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RCL Career Resources Business: Small Business and Entrepreneurship

RCL Small Business and Entrepreneurship + Choice Titles

Consultants Wilson and Wauson have written this new handbook, published by the American Management Association, for a broad audience--those who work in corporate communications, marketing, human resources, and sales, as well as technical writers, grant writers, public relations writers, and administrative assistants. But in reality, this hefty guide to business writing can be useful for anyone, in any profession, who has to write any kind of document, from memos and proposals to reports, manuals, and marketing materials. The book is thoughtfully arranged in three distinct sections. Section 1, "The Writing Process," includes tips and guidance on audience analysis, brainstorming, research, interviewing, outlining, drafts, editing, proofreading, and revisions. Section 2, "The Business Writer's Alphabetical Reference," features an extensive list of terms associated mainly with grammar, usage, and style, such as "unbiased language" and "synecdoche," which are defined and enhanced with examples and tables (e.g., for "Latin abbreviations," "action verbs" and "common clichés") and cross-referencing. Section 3, "Sample Business Documents," contains professional-looking samples of a variety of documents. Easy to use and easy to read, this handbook makes an excellent quick reference source for any collection and any person who needs to create businesslike documents. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.

--S. Markgren, Purchase College, SUNY

Kraten (accounting, Suffolk Univ.) provides a practical guide to the functional elements that constitute a business plan and explains how those elements fit together. This useful work views the business plan components through the lens of "management accounting" and addresses six topical elements: the business model, volume estimation, cost estimation, revenue estimation, investment value, and risk management. Examples of relevant illustrative applications accompany each section. Kraten presents an antidote to the abundant business plan templates readily available on the Web, which are often fill-in-the-blanks exercises that discourage the comprehensive thought and analysis required to produce a solid business plan. Such templates often overemphasize concept development and marketing and give scant attention to the nuts and bolts that underpin all good business plans. Kraten's text redresses that balance in clear, lucid prose and shows the way to write and develop superior business plans. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Business students at all levels; faculty; practitioners; general readers.

--S. A. Schulman, CUNY Kingsborough Community College

Written by a New Jersey state legislator who is also a marketing professor, this unique how-to guide should be tremendously useful to any small business owner who wants to influence state or local government officials but cannot afford to engage professional lobbyists. Handlin (Monmouth Univ.) lays out a three-part approach to lobbying: target, tools, and tactics. Targeting involves making certain that the businessperson knows what responsibilities fall to state or local government and identifying the person best positioned to help. Tools describes a variety of communication approaches ranging from e-mail and petitions to testimony at public meetings. Tactics focuses on crafting a message for a particular target, either directly or through the media. The three-pronged approach comes to life through numerous examples and case studies, including an entire chapter on "sample challenges"; lists of dos and don'ts; useful explanations of how positive or negative "framing" can affect the target's response; and an appendix containing tip sheets for holding a press conference or working a public meeting, and models for press releases, Op-Ed pieces, and petitions. A section on lobbying ethics clarifies the sometimes hard-to-distinguish lines between acceptable and potentially illegal influence attempts. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Collections serving practitioners or potential entrepreneurs.

--M. S. Myers, Carnegie Mellon University

The Millennials—those born from 1982 to 2000 and also known as Generation Y—are coming, and they will change the workplace.  This is the argument Pollak, a corporate consultant and recognized expert on Millennial generation career and workplace issues, raises.  Drawing on original research, her own experience, and interviews with Gen Y managers and entrepreneurs around the world, Pollak has written a book about Millennials for Millennials.  For older readers, the book's first three chapters provide valuable insights into how Millennials operate differently in the workplace; the remaining five chapters provide Gen Y readers advice and tips on improving leadership skills and honing a management style.  For example, there is a helpful quiz for discerning a person’s time management style.  These later chapters are also valuable to older readers trying to understand how best to manage younger workers.  The writing is crisp, but the style at times appears to be a series of blog posts strung together.  The book is reminiscent of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In (CH, Dec'13, 51-2183), although Pollack focuses on youth in general, not just on women as Sandberg does. Summing Up: Highly recommended, All readership levels.

