Book review: The Startup Checklist
Bookmarks at the ready
While at London Tech Week, we picked up a copy of David S. Rose’s new book, The Startup Checklist.
There are loads of sources of advice out there for startups, so it can be difficult to know which you can trust. As an agency that prides itself on supporting startups, we thought we’d help small businesses out by giving this book the once over.
Check out our review before picking up your own copy here.
What’s it about?
The Startup Checklist pitches itself as ‘one of a kind’ – the foreword details why an entrepreneur should read this book rather than the “other 93,210 books on entrepreneurship” out there.
Whether there are actually that many other books on entrepreneurship, we’re not quite sure. However, it’s clear that the author, David S. Rose, has a lot of confidence in The Startup Checklist.
Speaking about his book, Rose said:
“The Startup Checklist is designed for a very specific type of business starter: the entrepreneur who is deliberately setting out to create a scalable, high-growth business designed for the 21st century. A business that will likely hire employees, issue stock options, raise money from outside investors, grow rapidly, and eventually either be acquired by a larger company or “go public” through an Initial Public Offering. It turns out that starting that kind of business gets very complicated, very quickly. Making even small mistakes at beginning can cause problems at every later step along the way.”
Sounds promising – who wouldn’t want to read that?!
So who’s the author?
Google David S. Rose and you’ll find various descriptions of him as a ‘serial entrepreneur’.
As well as founding his own software company and helping to establish the ‘Silicon Alley’ tech scene in New York City, David Rose has also invested in over 100 businesses. He founded New York Angels, an early-stage tech investment group, and international investing group, Space Angels Network.
Clearly, then, anything David Rose has to say about securing investment is going to be worth reading. The Startup Checklist devotes several chapters to funding and investment, and how an entrepreneur can use it to grow their business.
What did you think?
Let’s start with the basics. The book is well-structured, and divided up into manageable chunks. It’s also fairly easy to read. The book is split into the three main themes that will interest an entrepreneur: ‘prepare to launch’, ‘launch and build your business’, and ‘raise funds, collaborate for investment, prepare to leave’.
Across these three themes, the book is broken down into 25 steps for launching and growing a startup. Since the whole book is structured like a checklist, it seems really achievable to follow the advice it gives.
The publishers have also put together some extra information to compliment The Startup Checklist. By creating an account at gust.com, entrepreneurs can gain access to an online, interactive version of the checklist, as well as some additional resources and materials.
One query we did have about the book was whether it was too US-centric for UK readers. All the figures given are in dollars, and most of the examples and quotes feature American entrepreneurs. However, on further reading, we found that the book did tackle this. There’s an appendix at the end of The Startup Checklist titled ‘launching a US corporation from a foreign country’. This is a nice addition – it helps UK entrepreneurs adapt the advice given in the book to their own advantage.
On the whole, we liked this book. David Rose is an experienced and authoritative entrepreneur, and it’s interesting to read his insight and opinions.
The tone of the book is a little corporate, and we weren’t really keen on that. In our opinion, startups that thrive tend to be ones with their own unique personalities. Likewise, despite the helpful appendix, we still found the US terminology a little off-putting. While it may be more helpful for startups looking to branch out into US markets, it’s not a natural fit for UK businesses seeking to grow.
In our opinion, The Startup Checklist is definitely worth a read. However, we might not follow it quite as rigidly as a checklist. We’d look at it more as source of inspiration: more useful when you put your own personal spin on it.
We’ll leave you with one of our favourite parts of the book. Chapter seven is titled ‘establish your brand with online public profiles’. To us, that sounds a lot like PR. We liked this little quote in particular:
“There’s an old joke in the software field that the very first thing an entrepreneur does with a new company is to design the T-shirt. But in fact, it’s not a joke! The days of having to go to a Madsion Avenue advertising agency for “corporate identity development” and pay Don Draper hundreds of thousands of dollars for a logo are gone. Instead, a quick web search will return over 20 million results for “logo design”, of which 383,000 offer “free design services”. So get yourself a nice logo, come up with a name for the company, and get going.”
We couldn’t agree more!
Have you read The Startup Checklist? We’d love to know what you think.
The Startup Checklist