How to Invest in Your Startup

Did you know that nearly all the tools you would need in order to build a successful career can be learned from experience as a paperboy or papergirl? Don’t believe me? Check out A Paperboy's Fable: The 11 Principles of Success, by Deep Patel. It is a charming story that teaches many extremely complex business principles in a way that is engaging and fun.

Written by: Deep Patel

Publisher: Post Hill Press (June 7, 2016)

Featuring interviews with entrepreneurs, professors, and business leaders, including:
- General David Petraeus
- Professor William Kerr, Professor at Harvard Business School
- Derek Lidow, Global CEO, Professor at Princeton University
- Heidi Gardner, Lecturer at Harvard Law School

The 11 Principals of Success taught through the fable should be understood by all small business owners.​

The main character is a young man named Ty who “wants to make enough money to live the lifestyle he chooses” over the course of his senior year at high school. What starts out as a simple paper route soon becomes so much more as his multiple business models spring into action. I found it easy to care about Ty and want him to succeed, and the aspiring entrepreneur will also learn from his actions (and mistakes) as he climbs his way to the top.

You will learn a great deal about starting your own business from A Paperboy’s Fable, Specifically, the book shows how to identify the market and its potential for growth, how to identify a demographic and pinpoint their needs, and, most importantly, how to properly invest in their business for maximum profits. Reading it will open many eyes on how to view investments in general, and will make people realize that there are a few investing mistakes that they are making with their own business. Investments will feel much more directed, allowing the reader to know what to expect in return.

A Paperboy’s Fable is also full of tips and shortcuts that will save you money as you expand your business. Through colorful dialogue, readers will learn the difference between spending and investing as well as obtain the ability to help others while making money, to retain clients, to combine industries when possible through cross-promotion, and to choose the best equipment and how to haggle. For example, did you know that there can be such a thing as too much customer service? When I began my career, I certainly never thought so. However, now it has become another thing you can avoid as a novice.

After the main story of A Paperboy’s Fable concludes, the author follows up with multiple interviews from entrepreneurs all across the nation. These interviewees range from General DavidPatraeus (who apparently used to be a paperboy himself) to Gina Smith, co-author of the best-selling autobiography of Applecofounder Steve Wozniak. The questions were very poignant, and the responses flowed well. I was fascinated by what these people thought of fear, how they created a brand image, how they raised money, how they invested, and how they ultimately connected with their vision.

Deep Patel said he unitized a social media site for professionals to reach his interviewees. Patel revealed in an interview with The Huffington Post: “Linkedin is an extraordinary community full of professional and influential people. I thought it would be a great resource for my book. I set up my profile and started networking with people I thought could help me. I networked with the people I already knew, who had larger connections, and continued to build connections. There were people who didn’t have time to respond, but I just kept trying. Honestly, I thought it was a numbers game. I expected to hear back from 1 out of every 25 people I contacted.”

My personal favorite moment of the book was during an interview with William Kerr, a Harvard professor who discusses the theoretical science behind entrepreneurship. At one point in the interview, he gives advice on what to do once your company goes global. He discusses how ideas are disseminated on a global scale, and how international relations will affect your company once it becomes large enough. I hadn’t even thought that far ahead, but it made me want to get to that level. How inspiring! Most importantly, however, he talks about where to look for funding, and different ways for startup businesses to find money.

Deep Patel is only seventeen. I could not believe that such a young writer had packed so much information into such a small book. Furthermore, His writing style is incredibly solid and concise, and he uses an excellent blend of stories and interviews to drive important business lessons home.

All in all, I would definitely encourage anybody who wants to start working for themselves to read this book at least once. In fact, A Paperboy’s Fable is a work that should be a required read in all colleges. The wealth of information will have novices and experts thinking hard every time they crack it open. This is a groundbreaking work, and Deep Patel should be proud.

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