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There is an epidemic of unhappiness in the American workplace. A full 70 percent of workers in the United States report that they are disengaged from their jobs. When asked, "Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?" only 20 percent of nearly 2 million employees said yes. It is no wonder that 56 percent of all Americans dream of starting their own business. So why don't they do so? Because starting one's own business is seen as difficult, expensive, and risky. In this extraordinary book, successful Go It Alone! entrepreneur Bruce Judson explains that the conventional wisdom about starting your own business is stunningly wrong. Using the leverage of technology -- e-mail, the World Wide Web, and the remarkable array of off-the-shelf business services now available -- it is dramatically easier to start your own business. Magnified by these new services, it is also possible to create, for the first time, a highly focused business. Bruce Judson shows you the practical steps that will allow nearly any individual to create a business, often using job skills that seem to require an entire corporation for support. It is no longer necessary to spend time on the tasks that don't add value. It is now possible to stay small but reap big profits. Go-it-alone businesses allow the individual the freedom to concentrate on their greatest skills. After reading this book, your motto will be "Do What You Do Best, Let Others Do the Rest."
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The era of the go-it-alone entrepreneur has arrived.
Specifically, technology in the form of e-mail, the World Wide Web and a broad array of off-the-shelf and on-demand business services now makes it easier than ever for anyone to start and build a tightly focused business enterprise. When this technology is combined with a sound business idea, any individual can create and grow their own business. Even more impressive, it's possible to stay small but still reap sizable profits because the leverage of technology means the go-it-alone entrepreneur doesn't need to build an entire corporation to sustain the business entity.
“When you're on your own, you know you're capturing the full value of your work. If you work hard, you're the one who reaps the rewards. When you accomplish something, you get the financial rewards and you have the satisfaction of knowing that you're benefiting from your efforts. Over the past few years, changes in the way businesses work and in supporting technology mean there has never been a better time to start your own business.”
Go-it-alone business entrepreneurs are a fundamentally new class of start-ups. They have never before been feasible because the requisite technology infrastructure has not existed until recently. The years ahead look exceptionally bright for individual entrepreneurs.
A go-it-alone business is one set up and operated by a small number of people, generally from one to six. It will have several distinctive and defining characteristics:
1. Go-it-alone businesses are usually started with minimal investment and no external shareholders. The founder of the business retains full ownership and therefore control of the business operations. Starting with minimal investment means the business must focus on generating customers and positive cash flow right from the outset rather than going for an extended period before break-even is reached.
2. Go-it-alone businesses are not another term for free-lancers, free agents or contract workers. Typically, what freelancers earn is determined by what they charge for their hourly or daily rate. Their earning potential is limited by the time available. Go-it-alone business builders, by contrast, set up systems so their enterprise will work even when they are not involved hands-on. They attempt to capture as much of the added value they create as possible.
3. Go-it-alone businesses use leverage and extreme outsourcing. Most often the founder will do what he or she does best and find ways to outsource everything else through the applied use of communications technology. The better the system created, the greater the degree of amplification that occurs.
4. Go-it-alone business entities are very tightly focused. They systematically avoid trying to do any work outside their area of expertise and specialization. This is only possible because go-it-alone entrepreneurs have the mind-set they want to outsource anything and everything that others can provide cost-effectively.
The entire operating paradigm for a go-it-alone business is“relentless repeatability”—developing a highly repeatable formula which will underpin and drive profitable growth. Go-italone entrepreneurs attempt to develop a formula for the generation of marketable products and services with the idea that other people can then be involved in using the formula.
Most go-it-alone entrepreneurs find their best ideas in solutions to common problems they have either developed for themselves or for their friends. For example:
■ Mr. Trademark（www.mrtrademark.com）was started by Joe Stahl when copyright issues arose with the magazine he was publishing. Rather than pay a lawyer, he did his own research and learned about trademark law. He then realized other people were in similar situations, and went into business to provide just such a research service.
■ Speed Anywhere Inc. （www.speedanywhere.com）was started by Bruce Judson as a way to test the ideas he was teaching at college. It rapidly became one of the nation's largest marketers of broadband Internet services. The company actually has only one part-time employee, Bruce Judson himself.
■ Health Plans Today（www.healthplanstoday.com）was also launched by Bruce Judson. Within a month of its launch, this company became one of the top marketers of health insurance services over the Internet. Again, the company has only the one part-time employee, who also doubles as the firm's founder and owner.
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