--J. J. Janney, University of Dayton

Outstanding Academic Title

While Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century (CH, Aug'14, 51-6864) has gained immense international notice, Pinto's book deserves equal attention. This is not another ponderous tome by a dabbling academic outsider, but a broad, spirited, articulate, and incredibly well-informed assessment of both global economic performance over the past two decades and prospects for the future. Pinto, CEO of Stanhope Capital, argues that Western economies are "sleepwalking toward the edge of a cliff" and may be facing an existential crisis due to competition from the East because they have abandoned traditional structural supports for entrepreneurship, while their rivals have developed robust "magic triangles" linking entrepreneurs, markets, and the state. The author is especially critical of publicly traded corporations run by myopic managers who are not incentivized to have their business's long-term interests at heart. He is particularly wary of China's "Statentrepreneurial" capitalism and laudatory about India's family-group enterprises--although he sees weaknesses in all the BRICs vying for international supremacy. Pinto's penchant for analogies (many, but not all, insightful), frequent hyperbole, and occasional missteps may distract some, but his proposals for helping the West relearn capitalism are worth a close look. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.

--R. M. Whaples, Wake Forest University

Burtles, an expert on business continuity management, draws on his extensive global consulting experience with commercial facilities of every size, profit as well as not-for-profit, in writing this unique book on comprehensive emergency evacuation planning in the workplace. He provides an innovative approach to the strategic design and implementation of such plans, emphasizing the Business Continuity Institute's 6-Phase Business Continuity Lifecycle Model. Burtles integrates continuity management concepts and evacuation planning into a step-by-step program to assist organizations in creating effective practices and procedures to respond to emergency evacuation needs. Chapter 1, "The Essentials of Emergency Evacuation Planning," introduces the topic. The five following chapters address specific aspects of the planning and implementation process. Chapters are readable and formatted like those of a tax guide or law book, with excellent use of checklists, short summaries, case studies, vignettes, and discussion questions. Supplemental resources are available on the publisher's website. Two appendixes, "An Auditing Approach to EEP" and "Standards and Regulations," and a glossary complete the book. Although oriented toward professional audiences, this work is an important guide and reference for anyone interested in workplace safety or emergency evacuation planning. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate and two-year program students; professionals.

--S. R. Kahn, emeritus, University of Cincinnati

Outstanding Academic Title

This outstanding, clearly written, psychology-oriented book is based on careful, extensive, evidence-based research rather than on the personal views of entrepreneurs and includes many excellent examples, tables, and figures to explain the ideas presented. In the book's first part, "The Foundations of Entrepreneurship," Baron (Oklahoma State Univ.) explains the personal characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and why they are different from other people. He discusses the importance of such qualities as conscientiousness, creativity, curiosity, moderate optimism, high enthusiasm, high perseverance, and the ability to focus on the present rather than the past. Baron also addresses the role of risk taking, emotional stability (self-control, calmness), and the social and political skills needed to get support from key people (venture capitalists, customers, and employees). The second part of the book, "The Practice of Entrepreneurship," includes advice on how entrepreneurs can protect their ideas through copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Baron also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of writing business plans; how to write an effective business plan; and the importance of improvisation (making it up as you go along) to create the future. Chapter bibliographies include references to high-quality journals. An excellent contribution to the entrepreneurship literature. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduate through professional collections.

--D. W. Huffmire, emeritus, University of Connecticut

The acceleration of the business cycle, largely driven by technology, has compressed the development space for entrepreneurial start-ups and, it could be argued, for traditional financial accounting as well. This acceleration has created special problems for entrepreneurial financial management. This volume, which benefits from its combined academician and practitioner authorship, is a valiant effort to deal with these new realities by attempting to align financial management with this new business modeling. The book is organized in four parts: "Building a Financial Forecast," "Managing the Financial Resources of a Venture," "Sources of Financing," and "Planning for the Entrepreneur's Transition." Free downloadable financial spreadsheet templates are made available to readers on a companion website. The authors deal with pertinent issues in this new environment, for example, bootstrapping and crowdfunding as well as the use of social media and its impact on the process. Dealing with these issues is like trying to hit an ever-faster-moving target. This volume is a seminal effort at doing just that and deserves attention for that reason. However, it is certainly not the last word on these issues, but rather a work in progress. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Students at all levels; practitioners; general readers.

