Sometimes You Need More Expensive Financing

Price-shopping is something that nearly everyone does at some point in their lives.

Whether it’s parents stretching their household budget, kids trying to make their allowance last or multi-national conglomerates trying to get the best possible deals from suppliers, it all comes down to the best deal. Consumer and business advocates constantly harp on the importance of getting the most for your money.

That’s usually sound advice.

But when it comes to businesses in need of financing, the interest rate, while important, shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all factor.

Consider this example.

A company that generates about $25 million annually in revenue has a bad year. That prompts the bank to call the owner’s 5 percent line of credit.

The owner then rejects his financial adviser’s suggestion to secure an 8 percent asset-based line of credit from a different lender. The owner says he doesn’t want the added $150,000 annual expense the more expensive credit would create.

For the time being, the business owner is stretching out payments to his vendors, which certainly isn’t engendering good feelings.

Meantime, he’s looking into the possibility of selling equity in his company for the first time.

What are the risks to this approach?

For one thing, messing with vendors is a perilous proposition. Getting cut off is a real possibility — and that creates numerous other potential problems that can threaten the viability of the business.

And then there’s the issue of taking on partners by selling equity.

Sure, the infusion of cash is nice (as is not having new debt), and if you lose money or go under, the investors, having understood the risk, may not have to be repaid.

The flip side is that those new partners will be around forever.

What happens if you and those partners disagree on the company’s direction? There are numerous cases of that occurring — and there have been multiple instances where the original owner was forced out of the company.

Even if things don’t deteriorate to that extent, your agreement with your partners might require periodic dividend distributions to shareholders. Because small and mid-sized business in growth phases often want to reinvest all profits back into the company, those dividends could severely limit your growth potential. That’s clearly less than ideal.

Whether you choice to sell equity is up to you — and given the right investors it can work out fine — but you should strongly consider the idea of debt with a higher interest rate.

Sometimes you simply have to pay the piper for a while. It’s unfortunate and unpleasant, but it’s not the end of the world.

If you truly believe your business plan is sound and your future prospects are bright, the higher interest rate ultimately gives you added flexibility. Should you return to your usual level of profitability (or even a higher one) and enjoy strong growth, the chances are good you’ll be able to find new funding at a rate comparable to — or even better than — what you had before.

The Dilemma of Being an Entrepreneur: Five Common Struggles

You should know that you are not alone and there is usually always a solution to your dilemma.

Thanks to portrayals in both film and fiction, the public thinks of entrepreneurs as bold and dashing men and women who combine a visionary view of the world with boundless energy and a keen sense of unfulfilled marketplace needs.

Think Elon Musk or Richard Branson.

And while the influence of game-changers like Musk and Branson can’t be ignored, they represent the very top of the entrepreneurial marketplace, just like Tom Brady is arguably the best QB ever, Beyonce is an elite singer/performer and Meryl Streep is recognized among the finest actresses ever.

So while the classic stereotype of an entrepreneur is one who is always running, pushing the envelope and taking risks, you should know that at every stage of their journey, entrepreneurs have quiet fears or dilemmas that are holding them back. Sometimes these dilemmas can end up wrecking a business, but more often than not there is a solution.

Let’s look at five of the more common dilemmas.

  1. Motivation paralysis, which is a fancy way of saying you’re not sure what to do next. Entrepreneurs always want to be moving forward, but that can be difficult if you don’t know what to do next. Of course, nobody has all the answers all the time, so this may be the opportunity to consult with a business coach, members of a Vistage group or anyone who can provide a fresh perspective on what you’re doing. Some entrepreneurs may feel ashamed to seek help, but this is misguided; nobody has the answers all of the time.
  2. Being ground up. This means you don’t have time to think about your next move because you’re so busy in the daily grind: You’re working in your business instead of on your business. In reality, this status is inevitable at some point, particularly early in the life-cycle of your business. This occurs when you’re working long hours, are understaffed and are coping with common issues such as underfunding and limited professional network connections. Entrepreneurs often are loathe to delegate tasks, especially early on, but that’s what you might need to do to free up some time for future planning.
  3. Lack of cash. In almost every scenario, it requires cash to grow a business. And this is where a significant chunk of all entrepreneurs get bogged down. While the perception is that entrepreneurs are riverboat gamblers who don’t mind taking on debt for a chance to pay back that debt (and earn much more), the reality is that plenty of entrepreneurs don’t have the stomach (or think they don’t have the stomach) to assume more debt. That problem often is exacerbated by a lack of knowledge. Many entrepreneurs are unaware that there are numerous financial options open to them, depending upon how much risk they’re willing to assume.
  4. C-level tension. Just because the partners are all family members, close friends or trusted business professionals, it doesn’t mean you won’t clash when it comes to the future direction of your business, or even day-to-day operations. Perhaps you are the partner most interested in rapid growth and the others are more conservative – or vice versa. Or perhaps there are as many different opinions about what to do as there are partners. In any case, you’re going to have to reach some kind of consensus to be able to move forward.
  5. Why mess with a good thing? Things are going well and, rather than stress out about making the business even better, why not enjoy things as they are? There’s something to be said for the “don’t worry, be happy” philosophy – and there are brief times when it makes sense to leave things be. But most of the time you need to be thinking a couple steps ahead. The cliché “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards” makes a lot of sense. The status quo might temporarily leave you stress free, but that will change the first time problems emerge – and it’s guaranteed that they will emerge. It’s much easier to work from a position of strength than to jump in and tackle emerging problems, so thinking about the next step must remain top of mind.

