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Lesson 3 of the Art of War for Entrepreneurs Twitter Series: Start-Up Ignorance Kills

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Wu Chi, one of the first commentators of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, wrote in its margins, “When men die in war, it is usually because they get themselves into trouble through ignorance….”

When running a business–a new venture especially—ignorance can kill your business in the start-up phase. Before you go into business, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!  There are a multitude of surprises during the actual day-to-day operation of the business that you could never anticipate and must have time to handle.  To do that, you need to have all of the initial administrative (i.e., start-up) tasks completed and out of the way.  Yes you need to decide whether to or how to incorporate, what kind of insurance should you carry, etc.  And YES you need a business plan.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can handle all this stuff “as it comes up” after you open your doors and don’t subscribe to the school of thought that “you don’t know what you don’t know”.  It is your job to know all you need to do and do it before you open your business.  There are several great books on the topic of starting a business, no matter what type of business, and they are worth your time.

I have been running my business for almost 2 years now and not a day goes by that I’m not thankful that I took the time to incorporate, line up all my insurance, create my business plan, and a host of other start-up tasks ahead of time.

Don’t handle your start-up to do list after you are open for business—do it before-hand so ignorance won’t kill your business.

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  • Miss B.

    August 11, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog. In this article you mentioned that “There are several great books on the topic of starting a business, no matter what type of business, and they are worth your time.” Would you please provide a list of those books? Thank You!

  • Michelle Roberts

    August 15, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Hi Miss B. Thank you for your comment! I will put together a quick list of the books for you. What is your email address? You can send me a mail at so I can send you the list of books I found helpful. Then I’ll add it to this post.

    Thanks again for your comment!

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