--S. A. Schulman, CUNY Baruch College

A small business expert, Worrell provides a useful reference book and practical introduction to the traditional accounting and financial analytical standards of a variety of enterprises. For both the neophyte and seasoned entrepreneur, the author demystifies the often arcane financial and performance measures critical to the success and sustainability of a business. Fifteen chapters are divided into five sections: "The Income Statement," "The Balance Sheet," "The Cash Flow Statement," "Ratios and Analysis," and "Managing by the Numbers." The appendixes contain diverse materials, including a case study using Dell Computer's cash cycle, a resource list, a brief introduction to the accounting cycle, a glossary of terminology, and a chart of the corporate filing fees for Nevada. Drawing on the author's experience as a CFO and entrepreneur (Worrell was a Fast 50 Award winner for building his own fast-growing companies), the book contains excellent clear-cut examples, illustrations, and real-life vignettes that enhance the presentation and reiterate the importance of analytical tools to organizational performance and continuity. Those interested in related material might read Karen Berman, Joe Knight, and John Case's Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurship: What You Really Need to Know about the Numbers (CH, May'09, 46-5116). Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

--S. R. Kahn, emeritus, University of Cincinnati

Roughly six million entrepreneurs begin a new business every year. Less than 2 percent of those new ventures attract investors, and those 2 percent are this book's target market. Author Nour has witnessed numerous investment deals, and his guide reflects both his observations and those of investor colleagues. The book seeks to help entrepreneurs look at their business through the eyes of an investor; failing to do so not only costs money, but worse, it costs time and attention. Investor quotes--some insightful, some not--populate every chapter. Where Steven Rogers' Entrepreneurial Finance: Finance and Business Strategies for the Serious Entrepreneur (2nd ed., CH, Jul'09, 46-6298) dedicates five chapters to valuation, Nour spends less than one chapter on the topic. Nour instead stresses financial intermediaries, professionals dedicated to helping firms attract capital. He also devotes a chapter to advice from entrepreneurs, advice they wish they had been given when they were seeking capital. This book's real strength is an appendix full of helpful resources, useful not only to the 2 percent of entrepreneurs attracting capital but to many other entrepreneurs as well. Summing Up: Recommended. Collections supporting practitioners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and faculty.

--J. J. Janney, University of Dayton

In this well-written book, Chambers (an advertising consultant and adjunct instructor at Endicott and Emerson colleges) takes the position that developers/writers of business plans and proposals need to focus on the value proposition--the "what's in it for them" of the reader. He argues that persuasiveness and clarity are the virtues that will accomplish the objective, no matter if it is securing venture capital or financing, closing on a large contract, or laying out a marketing strategy: words that "sell" are more important than those that fill information gaps or update previous information. Chambers writes with the insightful clarity that he espouses and provides many practical examples of plans and letters, as well as exercises, templates, and cases. His advice provides a useful compendium and is somewhat an Elements of Style (the classic on good writing by William Strunk Jr., 4th ed., 1999) for business plan and proposal writers. This reviewer could not help but sigh in agreement with the author's preference for hard copy rather than electronic format for some processes; while this may pass, the practical wisdom of the author will endure. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduate through practitioner collections.

--S. A. Schulman, CUNY Kingsborough Community College

Awe (director of the business and economics library, Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque) has written a very useful and handy guide to entrepreneurial resources. Designed for potential or practicing small business owners, the book provides a comprehensive guide to print and electronic sources on a wide range of topics important to the entrepreneur: the attributes of entrepreneurs; research and information gathering; starting a business; writing a business plan; franchising; raising capital; marketing and advertising; management; personnel and human resources; legal issues and taxes; working with the government; competitive analysis; and growing and ending a business. Each chapter begins with chapter highlights and then describes useful resources on the topic. Each chapter concludes with an annotated list of titles discussed therein, arranged by print and online sources. Numerous screen shots of Web pages provide helpful illustration. A glossary at the end of the volume includes a Web site address for a more complete business dictionary. There is an extensive index. This guide presents a clear step-by-step process for finding information relevant to starting and running a business. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--S. A. Marien, American University

Outstanding Academic Title

This very important book is a contribution to the literature revolving around global entrepreneurship. There is increasing recognition that entrepreneurship is essential for economic development, and this book explains how to create a successful entrepreneurship economy as well as how to measure its success. As entrepreneurs exploit opportunities and create value in economies across the world, they meet with interesting challenges, and Kshetri (Univ. of North Carolina at Greensboro) explores many of those financial, cultural, political, geographical, and technological challenges. Clearly written, the book includes chapter objectives, definitions, abbreviations of terms, figures, and tables. Useful discussion and review questions are offered at the end of each chapter. In addition to providing examples for the concepts presented, the author includes short, end-of-chapter cases and longer chapter cases on countries worldwide. Other helpful apparatus includes sources of global entrepreneurship-related statistics, quality notes at the end of each chapter, and instructions for how to prepare an international business plan. This book is essential reading for all researchers, instructors of entrepreneurship, international business undergraduate students majoring in entrepreneurship, and MBA students. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates and above.

