Entrepreneurship: Do Your Homework

4 min read

| By Matthew Miskelly |

Webster’s Dictionary defines entrepreneurship as…

(Nah, that’s no good.)

Starting a business is a lot like…

(Nope, don’t like that, either.)

I’ve kept a journal since 1990, roughly five thousand entries. You’d think I wouldn’t find it so difficult starting a blog. But you write what you know, and the truth is I don’t know much about entrepreneurship. So, I cheated and got in touch with two of my friends who’ve actually started their own businesses.

Gordie Richard and his wife own Great Lakes Roller Hockey, which offers men’s, women’s, and youth leagues to players in the metro Detroit area. And in 2007, James Mathison started JPM Services Unlimited, which began as a lawn cutting service but has since expanded and now tackles major landscaping and home improvement projects.

I figured whatever they had to say would be more interesting than me googling “entrepreneurship” and just writing a mini term paper. The thing I was most curious about, both as a blogger and a buddy? If you could offer one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting their own business, what would it be?

“Make sure you have your business plan in place,” Richard said. “Don’t open up until you’ve done your homework. That includes researching your competition.”

Mathison echoed those sentiments. “You have to come to the table with a business plan. All these people who have successful businesses, they have a solid business plan. No matter what field you’re going into, someone else already has the jump on you, so you’d better put some thought into what you’re doing before you actually do it.”

I’ll be honest. As I began the conversation with Gordie and James I thought, “Okay, try to get one of them to say something about how entrepreneurs need to do their research.” But I didn’t have to. They were both adamant on that point. In fact, a few of their sentences were virtually identical.

Any of the fifty-three titles in Gale’s eBook collection on entrepreneurship would be a good place to start that research if you’re considering starting your own business. Many titles focus on entrepreneurship in a specific area, such as Entrepreneurship and Business Development in the Renewable Energy Sector and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Selling Your Crafts on Etsy. Other titles, like The SAGE Handbook of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, offer expertise on starting any type of business.

Mathison laughed when I mentioned the title Build Your Business in 90 Minutes a Day. “That one would be perfect for me,” he said. “Well, maybe not. I have three kids, and the oldest one is seven. Ninety free minutes? Those days are over for me.”

Meet the Author

Matthew Miskelly sported a fabulous mop of dark brown hair when he started working at Gale in 1996, and he has never quite gotten over its disappearance. Nonetheless, he has soldiered on, managing titles like the Directory of Special Libraries and the Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Strategies. He loves to travel: in the past five years alone he has kayaked in Costa Rica, strolled down the streets of Budapest, and jumped from a plane flying 12,000 feet over Queenstown, New Zealand. When he’s not traveling he enjoys reading, writing, hockey, and shamelessly name-dropping all the incredible places he’s checked off the travel list (oh, that reminds me: Ecuador, Lisbon, and the Canadian Rockies).

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1 thought on “Entrepreneurship: Do Your Homework”

  1. Well done, Matt!

    I also recommend the Business Plans Handbook (BPH) for promising entrepreneurs who are looking for examples of how to approach, structure, and compose their own business plans.

    Each volume includes a collection of actual business plans compiled by entrepreneurs seeking funding for small businesses throughout North America, along with a business plan template and two fictional business plans. Every volume also features a listing of US and Canadian organizations, agencies, and consultants; a glossary of small business terms; and a cumulative index.

    BPH is available in print, as well as ebook format in Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL).



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