Which ones of these dilemmas best describes you? Note that your particular situation may include two or more of these dilemmas or some kind of amalgam of them.

Whatever the case may be, dilemmas are something that should not be ignored: There’s no such thing as benign neglect, and problems will never go away on their own. You take pride in your business and must be laser-focused in making it work.

Granted, there are issues that end up being death blows for some businesses, but the five dilemmas described above shouldn’t be among them. They’re real problems, but hardly insurmountable.

Just remember that you don’t have to go it alone. Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness; to the contrary, it’s a sign of strength. It takes a strong person to admit they need help and tackling a bit of adversity is a way to make than strong person even stronger.

Keeping It In The Family: Pros and Cons

Working with family members can be fulfilling and exhausting at the same time, think it through.

Harper Lee may have been a legend in literary circles for To Kill a Mockingbird, but that influential novel also contains a nugget that any entrepreneur should ponder when deciding whether to work with family members or close friends.

Jem, the older brother of main character Scout, opines: “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.”

With the holidays just concluded, plenty of people dealt with relatives for better or worse. Still, sitting through a three-hour meal isn’t too big of a chore – but working day in, day out with relatives can be.

Yet many people start family-owned businesses, so let’s take a look at four reasons why it’s a good idea – and four reasons why it might not be.

Pros

  1. Loyalty is likely to be the same for everyone, and the goals probably will be similar. Enjoying a level of intimacy with principals is important because it engenders a built-in support system. In other words, it’s isn’t just a paycheck. In addition, there likely will be added stability; an outsider may be an excellent employee, but he/she is going to be looking out for themselves first and foremost and could depart for a better opportunity at any time. Family members are there for the long haul.
  2. By working with family members, you also enjoy a greater degree of flexibility. Your brother-in-law serving as CEO is probably going to be more understanding when you want to take a long weekend to celebrate your anniversary than a complete stranger or when you rush to the hospital because your son has broken his ankle playing football.
  3. A family-run business often is an ideal marketing point. Customers seem to like patronizing a family-run organization more so than a faceless corporation. Just think how often you see businesses that proudly tout their family connections. Putting a face to a name is important, particularly when you are just starting out.
  4. Especially in the early stages, a family-run business may enjoy lower operating costs. Outsiders aren’t going to work for free or minimal compensation as the business tries to find its feet, but family members have more emotionally (and likely financially) invested and can wait to enjoy the proceeds when the business succeeds. You’re also more likely to be able to run the business from a family member’s house, if need be, saving on rent.

Cons

  1. The fact that someone is a relative doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be the right fit for your company. Plenty of relatives turn out to be lazy, dishonest, unreliable, misguided or just plain stupid. If you have to fire that relative, the process will be that much more difficult because they’re family. And imagine the repercussions within your extended family – that annual Christmas party may turn out to be kind of uncomfortable.
  2. Next, consider sibling rivalries or other family divisions. When you were 12 and your brother was nine, you may have settled differences with a punch or two. That might be standard operating practice for kids arguing over what TV show to watch, but it doesn’t fly in the business world, when disagreements mean real money. The rivalries may not involve siblings at all. What happens when it comes to succession and your kids want to take the company in a radically different direction – or aren’t interested in the business at all? Can you deal with the former or accept the latter?
  3. Here’s something you probably haven’t considered as a potential problem: a lack of perspective and alternative viewpoints. Having everyone getting alone and pursuing the same business philosophy would appear to be a good thing – or is it? If everyone working in the business has similar life experiences (or lack thereof), it could create blind spots that could sabotage your operations. In this case, an outsider’s perspective could be helpful.
  4. Family-run businesses often lack a clear corporate structure, in part because of the all-hands-on-deck mentality and partially to maintain a belief that everyone is of equal importance. That’s good for keeping family members happy, but not so good for regulatory agencies and overall professionalism. You also run the risk of having employees who are not family members feel neglected when nepotism is obvious.

