Lessons From the Edge: Survival Skills for Starting and Growing a Company

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Entrepreneurs often struggle with many aspects of business: planning and financing company growth, creating a company vision, recruiting, leading, and managing people, as well as personal costs. In Lessons from the Edge, more than 50 business owners and entrepreneurs offer a wealth of real-life stories—in their own words—that provide rare insights about keeping a company healthy and growing.
Here is a unique collection of first-person accounts by entrepreneurs who describe their mistakes in business and the lessons they have learned as a result. The stories cover a wide range of experiences from the trials and tribulations of partnerships, to the loss of key customers, theft, finding and retaining employees, and the personal cost of living on the edge. The authors have drawn on interviews with more than 50 entrepreneurs, all of whom are under 45 years of age and are founders or presidents of companies with revenues over $1 million and growing rapidly. They volunteered to share their stories, describing why they lost or almost lost their companies, what they did wrong, and the lessons they have learned. Their narratives are full of mistakes, failure, courage, moments of realization, and timely moves that saved the day. Every company owner will find these accounts insightful, compelling, and occasionally gut wrenching, especially because most face similar challenges and live with the reality that they too could fall off the edge.
This instructive and inspiring book brims with lessons for all business owners about courage, persistence, and survival. Lessons from the Edge is an essential read for both established and prospective entrepreneurs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Successes inspire us, but we learn and grow from failure. Lessons From the Edge is a wonderful opportunity to walk in the shoes of entrepreneurs who learned from their mistakes so they could help us avoid them!"—Kathleen Allen, Entrepreneur, and Director, USC Technology Commercialization Alliance

"As an entrepreneur, at times I thought I was reading about myself. At other times, I learned something new and what not to do. And in the end it reinvigorates me about entrepreneurship the risks, rewards and ability to come back. A must read!"—Keith Alper, Founder & CEO, Creative Producers Group and Companies, and Past Intl President, YEO International

"No one said it would be easy. Matthews, Dennis, and Economy share the lessons learned through difficult experience so that other entrepreneurs can avoid disaster or survive it."—Rob Johnston, President, Leader to Leader Institute

"This book captures the spirit, vision, and tenacity of the entrepreneur. Lessons worth noting and using!"—Paul and Sarah Edwards, authors of the best-selling Working From Home

"Lessons from the Edge, told by real entrepreneurs who have faced disaster, provides powerful insights for navigating the edges and increasing the probability of success."—Mark P. Rice, Murata Dean, F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business, Babson College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195168259
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Lexile: 1050L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jana Matthews, an international expert on company growth, founded Boulder Quantum Ventures to help CEOs, entrepreneurs, and their top teams unlock their growth potential. She frequently works with the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, Babson College, the Kauffman Center and the Edward Lowe Foundation. She is the co-author of Leading at the Speed of Growth, Building the Awesome Organization, and five other books. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Jeff Dennis is a life-long entrepreneur. As the co-founder of Flagship Capital Partners, he has been involved in start-ups, acquisitions and financings for a variety of businesses. His current entrepreneurial project is Secutor Capital Management Corporation. Through his association with YEO and the Kauffman Center, he has created a series of "Lessons from the Edge" seminars. He lives in Toronto.
Peter Economy is Associate Editor of Leader to Leader magazine and co-author of Leadership Ensemble: Lessons in Collaborative Management from the World's Only Conductorless Orchestra and the best-selling Managing For Dummies among others. He lives in La Jolla, California.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Leadership
The Price of Distraction 22
Right Moves, Wrong People 26
Stealing the Company Blind 30
You Gotta Believe 35
Riding the Roller Coaster 39
Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later 44
Back To Where It All Began 49
Losing a Partner 55
Inheriting Problems 60
Building a Business or Building a Company 63
Wrap-up 67
Top Ten Lessons in Leadership 70
2 People
Brewing up a Perfect Business 79
Aiming for the Fairway 83
When Disaster Strikes 87
Always Behind the Curve 92
No Systems, No Results 95
Picking the Wrong Guy ... Again 100
Wrap-up 106
Top Ten Lessons in People 108
3 Partnerships
Starting with a Bang, Ending with a Whimper 119
Get it in Writing 124
A Matter of Interpretation 127
Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place 130
Getting Conned 134
Always Knows Where the Exits Are 137
Selling Yourself Short 141
Wrap-up 144
Top Ten Lessons in Partnerships 146
4 Money
Surviving the Dot-Com Explosion 159
When Good Money Chases Bad 163
Making the Right Moves 167
Diversify Your Investors 171
Putting Your Eggs in One Basket 175
On the Outside Looking In 178
Swimming Against the Current 183
He Offered to Loan Me My Money 187
Caught in the Act 193
Getting Thrown a Curve Ball 199
Feeling the Burn 204
Wrap-up 209
Top Ten Lessons in Money 212
5 Personal Issues
Losing Your Company, Losing Everything 220
The Young and the Restless 225
The Reluctant Entrepreneur 229
An Inside Job 233
Learning to Shift Gears 237
Merging Without Looking Both Ways 241
Out of the Ashes 245
Wrap-up 250
Top Ten Lessons in Personal Issues 251
Conclusion 253
Index 259
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