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The Art of the Start Summary

9 min read ⌚ 

Keep in touch with reality. Stay focused on science, but put your ideas into practice as you are an artist.

These should be the prerequisite for any start-up business. Any step you make in implementing your business ideas should be done with wisdom, but also with talent and creativity.


The essence of entrepreneurship is doing, not learning to do.

The Art of the Start Summary

Guy Kawasaki’s book – The Art of the Start 2.0 – represents, in fact, an entrepreneurship handbook. It is practically a giant slalom through demanding tools of science and surprising results of spontaneity and creativity.

Guy Kawasaki shares his experiences. He makes available plenty of practical advice regarding business ideas, new social media, what’s useful and what’s not in business.

“The Art of the Start” is book divided into eleven chapters each contains a set of valuable information. Nowadays, it’s difficult to build a company from scratch, but that’s often the case. Guy Kawasaki, the author of this step by step guide, offers a solution to this problem. This book conveys a simple and straightforward message that all of the necessary elements of success are already in you. All you need to do is, to analyze the environment and design a proper solution.

We stimulate this book due to various reasons. The first one is – it helps newcomers to position their companies on the market, and second, it provides first-hand examples, relevant to the more experienced entrepreneurs.

If you wish to become a wealthy individual, a shift in focus is crucial. This book summary is only a representative of a real force that will ultimately give you success and prosperity. Learning and preparation are also a part of the same game, but they are embedded in the right long-term business plan.

In this book, he gives you the chance to take the red pill of the Matrix, to discover what is behind any powerful business. And if you started to read the first lines – you accepted this challenge.

And now, that you have taken the red pill, enjoy the ride! From now on you will experience the learning of brand new things like:

The art of starting up

Myth or reality? Which will be the best way to start a startup business? The myth says: “successful companies begin with grandiose ambitions.”

But Guy Kawasaki changes the perspective: “great companies began by asking simple questions” like:

Therefore, what?( in order to predict a trend). Isn’t that interesting? (regarding intellectual curiosity and accidental discovery). Is there a better way? (frustration with the current state of art). Why doesn’t our company do this? (frustration with your current employer). Where is the market leader weak? (related to innovation, customers satisfaction and way of doing business)

On your way to successfully start a startup business, ask yourself if you have at least 2 of the 3 main ingredients to achieve your goals: expertise, passion, and opportunities.

Rules are mandatory. So Guy Kawasaki is generously sharing these with us:

  1. Make meaning – “If you make meaning, you’ll probably also make money.” ;
  2. Make mantra – for explaining “the meaning that your startup is seeking to make”;
  3. Pick a business model – by wisely focusing on money availability (yours and your customers’) ;
  4. Keep things clean and simple – by focusing your energy and attention on milestones issues;
  5. Do something cringe-worthy – after all, “how it evolves is as important as how it begins”;

Reality checkpoint: Do not forget the reason why you started this journey.

The art of launching

Let’s start launching some great products that may change even the way of living. Advertising your product? Not mandatory anymore.

You should focus especially on building a good one. Being worried about what’s wrong or good, what works or not, will be just a waste of time.

The Art of the Start Summary

Dare to experiment! Listen to the customers! A lot of great products were launched with a specific application and became what the market wanted. And this was possible just because the companies listened.

And if you are curious to know what the qualities of curve jumping products mean, the answer is quite simple: DICEE (deep, intelligent, complete, empowering, elegant).

Reality checkpoint: This is not about killing your competition. This is more about providing dreams to the customers. And these should be adapted to each target’s expectations, easy to use, and unique.

The art of leading

If you think that leadership is deciding what you want and telling people to do it, I feel sorry for you. Reality is going kick your ass so far that not even Google will find you.

How can you achieve the art of leading? The first step may be to take into account some of Guy’s rules:

Exude optimism. Establish a culture of execution. Take the “red pill”. Get a Morpheus. Get a Devil’s Advocate. Hire better than yourself. Make people better. Focus on strengths. Address your shortcomings first.  And the list is much longer.

Maybe you think that you need more information to decrypt the full message behind those rules. If you do so, I think it’s time for you to open this book at the chapter about leadership.

Until then, try to analyze this:

,,As the leader of the organization, you are responsible for results, and results are the product of a culture of execution. This means that everyone delivers on their promises unless there are unforeseen circumstances’’

Reality checkpoint: Improve yourself, improve your team, and focus on strengths!

The art of bootstrapping

There is plenty of room for people in your business. Take a look around. What do you need? What do your ideas need for being well implemented?

It is hard, even for you, to believe that you are able to do all the work by yourself. If you want to make a difference, to make it mean something, you need to gather around you talented people with the limited resources of money that you have. Do more with less’ rule can be applied. How can you do that?

Reality checkpoint: be prepared for the moments when things could go wrong. Have always a plan B. And face the truth: business with no risks may be possible only in fairy tales.

The question is what you are willing to do when the conditions are far from perfect. If entrepreneurship was without risk more people would try it’’

The art of fund-raising

Money is the engine of any business. If they usually move the world, they will definitely make your startup business grow.

