Entrepreneurship is more popular than ever: courses are full, policymakers emphasize new ventures, managers yearn to go off on their own. Would-be founders often misplace their energies, however. Believing in a "big money" model of entrepreneurship, they spend a lot of time trying to attract investors instead of using wits and hustle to get their ideas off the ground. A study of 100 of the 1989 Inc. magazine "500" list of the fastest growing U.S. start-ups attests to the value of bootstrapping. In fact, what it takes to start a business often conflicts with what venture capitalists require. Seven principles are basic for successful start-ups: get operational fast; look for quick, break-even, cash-generating projects; offer high-value products or services that can sustain direct personal selling; don't try to hire the crack team; keep growth in check; focus on cash; and cultivate banks early. Subjects covered include development-stage enterprises, entrepreneurial finance, entrepreneurship, and venture capital.More
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