Book Review: “Making the Jump” by David Nilssen and Jeff Levy
I am thoroughly convinced that LinkedIn is a great place to meet new people. My business adviser Dan Martin got me in touch with a number of people, including one gentleman in particular, Jeff Levy. After talking with Mr. Levy a bit, he told me about the book he co-authored with David Nilssen, titled Making the Jump Into Small Business Ownership.
It took me only about a week to get through the book, and it now has a special place on my bookshelf, right next to Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. I consider it about as indispensable.
Making the Jump is a valuable handbook, walking the entrepreneur through all the steps of starting a small business, from choosing a target market and finding partners, to securing funding and selecting a legal structure. While only 152 pages long, this book is packed with helpful instruction and advice, to help entrepreneurs of all ages and experience levels to navigate around many of the icebergs that come up when starting a business.
Perhaps most praiseworthy is the fact that over half the book is spent on the entrepreneur himself, covering such topics as motivation, pinpointing and overcoming weaknesses and flaws, capitalizing on strengths, and finding a mentor. I’ve read a good bit of literature on starting a business, but little of what I’ve found has spent much time on the entrepreneur as a person.
Before one can even get a third of the way into Making the Jump, Levy and Nilssen are encouraging the reader to take a hard look at themselves and honestly decide if starting a business is really the best life choice for them. I find this to be a refreshing change from a lot of the fluffy “You Can Start Your Own Business!” pep-talk literature. The authors here don’t pull any punches in explaining the risks and sacrifices involved, but they also don’t spare details on the innumerable benefits.
In reading this book, I had to ask myself the questions “Is this really what I want?” and “Am I cut out for this?” Being able to honestly say “yes!” to both has been a major encouragement for me.
The second part of the book had me examine the business I had chosen, and determine if it was not only the right market for me and my business partners, but also the right time to start the business. While I did find this useful, this section of Making the Jump would be even more useful to an entrepreneur who had not decided on a business yet. Much like in the first part of the book, Levy and Nilssen encouraged careful examination of oneself, as well as the market, as a component of choosing a business.
Finally, Making the Jump helps cut through all of the confusing legal and financial terms that are often bandied about in entrepreneurial circles. It goes into detail on various business structures, means of funding, and how to create a detailed and complete business plan. The latter has been useful in revising my own plan, in preparation for the administrative startup of my own company.
In short, Making the Jump by David Nilssen and Jeff Levy is an invaluable tool for anyone who is seeking to start their own business. I’m encouraging all my fellow business partners to read it. It is a concise, easy-to-understand handbook that should be on every entrepreneur’s bookshelf.