If you’re not scared off by now – or reassured that your family members can work together – what’s the best way to reduce the risks inherent in business that are family run of feature close partnerships of friends?

Perhaps a spreadsheet where you consider the issues discussed above is in order. Are you finding the principals have a lot in common or are there more disagreements than you imagine?

Pay particular attention to risk tolerance, which is something that can go a long way in gauging how well you can work together – and also is crucial in determining what kind of financing options work best for you. You’d be surprised about how many companies are paralyzed by executives who have different philosophies about how much risk they’re willing to accept.

Working with family members and/or close friends may still be your dream scenario, and there are plenty of examples of success, so don’t be scared off by the potential problems discussed here. Just be sure to pursue your due diligence to head off problems that otherwise could be avoidable.

Cutting Through the Fear of Publishing a First Book

You must believe that your content will help others.

Typically, when I sit down to write a column, I spend some time reflecting on my interactions with entrepreneurs over the past week, and I look for an experience that I think has a universal lesson that I can share.

Over the past few weeks, I have struggled to do this.  And the only logical explanation I have for lack of clarity is that I am immersed in the petrifying and exciting process of getting my first book into the market.  In about two months, The Growth Dilemma, will hit a bookshelf on a browser near you.

In today’s column, I have decided to share my emotional state as a first-time author.  I hope this will help others push through the process, and put ink to paper.

It’s been about a year and a half since I started working on the book, and as it gets closer to being released the pit in my stomach grows.  Will people care?  Will I break through the noise of the other 300 books published on Amazon every day?  Will readers like it and post good reviews?  How should we market it?  The decisions and the emotions go on and on.

I have helped launch dozens of new products over my life, and yet somehow a book is different.  There is nowhere to hide, this book represents me and what I believe in. Secondly, a book is different to building a website, as an example.  If you launch a website on a Monday, you can wake up on Tuesday and decide to change the font color from blue to green with the click of a button.  With a book, you can’t do that.

Over the weekend, I sat with a friend and explained my nervous state of mind.  He pushed me to calm myself down, and explain to him, in a few words what I hoped my readers would glean from The Growth Dilemma.

After a few rounds of back and forth, the description was clear.

I told him that one of the biggest and toughest decisions entrepreneurs struggle with is how to finance their businesses.  The Growth Dilemma is intended to help them challenge their assumptions about how they think through their financing decisions, and either find a new comfort zone or be comfortable with where they are.

My friend then asked me if I thought a book like this existed.  I told him that I did not.

He encouraged me to shake my nervous anxiety, and enjoy the excitement that I would help my readers.

My best advice to any aspiring author is to be confident in your purpose, and the rest of the pieces will fall into place.

Is Growth a Dilemma?

You need to think about your next big steps carefully.

Holiday seasons are a time for enjoying family and reflection.  And this year, for me at least, I am thinking a lot about my upcoming book, The Growth Dilemma.

How big would you like your business to be next year or three years from now?  For most entrepreneurs, the initial gut instinct is “as big as possible,” or “much bigger then we are today.”

In our culture, we celebrate “big,” and we encourage “fast.”  We read lots of articles about tech giants.  We celebrate IPO’s.  We high five friends when they receive venture capital funding off a napkin.  Inc.com celebrates the 5000 fastest-growing private companies every year, and entrepreneurs are proud to be on the list.

So is “big and fast” the best route for every entrepreneur.   The answer is not always clear.  How quickly you want to grow your business should be a dilemma that you struggle with and think through very carefully.

We read about the successes of the “big and fast” strategy, and the winners of this game often become the business icons of our society.  But rarely do we hear about the failures.  Not many people write about running out of steam on the venture capital treadmill, and not being able to get “the next round.”  People don’t like to tell the stories of the “failures” of the “big and fast” culture that we celebrate.

This is why you have to think long and hard about how you want to run your race.

Too big, too quickly comes with a lot of risks.  If the venture capital treadmill doesn’t get you, you could drown in debt payments.  Financing might not be the issue, but unsatisfied and angry customers could destroy you due to quality or customer service issues.