--D. W. Huffmire, emeritus, University of Connecticut

A business plan is important for entrepreneurs because it serves as a blueprint for a business; helps secure venture capital or additional funding to expand a business; and can be used as a yardstick to assess performance. McKeever, who has written articles on entrepreneurship and conducted business planning workshops, covers the essential elements of business plans in 12 readable chapters. He explains the reasons for writing a business plan and provides self-evaluation exercises that can serve as a reality check on the feasibility of starting a business. Other chapters focus on choosing the right business using breakeven analysis; preparing financial statements, including cash-flow/profit-and-loss forecasts; developing a capital spending plan; formulating marketing and personnel plans; and soliciting outside financing. McKeever also offers a glimpse of possible problems business owners may encounter along the way, as well as exit strategies when a business is on the wrong track. This updated edition includes new resources for small businesses along with appendixes of sample business plans in service and manufacturing companies. This book is enhanced with self-help tools such as financial spreadsheets, sample business letters, and downloadable business legal forms, which are available at a companion website. An affordable reference work for all libraries. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; students at all levels; practitioners. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--P. Judy Li, University of Tennessee in Knoxville

Everyone knows starting a new business takes work, but many potential entrepreneurs become unnerved by the fear of things they do not know, but which matter. Beyond knowledge of the actual business and industry, this can entail knowing whether to incorporate, establish an online media presence, or even how to complete required forms. These types of unknowns can unnerve entrepreneurs. Barringer (entrepreneurship, Oklahoma State Univ.) wrote Launching a Business to calm those nerves. A book of advice and sources, it breaks the launch process into two sections, prelaunch (days 1-30) and postlaunch (days 31-100). While it covers all functional areas of launching a business, the book particularly highlights the mechanics of establishing an online presence. Each chapter provides checklists, encouraging entrepreneurs to document their efforts. Entrepreneurs seeking to write a business plan will find this information valuable. While this title overlaps with works such as Mike McKeever's How to Write a Business Plan (CH, Apr'13, 50-4538), it differs by offering more tactical advice on things important during early launch of a business that an experienced founder should know but a novice likely will not. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels of undergraduate students; practitioners; aspiring entrepreneurs; general readers.

--J. J. Janney, University of Dayton

This book creates a road map for companies that want to aspire to digital mastery through examples from leading companies, illustrative data-driven models, and periodic self-assessments.  Based on a study of more than 400 global firms, including Asian Paints, Burberry, Caesars Entertainment, and Nike, the book positions itself as a manual for business owners and managers who are trying to create lasting digital initiatives—and it succeeds.  The authors have created a well-written, well-researched, and clearly structured book.  The primary model linking digital masters, fashionistas, conservatives, and beginners (laid out early in the book) could be regarded with the same esteem as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or Kurt Lewin’s model of change.  All the data, interviews, and models presented map out a comprehensive blueprint for understanding and implementing digital solutions for a wide variety of disciplines.  The book also scales well for organizations and projects of all sizes.  The information is accessible to small business owners who need to improve their processes, large businesses looking for competitive advantage, academics who need to study transformational leadership, and anyone else who would like to implement successful digital initiatives at their organization. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.

--A. Dantes, Florida International University

Marketing consultants Stroud (The 50-Plus Market, CH, Sep'06, 44-0412) and Walker explore the need for businesspeople to undergo a fundamental shift in their approach to aging consumers by altering many paradigms of modern marketing. They describe the benefits of this shift, providing case studies and practical tips based on an examination of common myths surrounding the aging consumer. The volume offers a solid guide for companies and individuals seeking to perform their own audit of age-friendliness, encouraging them to adapt as needed product design, marketing, communication, customer service, and engagement. The book consists of four parts: historical perspectives on aging; physiological indicators; introduction of the age-friendliness construct; and suggestions for its implementation. While scant empirical evidence is provided, the work is insightful, interesting, and innovative, touching on areas that have received little research attention in the recent past. In addition to its obvious utility for businesses targeting the 50-plus market, this work presents thought-provoking source material that will be useful to graduate students, particularly those in MBA programs. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate through professional collections.

