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Lessons From the Edge

Survival Skills for Starting and Growing a Company

Jana Matthews and Jeff Dennis
With Peter Economy

Publication Date - September 2003

ISBN: 9780195168259

288 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $34.95

A survival kit for entrepreneurs! Hard hitting stories from more than 50 real-life entrepreneurs who reveal how to keep a company alive and well


Entrepreneurs often struggle with many aspects of business: planning and financing company growth, creating a company vision, recruiting, leading, and managing people, as well as personal costs. In Lessons from the Edge, more than 50 business owners and entrepreneurs offer a wealth of real-life stories--in their own words--that provide rare insights about keeping a company healthy and growing.
Here is a unique collection of first-person accounts by entrepreneurs who describe their mistakes in business and the lessons they have learned as a result. The stories cover a wide range of experiences from the trials and tribulations of partnerships, to the loss of key customers, theft, finding and retaining employees, and the personal cost of living on the edge. The authors have drawn on interviews with more than 50 entrepreneurs, all of whom are under 45 years of age and are founders or presidents of companies with revenues over $1 million and growing rapidly. They volunteered to share their stories, describing why they lost or almost lost their companies, what they did wrong, and the lessons they have learned. Their narratives are full of mistakes, failure, courage, moments of realization, and timely moves that saved the day. Every company owner will find these accounts insightful, compelling, and occasionally gut wrenching, especially because most face similar challenges and live with the reality that they too could fall off the edge.
This instructive and inspiring book brims with lessons for all business owners about courage, persistence, and survival. Lessons from the Edge is an essential read for both established and prospective entrepreneurs.

About the Author(s)

Jana Matthews, an international expert on company growth, founded Boulder Quantum Ventures to help CEOs, entrepreneurs, and their top teams unlock their growth potential. She frequently works with the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, Babson College, the Kauffman Center and the Edward Lowe Foundation. She is the co-author of Leading at the Speed of Growth, Building the Awesome Organization, and five other books. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Jeff Dennis is a life-long entrepreneur. As the co-founder of Flagship Capital Partners, he has been involved in start-ups, acquisitions and financings for a variety of businesses. His current entrepreneurial project is Secutor Capital Management Corporation. Through his association with YEO and the Kauffman Center, he has created a series of "Lessons from the Edge" seminars. He lives in Toronto.
Peter Economy is Associate Editor of Leader to Leader magazine and co-author of Leadership Ensemble: Lessons in Collaborative Management from the World's Only Conductorless Orchestra and the best-selling Managing For Dummies among others. He lives in La Jolla, California.


"Successes inspire us, but we learn and grow from failure. Lessons From the Edge is a wonderful opportunity to walk in the shoes of entrepreneurs who learned from their mistakes so they could help us avoid them!"--Kathleen Allen, Entrepreneur, and Director, USC Technology Commercialization Alliance

"As an entrepreneur, at times I thought I was reading about myself. At other times, I learned something new and what not to do. And in the end it reinvigorates me about entrepreneurship the risks, rewards and ability to come back. A must read!"--Keith Alper, Founder & CEO, Creative Producers Group and Companies, and Past Intl President, YEO International

"No one said it would be easy. Matthews, Dennis, and Economy share the lessons learned through difficult experience so that other entrepreneurs can avoid disaster or survive it."--Rob Johnston, President, Leader to Leader Institute

"This book captures the spirit, vision, and tenacity of the entrepreneur. Lessons worth noting and using!"--Paul and Sarah Edwards, authors of the best-selling Working From Home

"Lessons from the Edge, told by real entrepreneurs who have faced disaster, provides powerful insights for navigating the edges and increasing the probability of success."--Mark P. Rice, Murata Dean, F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business, Babson College