ideas Into Successful Enterprises,” Derek Lidow indeed draws on his vast wealth of experience. Lidow is both a successful entrepreneur and a respected lecturer at Princeton University. There he teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership and Creativity, Innovation and Design.

“Startup Leadership” is not — despite its title — a book which takes you through the creation of a business plan to help turn an idea into a successful business.

Nor does it deal with the various business processes such as marketing, budgeting or customer care.

Rather, the object of the book is to outline the leadership skills required to be able to take a business successfully through the four stages of the business cycle.

Furthermore, in the stories he relates, Lidow underlines how entrepreneurs and the leadership they provide are the most crucial elements in the success or failure of a business.

In the preface of “Startup Leadership,” the author highlights estimates that less than 2 percent of all entrepreneurs get their business successfully through all four stages of the business cycle. That’s the point where a business can be considered to be self-sustaining.

The author writes:

“… most entrepreneurs fail not because they were incapable, but rather because they had nobody coaching them on how to prepare and respond to the myriad of challenges they will face.”

The author identifies the five skills that entrepreneurial leaders need to possess and master, namely:

  • Self-awareness
  • Relationship building
  • Motivation
  • Leading change
  • Enterprise basics

The first part of “Startup Leadership” is devoted to discussing these skills. It also looks at how understanding one’s own strengths and weaknesses in these key areas can make it easier to meet the challenges of leadership.

Once identified, weaknesses can be worked on so that they do not become stumbling blocks during the building of a business.

Failure to recognize and rectify these weaknesses, states Lidow, can be a significant factor in a business failing to grow and pass successfully through all four stages of the business cycle.

Having covered the need for these skills, Lidow goes on to describe how it is necessary for an entrepreneurial leader to vary his or her leadership style.

The necessary style is dependent on which stage of the business cycle your company is at, and will vary when working on projects, processes, and culture.

As entrepreneurial leaders do not work alone when taking their businesses from conception to fruition, they are required to build strong relationships, have exemplary motivational skills, and have the ability to lead change. These are discussed in detail.

Armed with the knowledge of the skill set needed to become a successful entrepreneurial leader, readers can then move on to part two of Lidow’s book. In part two of “Startup Leadership,” readers are told how to put these skills to work, particularly when dealing with the five main challenges entrepreneurial leaders will encounter.

These final chapters cover strategy, organizational structures, hiring and firing, forming and leading teams, and how to lead during a time of crisis.

The chapter on strategies is particularly interesting. There the basic types of strategies, key strategic questions an entrepreneur should ask and key strategies to focus on during the different stages of the business cycle are covered in depth.

Also of particular interest is chapter nine, where the author discusses the structure of an organization.

As Lidow states earlier in “Startup Leadership”:

“Many enterprises fail because they cannot, or do not know how to, find and keep great employees. Small and growing enterprises need each and every employee to perform their assigned tasks productively and passionately; every person counts.”

In the appendices and notes concluding “Startup Leadership,” the author kindly provides a summary of the major points covered.


“Startup Leadership” is both a scholarly and practical book which looks at the difference between being an entrepreneur and an entrepreneurial leader. Although it’s a long book, it is well worth taking the time to read and absorb the abundance of valuable advice it provides on leadership skills.

Furthermore, many of the lessons contained therein are applicable to not just entrepreneurial leaders, but to all leaders in general.

About the Author

Derek Lidow (@DerekLidow) is recognized as being both a successful entrepreneur, and an expert on the electronics industry having worked with companies such as IBM, Sony, Philips, and Samsung.

As an entrepreneur, Lidow was the founder and CEO of iSuppli which he went on to sell for $100 million. He now teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership and Creativity, Innovation and Design at Princeton, and also uses his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide guidance to would-be entrepreneurs and newly formed companies.

For more information about the author visit his website.

1 Comment ▼

John Blunden John Blunden is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He is a British writer now living in South Africa where he successfully owned and ran a variety of businesses for several years before deciding to take up his passion for writing.

One Reaction
  1. Your blog post is incredible. it such a wonderful post of startup leadership, thank you for sharing experience and ideas. Very useful, thanks for sharing.