The other day someone asked me for some advice. They’re a small business owner and want to take their business to the next level, which in their case means getting external investment. They wanted my take on how best to pitch to potential investors, and if I had some pointers on tipping the odds to get a ‘yes’.
I recommended that she read “The Art Of The Start” by Guy Kawasaki, a book I’ve recommended to business owners for a number of years. Even though the book’s now over 10 years old, it’s still packed with useful advice, tips and information for starting pretty much anything (not just companies).
Then last week I got a mail saying Guy’s been busy updating and expanding the original Art Of The Start, and that Art Of The Start v2.0 has just been published.
I’ve mentioned Guy here before. As well as being a friend of KEXINO, Guy’s a fervent entrepreneur, angel investor, and currently Chief Evangelist with Canva, those guys who make designing decent graphics and illustration easy for those of us who don’t know our kerning from our glyphs.
I’ve just finished reading my review copy of The Art Of The Start 2.0 (thanks again, Guy!), and I have to say that I’m more than impressed. Version Two takes the original Art Of The Start collection of advice, thoughts and ideas and expands them in the context of newer tools – such as social media, crowdfunding, or cloud computing – that simply weren’t available to most of us a decade ago.
It’s good to see some of the ideas that made me buy and recommend the original book are carried over to the new one. For example a piece of advice that I always seem to be quoting to startups looking for help when pitching to investors is Guy’s “10-20-30” rule: Ten slides, delivered in no more than twenty minutes, using a font size of at least thirty point. Keep it short, keep it simple – and leave them wanting more.
As with his books Enchantment or APE, Guy’s straight-talking, conversational style is both easy to read and easier to digest. The new book is quite a bit longer than the original, allowing more space for ideas to be explained, justified, or illustrated. However one of the strengths of the original book is maintained – the ideas are distilled to simple, understandable and easily-actionable concepts. You can read the chapters in order, or you can jump around within the book.
Regardless of whether you have any connection of starting or managing a business, or have no aspirations to seek venture capital funding, there’s a ton of information and advice applicable to start-ups and small businesses.
If you’re about to start your own business, it’s as much of a must-read as ever. But even if you’re not and are just looking for a business book to help sharpen-up your knowledge in today’s environment, you’re going to find some gems in here. I’m certain of it.