My parents and I immigrated to the United States when I was 5 years old. My mother would tell me that “the United States is the only place left in the world where a pauper, with enough hard work and ingenuity, could turn into a prince.” Among the many adventures my parents took me on, one was in the world of start-ups. My father, a Ph.D Geologist, and my mother, a Ph.D Nuclear Engineer, decided that they were going to open a dry cleaning business. They developed a chemical combination that would remove stains and “browning” from any material. Even though they had a great idea, the business eventually failed. With that, my lifelong interest in entrepreneurs and start-ups began.
Today, almost on a daily basis, I speak to entrepreneurs, advising them on how to best commercialize their intellectual property. And I work with many folks here at Lane Powell who are very good at advising start-ups on how, when, and where to look for and invite in investors. There are times that I send a client away to do more work before moving forward with his case; the most common reason being that the entrepreneur does not have a clear vision of where he is going and how much money he needs to get there. I am always looking for checklist and books to hand these entrepreneurs. The other day, while browsing, I found a book that will be added to my must-read list for entrepreneurs: “Start on Purpose: Everything You Need to Know and Do Startup” by author Susan Scherter. Ms. Scherter has an MBA with a background in finance and regularly provides guidance to entrepreneurs providing direction on how to start-up.
Ms. Scherter’s book provides detailed checklists of everything an entrepreneur needs to think of prior to starting up. Each checklist is accompanied by detailed reasoning of why an entrepreneur should be thinking about particular issues. These lists are very thoughtfully put together. The intellectual property section is right on point. I would have wanted Ms. Schreter to address the difference between do-it-yourself legal services such as LegalZoom™ and retaining a law firm. Entrepreneur’s often ask about this issue — a neutral perspective would be helpful. Ms. Schreter’s book is one that an entrepreneur will go back to over and over again.
As always, I read the acknowledgements because I think it reveals interesting insight about the Author. I was excited to see that Ms. Schreter works closely with SCORE, a group of retired CEO and other business professionals who give their time to help entrepreneurs; I often refer clients to this program, and am pleased to say that they often refer clients to me. Also, Ms. Schrether works with the Small Business Administration (“SBA”); another important group we have in common. I often participate in SBA workshops. Then I saw that Ms. Shrether acknowledged my good friend and colleague Steve Winters, an extra-cool, intellectual property lawyer here at Lane Powell. Steve helped Ms. Shreter edit the intellectual property section of the book. All green lights for Ms. Schreter.
Thank you Ms. Schreter, for crafting the go-to book that all entrepreneurs needed. And I am sure if my parents had this book and started on purpose, their business would have most likely succeeded.
Oh, and what ever happened to my parents? They spent the rest of their lives in very successful science careers (the business world was not for them). My mother, after retiring from her first career, went back to teach science and math at a high school where most kids are considered ‘at risk.’ My father retired and became active in politics.