Tips for Start-Ups: Here's What Really Works

Here's a sampling from the new book, The Illusions of Entrepreneurship.


Scott Shane in the Shaker Heights, Ohio, cafe where he wrote his book.

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Tips on how to run a start-up are everywhere, but Scott Shane, professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University, bases his advice on hard data about what really works. Here's a sampling from his new book, The Illusions of Entrepreneurship.

Don't follow the beaten path. The typical entrepreneur just does what he or she did when he worked for someone else. "The successful ones go after the [customers] nobody was serving before," Shane says.

Don't fret about financing. Obtaining venture capital is quite rare. Worry instead about getting your business off the ground. Finance it with savings.

Incorporate. "A corporation has limited liability, and that protects the entrepreneur so they can only lose the amount of money they put into the business," Shane says.

Choose your industry wisely. Tech-heavy industries are the most likely to grow fast. But get experience in one before launching a start-up.

Education counts. At every educational level, except for a Ph.D., a degree increases an entrepreneur's chances of success.