May 2, 2007

News & Opinion: Mommy Millionaire Rocks

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 5:06 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Mommy Millionaire: How I Turned My Kitchen Table Idea Into A Million Dollars and How You Can Too! by Kim Lavine is one of the best startup books of the year. The problem that Lavine deals with wonderfully is the eternal challenge facing all startup books: how do you breathe new life into material, which, for 90 percent of your audience, is fundamentally a commodity? That is to say, most individuals who are new to business would do well sticking to just a very few key principles: husband cash, mitigate risk through small experiments, learn and grow through doing, stick to what you know, find or create a solid place in the market, and never take on the wrong investors/employees/partners/customers.
And yet many books for entrepreneurs defeat their own purpose, as it were, by aiming too high with their message. These startup books suffer a disconnect between content and audience. They might offer sophisticated ideas or new theories about the process, which, frankly, appeal to many of us who are passionate about entrepreneurship and have gone beyond the startup learning curve. Yet I think that far too many startup guides discuss heroic ventures, those high-risk, VC-seeking, change-the-world, select few that draw disproportionate press and attention. They cater to the American Idol entrepreneurs seeking big approval, a big platform, and a winner-take-all reward. Fact is, for every big-name flavor-of-the-week, there will always be a thousand times as many small, humble and authentic bootstrapped ventures lead by passionate folks just figuring out what to do next in the profitable service of their customers.
Which brings me to Lavine’s great offering. Starting a company will always be such a challenging and in fact mysterious process to newcomers that there's always going to be a need for smart books that help make sense of the process, while giving practical advice at the same time. How can anyone make the core wisdom of entrepreneurship new? By weaving smart lessons learned from experience within a personal narrative of launching a successful business.
Mommy Millionaire deftly shifts from Lavine’s story of building a business around an “aha