--S. D. Clark, St. John's University (NY)

While the arc of this informative work follows the usual stages of entrepreneurial business development, the emphasis on simple but rigorous concept testing and bootstrapping sets it apart as an invaluable, commonsense resource. Key (CEO, InventRight, and a product development expert) correctly notes that we are living in a golden age of innovation. Innovation can either be an invention or a new application of an existing invention, brought to fruition through a process of constant product simplification, testing, and market testing/analytics. The author further underlines the importance of a flexible and robust dialogue with the market to guide the innovation and piloting/market test processes. While none of this is exactly new, Key offers a clear-voiced, thoughtful guide through the entrepreneurial process. He provides case studies and advice from other successful entrepreneurs to clarify and reinforce his arguments and presentation. This text is an easy, important read for practitioner and academic alike, given the rapidly accelerating cycle of innovation and entrepreneurial development occurring today. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Aspiring entrepreneurs and anyone interested in small business development.

--S. A. Schulman, CUNY Baruch College

Outstanding Academic Title

Bloom (Duke Univ., Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship) is a social entrepreneurship expert, so it is fitting that he would author Scaling Your Social Venture. He has personal knowledge of the many examples he cites to support his model of growing a social enterprise. Bloom defines scaling as "achieving more efficient and effective adoption of your innovation" as it applies to social entrepreneurship. He uses the acronym SCALERS to explain growing an organization in seven key areas: staffing, communicating, alliance building, lobbying, earnings generation, replicating, and stimulating market forces. The book begins with an overview of what knowledge is needed to develop a scaling strategy, and then expands on each of the seven areas identified as crucial to scaling an organization. It concludes with a series of questions to help the reader assess the organization's past scaling success, theory of change, resources, and capabilities. The author hopes that by honestly answering the questions, readers will envision a pathway to influence social change on a larger scale. This book is an imperative read for any social entrepreneur, whether student or practitioner. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduate through professional business collections.

--N. E. Furlow, Marymount University

Many books that provide guidance on how to start a business are available. However, far fewer are written to help those wishing to grow an established startup company. Weinfurter spent much of his career at General Electric but is also a serial entrepreneur. He advises that to reach second-stage entrepreneurship, one must acquire new skills in solving problems not confronted by first-stage entrepreneurs, which he discusses in this work. For example, to grow a business, new capital must be raised, which may involve friends and family, high-net-worth private investors, or venture capitalists. Weinfurter also reports that choosing a board of directors is crucial in the success of the growth strategy. Growth also requires new ideas and innovations, and not just copying others, as well as hiring the right people. The rise of the Internet has altered the way products are sold and is also a key factor for successful growth. Further, management must look beyond just the metrics of the organization and understand growth marketing and satisfying customers. This book is a basic guide filled with valuable insights for those wishing to aggressively grow their businesses. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Practitioner and entrepreneurial studies collections.

--R. J. Phillips, emeritus, Colorado State University

The great English economist Alfred Marshall defined economics as a subject that deals with the ordinary business of life. Small Loans, Big Dreams exemplifies this. Counts (president and CEO, Grameen Foundation) provides a captivating account of the microfinance movement started by Muhammad Yunus and warmly recounts the entrepreneurial success stories of poor people around the world benefiting from this small loan movement (see also Asif Dowla and Dipal Barua's The Poor Always Pay Back: The Grameen II Story, CH, Jun'07, 44-5755, and Muhammad Yunus's Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the Battle against World Poverty, CH, Mar'00, 37-4016). Rejecting the utility maximization premise of neoclassical economics, Yunus recognized that the worth and potential of every human being could be considered as rational as the Benthamite proposition of utility maximization. His paradigm is democratic as well as humane, promotes human dignity, and has the potential to unleash universal pent-up human energy for the common good. Yunus illuminated the dark corner of society that economists neglected. Small people and small loans can make dreams a reality. Gracefully written, this book is definitely one to savor. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections.

--C. J. Talele, Columbia State Community College

CEO, innovator, and entrepreneur Lidow (Princeton Univ.) presumes that leadership is the essential ingredient for every successful entrepreneur. The author theorizes that leadership is far more important to the developing firm than grand strategies, and that the ability to develop adaptive leadership that balances selflessness with selfishness as the business develops is a critical and decisive element in entrepreneurial success. Divided into two main parts (mastering entrepreneurial skills and applying those skills), the book provides a map for achieving this balance. It includes assessing a leader's unique motivations, traits, and skills as well as creating a personal strategy that leverages a person's strengths while downplaying weaknesses. In taking this stance, Lidow reconceptualizes standard views of entrepreneurial leadership and, in doing so, provides a valuable service to all entrepreneurs. The text is clear and concise and hosts a treasure chest of supporting web resources that further illustrate points made in the text. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.

--S. A. Schulman, CUNY Baruch College