Contrary to popular belief, most entrepreneurs don't like risk. While they are not afraid to take chances, the most successful entrepreneurs do what they can to anticipate, minimize, and offset risk at every opportunity, insists Bob Reiss, who in his own flourishing entrepreneurial career has managed to turn risk reduction into a science. Now this successful self-starter, whose exploits have been featured in The Wall Street Journal and have become case studies for Harvard Business School classes, shares the lessons of a lifetime. By following his own prescription for managing risk, and using real-life success stories from experienced entrepreneurs, Reiss covers every obstacle the entrepreneur is likely to encounter. Where do ideas come from and how do you get started? Where can you find money and expert advice? How do you hire the best people and build credibility? How do you get orders and reorders? How do you develop and introduce successful products? Should you go public? Through every step in the process, Reiss emphasizes how risk can be anticipated, managed, and significantly reduced. Full of practical suggestions and insights, this easy-to-read book is an indispensable guide for anyone thinking about starting a business and particularly for those would-be entrepreneurs without experience or much capital. It is equally valuable to entrepreneurs looking for ways to make their businesses more successful.
Reading Group Guide
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It is said that for large corporations to effectively compete in the future, they must find a way to establish an entrepreneurial environment in their company. In Chapter 1 (pg. 11) a set of 10 attributes and 4 skills are set forth as characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. Do you agree with these? Can you think of others? Are these attributes and skills innate, or can they be acquired?
Can you think of concrete action-oriented ideas for a person to employ to build trust? Do you agree with the 35 that are put forth on pages 23 and 24 and can you add to this list?
How important do you think creativity is to your company's future? What can you do and avoid doing to maximize creativity in your company, division, and department? (pages 25-33)
Should you be taking more risks? How can you minimize, reduce, share, stage, or avoid risks while still moving forward? (Chapter 3)
What criteria do you employ in pricing your products or services? What are the critical points on the pricing check list (pages 159-161) and what new ones can you add? What people are involved in pricing?
Do your company and employees support the sales function adequately? Are the sales people fully understood, trained, rewarded, and appreciated? Do you understand why your customers buy? (Chapter 8)
What is your personal definition of success? Is personal and business success separate? Should they be? (Chapter 10)
What is the definition of entrepreneurship? How does it differ from other people in your group? How does it align with the definition put forth on page 6?
Howard H. Stevenson Serafim-Rock Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School I believe we should teach Bob's approach to financial analysis at the Harvard Business School. For the founder and grower of a business, Bob's chapter on numeracy alone is worth the price of the book.
Arthur Rock founding investor in Intel and Apple If you want to be an entrepreneur and can't go to the Harvard Business School, then Low Risk, High Reward is the next best thing...a must-read.
Jim McCann Founder and CEO, 1-800-Flowers.com My advice to a budding entrepreneur would be: first, don't ever stop learning, and second, read Low Risk, High Reward.
Lowell "Bud" Paxson Founder, Home Shopping Network & PAX TV Must reading for anyone who aspires to be an entrepreneur.
Murray B. Low, Ph.D. Director, Columbia Entrepreneurship Program, Columbia Business School A first-in-class book for anyone starting or running their own company. Reiss's philosophy is both practical and principled. For years he has been sharing his insights with my MBA students to rave reviews. Now a wider audience can access his entrepreneurial knowledge. Required reading!
Amy Love Founder and CEO, Real Sports magazine Valuable insight into the practical actions required to build a successful enterprise. With each chapter, you will find information that you can apply immediately to your venture.
Jerry Shafir Founder and CEO, Kettle Cuisine The book's strength lies in its real-life how-to approach to problems, and it provides instructive insight into what it is really like being in your own business on a day-to-day basis...important lessons for entrepreneurs at all stages of the business's life cycle, but those just starting out or contemplating it will find the book invaluable.
Mike Hsieh President, LF International Inc. Reiss uses excellent examples to illustrate his principles and provides many pearls of wisdom based on his wealth of personal experiences. I intend to buy a copy for every one of the entrepreneurs with whom we have made a venture investment.