I recently heard a story of a budding franchisor who passed away of a heart attack because of the stress of buying too many units too soon.  He didn’t even get one open.  In our business, we receive countless calls from desperate business owners who invested too much, too quickly and are now struggling to survive.

I am not suggesting that you sit on your hands and don’t take any risks or place any bets.  To the contrary.  If you move too slowly or get stuck in complete “analysis paralysis,” your competition will pass you by.

You need to find a rhythm that you are comfortable with.  You need to make your choices thoughtfully are carefully, but not based on wanting to be the next Facebook or Twitter.

That’s why I think The Growth Dilemma is such an important book.  It doesn’t give you the answers, but I hope it will guide you through the right questions to find your comfort zone and move your needle.

Building a Business is a Marathon

Embrace the journey, or don’t start to run.

This morning as I checked my Facebook feed, I was struck by a photo memory that eight years ago today, I got my pink slip and lost my big fat corporate job.  The next day, on a Saturday I started working on my company, MultiFunding, and we launched six weeks later.

I remember the first few anniversaries vividly.  The team got a cake, and I would often write a blog post talking about what I learned.

But eight years later, if it wasn’t for my Facebook feed I would have forgotten the milestone entirely.

Did I miss something important?  On one hand I could hear my mother in my ear saying that every anniversary or birthday should be celebrated and embraced.  And on the other hand, the reality is that as you grind through building a company, “what is important” changes.

The first year was a big deal.  It reminded me of our kids first birthdays, or our first wedding anniversary.  “We had made it !!!” I thought.  Everyone says that getting through the first year is a big deal.  And it is,  but the challenges just get different as you move on.

As I reflect on our eighth anniversary, what strikes me is advice I got early on from folks who are wiser then me.  They told me to prepare for an 8 to 10 year grind to build a business that is meaningful and sustainable.  I smiled at them in disbelief.  I thought I would be rocking and rolling in three years.  They were right, and I was wrong.

As I am not an athlete, or anything close to one, I feel a bit hypocritical in suggesting that building a business is like running a marathon.  However, I imagine that if I was ever to run a marathon, the milestone between mile seven and eight would not mean much.  I would be more focused on keeping my rhythm, and pushing forward to mile nine or ten.

No cake or celebrations this time around.  Sorry mom.  Let’s save the cake for the end of the marathon.

Where Are You in Your Entrepreneurial Life Cycle?

Just as we experience spring, summer, fall and winter each year, there are a similar number of cycles for entrepreneurs. It’s extremely important to understand into which cycle you presently fit, because it determines how you approach growth, helps pinpoint your most comfortable financial options and makes evident your tolerance for risk.

So, what are those four cycles?

Here are some easy-to-remember names: Growers, Gliders, Speed-bumpers and Exiters.

Consider the case of John, a man in his early 60’s whose software company has coasted along for years. The business is growing steadily, although at a much slower pace than 20 years ago.

John’s financially set for life and wants to enjoy retirement by traveling with his wife and spending time with his grandchildren. Although there’s no immediate hurry, he’s looking to cash out from his company, which is now largely in the hands of his capable daughter.

As you might guess, John is an Exiter.

At a social function, John strikes up a conversation with a husband-and-wife team named Jason and Tara who run a fledgling software company of their own, although they aren’t direct competitors. Jason and Tara have just won a significant contract and their products are receiving good reviews, but they need capital to meet their demands.

These classic Growers ask John for advice, figuring (correctly) that he’s seen it all. So what does John tell them?

An aggressive businessman all his life, John essentially tells Jason and Tara to be bold – which is the only way to successfully get through each individual entrepreneurial cycle.

Growers

A Grower is the type of entrepreneur typically depicted in film, on television, in books and all other forms of media. These are the businesspeople looking to expand their operations, often rapidly. They generally have a healthy appetite for assuming risk and are loaded with self-confidence.

John tests Jason and Tara by asking them what they’d do if they received a $1 million gift. Would they invest all (or most) of that money directly into their business or would they hold on to it, essentially saving it for a rainy day?

John’s happy to hear that his newfound friends didn’t hesitate before saying they were confident in their business and figured that investing the money would go a long way toward solving their growth issues.

John tells them that since their business prospects are solid, there would be numerous financing options available for them ranging from the tried-and-true Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to the ancient practice of factoring to everything in between.

