A while back, a Chicago entrepreneur named Jay Goltz stopped by the Inc. office to talk to our writers and editors about how he runs his company. You might remember Jay from the February 2006 issue, where his photograph appeared on the cover under a banner headline announcing that Small Is the New Big. We still think small is the new big (more on that in our August issue), but that's not why I bring up Jay.
Jay talked to the Inc. group about the business stage just after start-up, when an entrepreneur's idea is off the ground, some revenue is coming in, and, suddenly, he or she looks around and realizes that there are more than one or two employees in the company -- there are five, six, 10 of them, some even working in other cities. This is the moment, Jay told us, when entrepreneurs need to start operating their companies as businesses, with policies, practices, and procedures that cover hiring and firing, vacation time, 401(k)s, health insurance, and the like. Jay wished there had been basic advice on these subjects when he had needed it. He thought Inc. might provide it for its readers.
We agreed. So in April we launched the Inc. Guidebook -- instantly recognizable in our pages by its uncoated paper stock and perforated edge, which allows it to be torn out and saved for easy reference. We've already written about how to set up a 401(k) plan, make great hires, and choose the right health care plan; this month, we write about how to set up a board of advisers. Jay's idea was to help out companies that are just beyond the launch phase. We think the Guidebook does just that. More mature companies will find good, practical advice in it, too.
A different kind of advice can be found in our annual startup package, which begins on page 89. In this feature, we pair some young entrepreneurs with their older and wiser counterparts. The owner of a vegan bakery in New York City gets great feedback from Tom Colicchio, star of the TV show Top Chef and the impresario of Craft restaurants. Others hear from E-Trade's Christos Cotsakos, AOL's Ted Leonsis, and designer Liz Lange. These seasoned entrepreneurs offer thoughtful suggestions as well as criticism (not coddling). And sometimes, believe it or not, the upstarts even agree with them.