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Beacon Business Consulting
The Beacon Newsletter, Vol. 1, Issue 3

Find The Knack for Small Business

The Knack, written by Inc. columnists Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham, is an excellent reference for practical knowledge for small business success.

If you are looking for a last-minute Christmas present for your staff or a fellow small business owner, The Knack (Portfolio/Penguin 2008) is a fast-paced, informative read on how to succeed as an entrepreneur. Written by long-time Inc. magazine columnists Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham, The Knack offers considerable advice on the "street smarts" needed to succeed as a small business owner.

The tips Mr. Brodsky and Mr. Burlingham offer are not academic in nature. For example, one of Mr. Brodsky's first pieces of advice is to calculate your finances by hand. In today's era of PowerPoint and Excel, one may think of such an exercise as antiquated. After trying this idea, I gained a great deal of insight into my business plan financials.

The Knack also offers great advice on topics such as what metrics to follow (the initial metric in this month's feature article, gross margins, is directly from this book) to the one thing the owner cannot delegate (hint—it is not sales or financial management). Mr. Brodsky and Mr. Burlingham apply their considerable talents and experience to produce a book that is an excellent addition to the library of any business owner, employee, or business student.

Publishers Weekly

Brodsky and Burlingham, both Inc. magazine columnists, offer a host of advice to budding businesspeople in this thoughtful guide. Having seen businesses fail and succeed, the authors have served as mentors to a wide variety of self-starters and use their experiences as object lessons. The book focuses mainly on big-picture practicalities—the protection of startup capital and the necessity of focusing on high-profit-margin sales—but also expounds on overcoming the sales mindset in favor of the entrepreneurial mentality and facing mistakes with grace and an eye to learning. With a clear, conversational style, the authors give advice on raising capital, maintaining relationships with banks and lenders, customer relations, dealing with unexpected roadblocks and hiring good management. But in the end, they contend that entrepreneurship is not only a passion but a way to achieve a happier, richer, fuller life for ourselves and for our children and grandchildren-and with the right mental habits and skills, anyone can achieve entrepreneurial success. Encouraging, succinct and informative, this is an excellent guide for anyone looking to dive into a new business or expand an existing one.


"Survival Tips for Small Businesses: Norm Brodsky shares advice from his new book, 'The Knack'," Money Matters, ABC News Now: October 14, 2008. Watch Now


 Interview with Dr. Alvin Jones on WCBQ: October 3, 2008.


Jack Covert, "Jack Covert Selects - The Knack," 800-CEO-READ Blog: December 11, 2008. Read Now

Pat Sisneros and Lynne Munoz, "A new must-read for entrepreneurs," HeraldNet: December 1, 2008. Read Now

Cheryl Isaac, "Find a 'knack' for business and be 'real'," Isaac Business Services Blog: November 30, 2008. Read Now

Sarah Dayton, "Do You Have the Knack?," Soundview Executive Book Summaries Editor's Blog: November 14, 2008. Read Now

John Caddell, "From The Mistake Bank: Surprised by a large customer defection," Shop Talk: Innovation, Marketing and Alliances: October 09, 2008. Read Now