6 Secrets to Startup Success: How to Turn Your Entrepreneurial Passion into a Thriving Business


“An excellent summary of what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. Every person who wants to start the ‘next big thing’ should read 6 Secrets to Startup Success before taking the leap forward.” — Guy Kawasaki, cofounder, Alltop.com, and author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

Over six million Americans start businesses every year. That’s 11 startups a minute launched by passionate dreamers hoping to transform ...

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6 Secrets to Startup Success: How to Turn Your Entrepreneurial Passion into a Thriving Business

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“An excellent summary of what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. Every person who wants to start the ‘next big thing’ should read 6 Secrets to Startup Success before taking the leap forward.” — Guy Kawasaki, cofounder, Alltop.com, and author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

Over six million Americans start businesses every year. That’s 11 startups a minute launched by passionate dreamers hoping to transform their lives for the better.

But a huge gap exists between the skyrocketing levels of desire and what entrepreneurs actually achieve. The harsh reality is that most new businesses fail within a few years of launch. Why do so few startups make it? And what distinguishes those that do succeed? Entrepreneur, consultant, and investor John Bradberry set out to discover the answer and came to a surprising conclusion—that the passion that drives and energizes so many founders is also the very thing that leads many of them astray.

Filled with compelling real-life stories of both success and failure, this groundbreaking book reveals the key principles entrepreneurs must follow to ensure their big idea is on the right track. In 6 Secrets to Startup Success, readers will learn how to:

Convert their passion into economic value with a moneymaking business model
• Improve their readiness to launch and lead a new venture
• Manage funding and cash flows
• Chart a path to breakeven and beyond
• Avoid the pitfalls that often accompany unfettered passion
• Build the stamina needed to persevere over time

Complete with indispensable tools including an assessment to gauge a venture’s strengths and weaknesses, 6 Secrets to Startup Success will help entrepreneurs everywhere turn their dreams into reality.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Millions of Americans start their own businesses each year despite the short and long-term failure rate of entrepreneurial ventures being notoriously (and staggeringly) high. Entrepreneur and consultant Bradbury sets out to discover why so many companies go under, highlighting lack of adequate planning and the entrepreneur's inability to distinguish between the true potential of the venture and their zeal for it, which he calls "The Passion Trap." While Bradbury's project is insightful, it's overly ambitious and attempts to convey too many messages. The real-life illustrations are colorful but repetitive. In addition to chapters arranged around key themes and anecdotes from his client cases, he also introduces various principles, sprinkles lists and questionnaires throughout the chapters, and pre-sents a range of frameworks ("the Basic Cycle of Iteration," "Core Pattern of the Passion Trap"), packing too many concepts into a slim volume. (May)
From the Publisher
"...engaging and informative....an excellent roadmap to not just pursuing your dreams, but also to figuring out if the dream is worth pursuing in the first place." - New York Journal of Books

“A must-read for anyone thinking about starting a business, this book is also a valueable tool for those who have businesses they are trying to keep afloat.” - New Age Retailer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814416068
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 3/20/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 798,492
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

JOHN BRADBERRY has improved the performance of a hundred teams and more than a thousand leaders over two decades as an entrepreneur, consultant, and investor. In 2007, he launched an extended study of the universal factors that drive new-venture success.

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Read an Excerpt

The purpose of this book is to dramatically improve your odds of entrepreneurial success and enjoyment whether you aim to build a thousand-person venture or a solo consulting practice. It springs from my quest to understand what differentiates successful ventures from the large percentage of startups that disappoint.

In 2007, I set aside my work with large corporate clients to undertake a study of entrepreneurial success factors and work exclusively with early-stage companies, in which I took an ownership stake. I had solid experience to draw upon, having launched a successful consulting business, helped a favorite client turn a blank sheet of paper into a $100 million company, and worked to improve the performance of scores of management teams and a thousand executives over two decades. As I closely studied the entrepreneurial process, I came to under- stand that the “secrets” of startup success are not so secret, and not difficult to grasp. The fundamentals that distinguish healthy ventures—principles such as understand your market, know your numbers, get adequate funding, stay flexible, and manage by fact rather than assumption—are well understood by shopkeepers all over the world. But for some reason, many entrepreneurs overlook one or more of these fundamentals, severely undercutting their odds of success.

