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business per se (although you might be). The passion circle can be equally focused on what the company stands for. For example, the [Fannie Mae Foundation] people were not passionate about the mechanical process of packaging mortgages into market securities. But they were terrifically motivated by the whole idea of helping people of all classes, backgrounds, and races realize the American dream of owning their home.”


Over the past few years, the decreasing cost and increasing sophistication of the services available to solo entrepreneurs has expanded dramatically. This expansion and the high value now embedded in off-the-shelf services are central to the successful emergence of go-it-alone businesses.

The discussion here is limited to explaining what is meant by off-the-shelf products and services and why they are central in facilitating the start-up of a go-it-alone business. A far more detailed discussion of these capabilities appears in Chapter 3, “The Great Shift in What’s Possible.” Today you can subscribe, at almost ridiculously low monthly costs, to a host of services that provide an entire infrastructure for a business. As a result, you can spend almost no capital to get a business off the ground. As noted earlier, you can take advantage of the Yahoo! Store, a full-featured, easy-to-use Internet business hosting and transaction service, for less than $100 per month. The power of these tools cannot be overstated: At least one Silicon Valley start-up scrapped plans for a custom-developed e-commerce Web site, with a budgeted cost in excess of $200,000, after recognizing that the Yahoo! Store could meet its needs.

The implications are significant: Start-up businesses can inexpensively tap sophisticated, state-of-the-art capabilities that were previously available only to larger, wealthier entities. And this is

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GO IT ALONE! Copyright 2004 by Bruce Judson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.