Which will be the primary steps in finding the money for your business? Guy has no doubts: fund-raising.

Fund-raising is necessary for an organization because you need money to carry on. Don’t go to a meeting with potential investors without being prepared. Find out what is important to them. Make your business plan personal, discuss strengths and weaknesses.

When people see that they can believe you about bad stuff, they are more willing to believe you about good stuff.

And be well prepared to manage even bad situations. After all ‘’Great entrepreneurs survive when things go wrong‘’.

Reality checkpoint: investors are generally looking for a proven team but there is something more important than this in your business plan: the sales figures.

The art of pitching

“I pitch, therefore I am” because this means connections which are providing opportunities to develop your business.

Focus on essential facts. Sometimes 10 slides and 20 minutes it’s all you get. One shot only. If you do it right, you’ll put your business in the front line. If you’ll do it wrong, you’ll have to survive in the background.

Focus more on the “show” that you are presenting, and do not waste time on reading some boring slides.

Focus on what your audience wants to hear. Give dynamism to your ideas and bring color into your phrases.

The Art of the Start PDF

Reality checkpoint: you need to present the problem but also the opportunities, the magic of your business model, your market plan, some competitive analysis, the management team, financial projections, current status, and accomplishments.

Think about this: you may have in your audience plenty of potential customers.  Value this moment right and convince them to buy!

The art of building a team

Your team may become one of your most powerful weapons. So, built it wisely.

A team of people with major and diverse strengths is what you want in the early days when head count is low and there’s little room for redundancy. High achievers tend to have major weaknesses. People without major weaknesses tend to be mediocre.”

You are selling your dream constantly each day, most especially to your team. It’s necessary that they believe in what they are doing. Make them be aware every moment that, from now on, they are part of the game. They may practically bet on your ideas as much as you are. And this means that you are no longer on your own.

Reality checkpoint:”Every day is a new contract between startups and their employees”

The art of evangelizing

The Art of the Start Review

Which are the main rules for proper positioning?

You may start by blurring the boundaries of conventional and focus more on what your customer wants and needs. And you can easily do this by listening to the market.

Treat your market with respect and prepare your speech more carefully than you did for the investor. This is your ultimate challenge.

You need to give a speech at least twenty times in order to get good at it. As Jascha Heifetz said, ‘If I don’t practice one day, I know it. If I don’t practice two days, my critics know it. If I don’t practice three days, everyone knows it.’”

Reality checkpoint: Evangelism is much easier with great stuff than with crap.

The art of socializing

Using social ways to reach new customers is not optional anymore. That’s the ways things are working now. Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube are basic tools in any business as pencils and rulers used to be a long time ago. And if you ever get the chance to be on a new platform, make sure you’ll be one of the first so you can have the advantage of the newcomer.

Social media is the trifecta of marketing: fast, free and ubiquitous. Social media is the best thing that ever happened to entrepreneurs”

Reality checkpoint: You are either building a brand by adding followers and racking up reshares, or you’re not. If you are not pissing someone off on social media, you’re not using it aggressively enough.

The art of rainmaking

In business a rainmaker is a person who generates large quantities of sales. Like medicine men, good salespeople have created rituals and incantations to make it rain.”

Can you become a rainmaker? How can you grow the sales of your product? “One of the most effective ways to make it rain is to educate people about the use of your product”.

Reality checkpoint: Remember: just because you are selling that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily buying.

The art of partnering

The good and the bad: two faces of the same coin.

The good part is that a great partnership can make your business reach the highest standard.

Effective partnership can speed entry into a new geographic area or market segment, open additional channels of distribution, accelerate new product development, and reduce costs”

On the other hand, a bad partnership will lead you directly to the worst part: wasting time, money and energy. It will be wiser to analyze if you really need partners and if you decide to take this step, choose them carefully.

Reality checkpoint: Focus your energies on partnerships that are working and new ones that have greater promise.

The art of enduring

To make your startup last don’t depend on the people at the top. They have their own agenda – such as power, money and self-image”

Gather around you a diversity of people and capabilities. Provide them the proper “space” to do the right things – this may become a powerful way to make a startup endure.

How can you do this? Try some of Guy’s tips and tricks. Use intrinsic methods. Invoke reciprocation. Invoke consistency and social proof.

But this is just half of everything you can do. You can find more in this chapter.

Reality check:  The right way to treat your customers is to put them in control and to do what’s right for them

The art of being a Mensch

How can you achieve manhood? This means the state when the people who matter recognize you as someone who is ethical, graceful, and admirable.

You should try achieving this by:

  • Doing the right things (ethical);
  • Help without expectation of returns (admirable);
  • Repay society (graceful);

Reality check:  For mensches, situation ethics is an oxymoron. Right is right and wrong is wrong.

Guy Kawasaki is giving you the inside of what a startup means. And this is just great! You don’t have to wait 10 years to learn from classic mistakes. It’s just like having an open conversation, face to face, debating about situations from real life.

And if this “words” adventure pleased you and helped you find a new perspective on your business, I’m sure you will agree with this conclusion:

“The essence of entrepreneurship is doing, not learning to do.”

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