While John is speaking, his audience grows, enthralled by the wisdom he’s imparting. One of the listeners is a long-time friend named Mary whose small custom-framing chain of stores is stable and profitable. She is a Glider.

Gliders

Mary tells the group that she’s reached a happy point where she’s making a solid amount of money, expects her business to remain sound and is loath to wreck a good thing.

John’s been somewhat of a mentor to Mary over the years, so he poses the same hypothetical $1 million gift question he just asked Jason and Tara.

That led Mary to waffle a bit. She first said she would place a significant chunk of that gift into mutual funds, happy with a smaller return, but still available to be used if need be. After more thought, she decided to place about 75 percent in her business because she realized she was already generating a higher return than what a mutual fund offered.

John approved, noting that keeping a business on an even keel is never a bad thing, especially for someone like Mary, who is beginning to consider retirement options. He also pointed out that since her business was doing well, there’d be no shortage of palatable financial options available if the need arose.

The conversation lurches in a different direction, however, when a frazzled-looking entrepreneur joins the discussion. That would be Derek, the founder of an online sporting goods store. Derek’s business was growing at a double-digit rate, but he overestimated his market and is now stuck with a warehouse full of unsold goods – not to mention his bank wants to pull its line of credit and is demanding repayment.

Derek, a textbook Speed-bumper, asks John what he should do.

Speed-Bumpers

John points out that a little rain falls on most people’s lives at some point and entrepreneurs aren’t immune.

Again, he brings up the hypothetical $1 million gift.

It doesn’t take long for Derek to gain clarity when he says that he would plunk most or the entire hypothetical $1 million gift into his business. While some non-entrepreneurs might consider that foolish, Derek realizes that for any business to succeed, it requires the stomach for at least some risk along with overriding confidence. By stepping back, he realizes that—missteps aside—his company and business model are viable and will need some fine tuning.

John cautions that challenges might lie ahead because some financial options will be closed to him. And the options that will be open may carry a greater risk (or interest rate) or even the possibility of surrendering some equity.

Having provided his sage advice to the others, the group of entrepreneurs questions John about his plans.

Exiters

John replies that even the most-fervent entrepreneur will walk away at some point. The reason why doesn’t really matter.

The group then turns the table on John and asks him what he’d do with the hypothetical $1 million gift.

Not surprisingly, he says, he decides he’d invest half of it in mutual funds, but put the rest back into the business, noting that it would help his successor daughter.

John points out that succession planning is important, but too many businesses either overlook it or give it short shrift. After all, who wants to be thinking about the distant future when the thrill of running a business still looms?

He notes that eventually that day comes, however, and transitioning power is a delicate process, especially when you consider your legacy, not to mention tax concerns, heirs (whether or not they’re taking over the business) and dozens of other things that often aren’t considered.

John does say that the exiting process, which should be a joyful time, can become burdensome and require professional financial assistance.

With that, the group begins to break up, each having gained a bit of clarity in regards to their particular situation.

Conclusion

What have you learned from this hypothetical situation?

No matter what cycle they’re in, entrepreneurs are a fascinating breed; they represent much of what makes the American business world so great.

That said, entrepreneurs don’t know everything and tend to look at the big picture and forgo some of the fine details. That’s why they sometimes need outside help.

The key to providing that help is recognizing that no two businesses – and their financial situations – are alike and can’t be addressed with a rote game plan.

Early Financing Decisions Matter – A Lot

Take time to think two steps ahead.

Starting a business is an exciting time in anyone’s life. And often when we’re in those “early moments,” we make decisions that have unintended consequences in the future. This is particularly true when it comes to finance and partnership decisions – which are often extremely difficult to unwind.

It’s important to slow down and think ahead. You need to think through how you imagine your business evolving, how quickly, and what your ongoing capital requirements will be. And you need to make sure that you talk about long-term financing issues and possibilities with your partners to make sure that everyone is in sync.

Let me share three true stories to help illustrate the point.

 

Are You a Tortoise or a Hare Entrepreneur?

And why it matters.

Do you remember “The Tortoise and the Hare,” one of Aesop’s Fables, written by the ancient Greek storyteller and slave? In this seminal tale, an arrogant hare ridicules a slow-moving tortoise. The tortoise challenges the hare to a race, which is readily accepted. When the race begins, the hare jumps out to a huge lead, but over confidently decides to stop to rest and inadvertently falls asleep. He awakens to find the steadily moving tortoise has won the race.

What does this have to do with business? Plenty, it turns out.

It seems when it comes to entrepreneurs, there are two kinds – hares and tortoises.

