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April 4, 2010

Entrepreneur’s Do Not Need to Buy Start Up Guidance

As our economy stumbles through difficult times, people look for new opportunities to survive. This is a good thing. At the same time, it is the duty and responsibility of  The Entrepreneur’s Advisor™ to warn potential entrepreneurs and those wishing to start up a micro-enterprises that they need to be very careful about spending much needed money on useless educational courses, certifications, ebooks, web traffic promises or promotional materials when almost all of it is FREE.

The Magic Hat

Protect Your Cash

As an example, a friend forwarded me a web site for entrepreneur certification and I could almost not stop laughing. Let me begin with by saying  we have  strong values  for higher education and business courses. A formal education can be of great value for understanding the intricacies of financial analysis or simply having a better understanding of how the business world works. For those unable to attend an institution of higher learning, The Entrepreneur’s Advisor, SBDC,  SCORE as well as numerous community programs offer free hands on assistance for those entrepreneurs beginning their endeavours. All these free resources understand the importance of getting started the right way.

The Gaunzi Institute  is a clear example of how an entrepreneur can waste their much needed start up money. This website  offers a certification program for Entrepreneurs for $495.  Just to be clear, entrepreneurs or potential business owners do not need a certification to start a business or even gather the knowledge necessary to know how to start a business. Everything that is offered on this site can be found for free and very easily.  I would ask readers to form their own opinion of the site which has over half their article pages empty. 

It would be nice if I could tell you this was a isolated example but it is not. I have seen hundreds of websites, Institutes, training programs, online universities all try and get entrepreneurs to part with their money . Many of these will be listed in an an upcoming article. Why do we do this? We at The Entrepreneur’s Advisor™ know how difficult it is to start a new business. We also know the number one reason for business failure is a lack of cash flow. Entrepreneur’s and micro-enterprises must protect their cash flow at all costs. “Cash is King”.

Share with us your experiences with purchasing advice and knowledge off the internet.

If you liked this article you may also like

Avoiding Predators of Entrepreneurs. (Keeping your Money)

Another Dubious Federal Grant Site

Micro-Enterprises and How to Grow Them into True Small Businesses?

Riding the Emotional Rollercoaster of a New Venture:

Starting a Business with Very Little Money

The Entrepreneur’s Advisor on Blogtalkradio

6 Comments on “Entrepreneur’s Do Not Need to Buy Start Up Guidance

Nancy Grossbart
April 13, 2010 at 9:57 am

Stuart:

Thanks so much for the coaching help on my blog and article writing. You helped move me to the next step in my SEO knowledge!

Nancy

Stuart W Smith
April 13, 2010 at 2:15 pm

You new blog look great, glad I was able to help.

Stuart W Smith
April 11, 2010 at 7:03 am

Jacob,

I agree that some entrepreneurs needs an advisor or even some coaching to help them along. That after all is the purpose of The Entrepreneur’s Advisor™. On the other hand, I think there are two separate issues here.

The first is that I do not believe you can train someone to be an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is a mindset. It is about the recognition of opportunity and setting a plan of action to achieve your goal. The most important thing any advisor or coach can do is to help a potential business owner think through their idea. As the thought process progresses this is when you uncover the business technicalities that they may need to learn.

You can teach someone business principles but not how to run a business. I have no issues with schools and other learning places (include online courses, books, seminars etc.) to teach business principles. I do have great concern that many of the these places of learning have little or no value and do nothing more than help people part with their money. Too many of these “courses” are being taught by people with limited start-up experience and knowledge. The same applies to advisors.

The second issue was the crux of my post. The # 1 reason start up business, micro-enterprises fail is the failure to thing through an idea. I have many post on this subject. The entrepreneur must think their own idea through – this should not be done for them. Ownership vision comes from the founders, it can not be taught but it can be developed.

Thinking through your idea will help to avoid the unecessary cash drains. When you run out of money, your business fails. – END OF STORY. Therefore it is imperative that entrepreneurs take the time to make use of the free resources available to them.

Jacob, I do agree that SCORE assisance is hot or miss with regards to quality. Soe advisors are useless and some like in Tampa have great knowledge and vision.

Eric, I am glad to see you adjust your articles page. Please understand, when I evaluate sites as potential resources for entrepreneurs and micro-enterprise owners blank pages are a huge red flag for me.

Mike, I am happy to see you reach out to the youth. They are the future of our economy.

Jacob M Engel
April 11, 2010 at 5:52 am

Stuart,
While I agree that anyone can become an entrpreneur without having to pay for a certificate, I agree with Erick that the reason most entrepreneurs fail is because they enter business the “dumb” way. Yes, you can learn everthing by reading books, but people don’t read. Yes, you can go to SCORE (I personally don’t think they are effective) but people don’t. However, you could start a business smartly and on the cheap with getting top notch training and coaching…My group is doing a 10 week training for entrpreneurs with the best of the breed trainers (used by major corporations) , that our particpants would have spent 2 to 3 times the amount for. In my many years running a family business I realized that both entrepreneurs and especially family businesses need someone to help them get the right knowledge to be effective in their business. Doing it smartly can mean getting trained by the best trainers, but not paying retail. I would be happy to share my resources to anyone that contacts me.
Brgds
Jacob

Mike Stamatelos
April 9, 2010 at 4:15 am

Stuart,

It’s unbelievable how much entrepreneurs are willing to pay for knowledge that can easily be found online or in books for little or no cost. I agree it is important for start-ups to conglomerate as much know-how as possible to diminish their chances of failure and inefficient use of resources, but a line must be drawn.

A local Pittsburgh entrepreneurship radio station is hosting some very young entrepreneurs today (Friday) from 3 to 6 pm on http://www.TAEradio.com. I believe that there is going to be three kids on it: it should be interesting to see that in some situations, it is a strong intstinct and a dedication to intuition that bring success, not a certification.

Erik Bowman
April 5, 2010 at 6:05 am

Hi Stuart,

Thanks for the mention of Guanzi Institute in your blog post. I agree with your statement that, “entrepreneurs or potential business owners do not need a certification to start a business or even gather the knowledge necessary to know how to start a business”, however, you can either start your business ‘smart’ or your can start a business ‘dumb’. Unless you’ve started a business before or have a couple of very good seasoned advisors, you will probably start your business ‘dumb’. Starting a business ‘dumb’ will cost a great deal more in the future than starting it ‘smart’ from the beginning.

One bad startup decision could potentially cause your business to fail before you attract your first customer.

I will also agree that the certificate students receive is secondary to the transfer of knowledge and the time and cost savings when compared to a traditional MBA program.
A certification program is useless without actual understanding and application of the principles conveyed through the curriculum. And the $495 is an obvious bargain when you compare the value of the curriculum against the potential cost of an advisor or an MBA program.

It’s easy to tell would-be entrepreneurs that they can find all the information they need to start a business online for free after you personally invested a couple of years earning your MBA and investing $100k + in being taught what was freely available.

Call it ‘insurance against bad startup decisions’ or call it ‘Certified Entrepreneur’, the $495 tuition will easily pay for itself before you even launch your business.

Best,
Erik Bowman

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