So I turned to a deeper set of questions: Why do so many entrepreneurs fail to take care of the basics? Why do extremely smart people rush to risk everything on untested business ideas? Why do so many founders underestimate their money needs, adopt pie-in-the- sky sales projections, or miss early signs that things are off track?

Most ventures are driven by passion and belief. Most fail.

Taken together, these statements are hard to reconcile, until we consider the possibility that entrepreneurial passion and startup failure are somehow tightly linked. Could the legendary commitment that drives and energizes so many entrepreneurs be the very thing that leads many of them astray? The more closely I observed the early challenges and choices of would-be business owners, the more clearly I understood how passion plays a powerful and central role in venture success and failure.

Drive, determination, fire, belief, optimism, courage, confidence, commitment, certainty, and faith—these are the forces that animate a new business and fuel and sustain entrepreneurs through the ups and downs of the new venture pathway. Each of these qualities, however, when magnified or misdirected, can lead to unhealthy business behaviors— to rose-colored forecasts, to unwise commitments, to inflexibility in the face of new data, or to a catastrophically bad fit between a founder’s skill set and the needs of the new business.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The good news is that you, as a founder, do not have to choose between passion and reason. You can do what you love and put the full force of your commitment behind your idea, while successfully navigating well-known startup challenges and minimizing inherent risks. This book is designed to help you do just that.

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Table of Contents


Foreword by Pamela Slim v

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction xi

PART I Entrepreneurial Passion: A Double-Edged Sword

Chapter 1: True Believers: Why Founders Fall in Love with Their Ideas 3

The Sparks of Entrepreneurial Ambition

Fanning the Flames of Commitment

If You Build It, Will They Come?

Chapter 2: The Passion Trap: How Attachment to Your Idea Can Sabotage Your Startup 23

What Is the Passion Trap?

The Damage Done: Six Negative Impacts of Entrepreneurial Passion

The Core Pattern: How the Passion Trap Works

Icarus Qualities: Who Is Most Vulnerable to the Passion Trap?

Early Warning Signs: Are You in Danger of Being Trapped?

Moving Forward: Six Principles for Making the Most of Entrepreneurial Passion

PART II Your Foundation: Six Principles for Launching a Can’t-Miss Startup

Chapter 3: Founder Readiness: How to Prepare for the Entrepreneurial Journey 51

The Fundamentals of Founder Readiness

Purifying Your Entrepreneurial Passion

Chapter 4: The Pull of the Market: Attach to Your Customer, Not to Your Idea 81

Developing a Strong Market Orientation

Antidote to the Passion Trap: Give Your Idea a Market Scrub

Chapter 5: Your Math Story: Charting a Path to Breakeven and Beyond 103

Planning Is Clear Thinking

Constructing a Compelling Math Story

Securing the Right Funding

Chapter 6: Startup Agility: Executing with Focused Flexibility 125

The Paradox of Strong Execution

The New Venture Learning Curve

Chapter 7: Integrity of Communication: Your Secret Startup Weapon 149

No One Is Immune to Reality Distortion

Integrity of Communication: The Basics

Four Personal Tools for Bursting the Feel-Good Bubble

Chapter 8: Staying Power: Give Your Venture Time to Take Flight 169

Venture-Level Strategies: Strengthening and Lengthening Your Runway

Founder-Level Strategies: Performing and Persevering over Time

Appendix A: Startup Readiness Tool 191

Appendix B: Resources and Readings 207

Notes 215

Index 227

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 18, 2011

    A Well-Researched "How to Manual" for Entrepreneurs

    This book is outstanding. The nuts-and-bolts information on entrepreneurship is absolutely invaluable.

    As a beginning entrepreneur's who's made the "if you build it they will come" mistake and wondered why no one showed up, I am really grateful to have found this book and am now using it as a roadmap. (Darn it! If only I had it 5 years ago. . .)

    In my humble opinion, I think it's about 1000 times more helpful than most of the books on entrepreneurship on the market.

    Many other "entrepreurship" books on the market are motivational drivel. These books get you inspired and ready to walk headfirst off a cliff because they neglect to tell you about all the things you need to know to actually create a business!!! (Perhaps we can partially thank the Motivational Media for the 90% failure rate of small business.)

    This is really different. Chock full of great information. It's a clear roadmap and has tons of great resources as well in the appendices.

    A huge thank you to the author. This will save a ton of entrepreneurs (and investors who invest in budding entrepreneurs) a lot of money, time, and heartache!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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