After way too much traveling, I finally got back to my office Monday morning to find a fresh new copy of Susan Solivic’s new book It’s Your Biz: The Complete Guide to Becoming Your Own Boss. I hope you know Susan as a frequent author here on Up and Running. She’s founder of, and before that, a frequent talking head on several national television programs, and author of three previous books and thousands of web posts and articles.

She knows this territory well. She’s been there. And she’s written a great summary, comprehensive, a start-to-finish how-to manual on starting a business. (Aside: which I hate to call being your own boss, because your customers’ are your own boss, but this is still a great book, even with that subtitle).

In 12 chapters, Susan gives a reader a very nice mix of deep and thoughtful behind the scenes guides for thinking, plus specific, practical on-the-ground advice. She covers concepts and strategy, sales and marketing, hiring, dealing with legal matters, protecting yourself, choosing a location, and even – the magic secret sauce – pricing.

For an example of  the deep, thoughtful, and – to my mind – essential, here’s a quote from Susan’s chapter  “Purpose, Promise, and Principles:”

Why are you doing what you’re doing? It’s amazing how many business owners and their teams go through the motions of running their businesses on a day-to-day basis without ever understanding the purpose behind what they’re doing. They might as well be zombies. Business without a purpose don’t have a heart. They don’t stand for anything, and as a result, they don’t stand out from similar businesses.

And as an example of practical advice tempered by true stories and learning from mistakes, I like this simple real-world personal example for her chapter on hiring employees, titled “People Matter:”

I didn’t listen to my own advice once when it came to hiring a new employee. Not only did I pay the price, but so did my team. My choice had been between two job applicatns; one had slightly more digital media experience than the other, but the one with less experience seemed a better personality fit. What did I do? I hired the one with more experience.

He was a bad fit from the very first day. In the end, he slammed the door to our executive producer’s office and marched back to his office. I followed closely on his heels and dismissed him on the spot.

If you’re looking at starting up, this book is easy to read and full of useful advice, examples, questions, and stories.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.