Which kind are you? Read on to learn more.

Tortoise Entrepreneurs

As you might guess, tortoise entrepreneurs are more likely to be cautious and less likely to take risks. Their goal is to pursue gradual growth over a spread-out time span.

Debt financing tends to be the preferred form of financing for this kind of entrepreneur. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – debt financing is less risky than granting equity positions to investors and allows the entrepreneur to retain a greater degree of control over the business.

Entrepreneurs who want to go this route need to keep a few things in mind.

First off, keep your business books in pristine order. No lender wants to work with any business owners with suspect bookkeeping.

That also means paying attention to your personal credit, especially in the start-up phase. Your personal history will carry more weight with lenders because your personal finances will be viewed as a longer-term snapshot of your ability to keep money in check.

Meantime, create a path to bankability – the things a lender is most likely to peruse. That includes business profitability, credit history, collateral and cash flow. The more details you can provide, the better.

A couple other points:

  • Open a home equity line of credit to tap into cheap and easy money.
  • Review your debt regularly. What makes sense now might not in six months. Always look to structure loans for maximum flexibility.
  • Ask yourself if you really need the money. Loans aren’t always the solution to every problem.

Hare Entrepreneurs

There’s nothing wrong with thinking big – and hare entrepreneurs want to grow as big as possibly as quickly as they can.

More often than not, that means equity financing; that money could come from venture capitalists, angel investors, private equity or other outlets.

To line up that money will mean time spent on crafting management teams and business plans that appeal to those investors. That wooing process will become a part of your everyday business game plan because you’ll be answering to those new masters who have agreed to bankroll you.

That process isn’t for everyone, so hare entrepreneurs need to think carefully before choosing the equity path.

Overall

You might be able to tell that my preferred modus operandi is the tortoise entrepreneur.

While the media likes to focus on those companies that skyrocket out of nowhere, it isn’t reporting on all the companies that choose the fast growth path only to crash and burn.

Far more businesses succeed by moving slowly and steadily. Remember that many companies take years to mature; rare is the company that matures immediately and shows a healthy bottom line.

A 2015 American Express OPEN Small Business Growth Pulse survey of entrepreneurs with at least $250,000 in annual sales found that growth was a priority for 72 percent. Still, 63 percent of those surveyed said they preferred the slow, steady approach, while just 25 percent planned to be aggressive.

In wrapping things up, remember that there’s never just one path to success. Both the tortoise and hare approaches have positive and negative aspects, and your kind of business may dictate the path you take – tech companies might be a common example. Just be sure to weigh everything before making your decision.

Cutting Through The Fear of Publishing A First Book

You must believe that your content will help others.

Typically, when I sit down to write a column, I spend some time reflecting on my interactions with entrepreneurs over the past week, and I look for an experience that I think has a universal lesson that I can share.

Over the past few weeks, I have struggled to do this.  And the only logical explanation I have for lack of clarity is that I am immersed in the petrifying and exciting process of getting my first book into the market.  In about two months, The Growth Dilemma, will hit a bookshelf on a browser near you.

In today’s column, I have decided to share my emotional state as a first-time author.  I hope this will help others push through the process, and put ink to paper.

It’s been about a year and a half since I started working on the book, and as it gets closer to being released the pit in my stomach grows.  Will people care?  Will I break through the noise of the other 300 books published on Amazon every day?  Will readers like it and post good reviews?  How should we market it?  The decisions and the emotions go on and on.

I have helped launch dozens of new products over my life, and yet somehow a book is different.  There is nowhere to hide, this book represents me and what I believe in. Secondly, a book is different to building a website, as an example.  If you launch a website on a Monday, you can wake up on Tuesday and decide to change the font color from blue to green with the click of a button.  With a book, you can’t do that.

Over the weekend, I sat with a friend and explained my nervous state of mind.  He pushed me to calm myself down, and explain to him, in a few words what I hoped my readers would glean from The Growth Dilemma.

After a few rounds of back and forth, the description was clear.

I told him that one of the biggest and toughest decisions entrepreneurs struggle with is how to finance their businesses.  The Growth Dilemma is intended to help them challenge their assumptions about how they think through their financing decisions, and either find a new comfort zone or be comfortable with where they are.

My friend then asked me if I thought a book like this existed.  I told him that I did not.

He encouraged me to shake my nervous anxiety, and enjoy the excitement that I would help my readers.

My best advice to any aspiring author is to be confident in your purpose, and the rest of the pieces will fall into place.