My grandfather defined enterprise and opportunity for our family.
Born in 1885 and raised in a coal mining town in Southern Illinois, the first Clinton Richardson was pulled out of school in the third grade to work in the local coal mine. His first job was sorting rocks on the tipple.
My great grandmother used to tell how she knew when my grandfather was returning with her husband from the mines after dark. Each wore a light on their hat and carried a metal lunch pail. She could hear young Clinton's lunch pail scraping on the ground as they approached. The lights from her two boys' hats, one high adult light and one much lower light from young Clinton, made them unmistakable.
Hard Work and Core Values.
The picture on the cover of Richardson's Growth Company Guide 5.0 shows my grandfather as an adult in 1923 leading a team of men in opening a coal mine in southern Illinois. He is third from the right on the front row with the heavy buttoned sweater. Under his guidance, the mine he managed would become the largest coal mine in the world.
Hard work, business savvy and a fierce loyalty to a set of core values helped my grandfather succeed beyond expectations. While running the mine, he also became the mayor of his home town and raised a family.
My father was the youngest of his five children who escaped working in the mines by winning a Senatorial appointment to West Point. A successful entrepreneur in his own right, dad passed his father's values on to his sons along with some he picked up at West Point during WWII.
There were 'no excuses' in our home just as there were none in his dad's. You could make mistakes with no recrimination but you owned up to them and went about setting them straight. Hard work and
With hard work and a spirit of enterprise, these values helped my dad start and grow his own business from scratch. With great partners, he innovated in his industry and grew jobs for the local economy. And in the process, he built a great life for his family and co-workers.
Fund Raising Struggles.
My dad struggled though with raising enough money to properly fund his businesses, learning through hard-knocks the kinds of practical lessons you need to learn before you can raise equity capital on favorable terms. There never seemed enough time or readily available resources available to properly arm him with the kind of information that enables an entrepreneur to negotiate for the good financing terms.
After practicing law for many years and advising both entrepreneurs and venture capital investors in numerous financings it became apparent to me that my father was not alone. Most entrepreneurs just do not have the training or experience to negotiate on even terms with the professional venture investors who fund their companies.
Help for Entrepreneurs.
The Growth Company Guide was my answer to this imbalance. By providing expert explanations of the fundraising process and the terms and tools used to structure venture deals in an easily accessible alphabetical-terms format, the Guide gives entrepreneurs the tool they need to deal successfully with professional investors. Think of the Guide as a way to level the playing field in the area of venture finance.
The "Reference of Choice." *
In the 30+ years its many editions and updates have been in print, it has been used not just by entrepreneurs but also by venture funds to train their associates on deal making. Colleges and new business incubators use the text to train entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial students.
Dutch venture fund organizers used the book to help them think through their processes as they formed a new fund. A French resource calls the Guide "la bible du venture capital." Even the Soviet Union (remember them) ordered case quantities of the book in an earlier edition to train a new generation of would-be entrepreneurs during Glasnost. (Poetically perhaps, Glasnost collapsed and the books were never paid for.)
Closer to home, the Kaufmann Center for Entrepreneurship's online resource and Entrepreneur magazine both praised the book. The Oxford Center for Entrepreneurship says the Growth Company Guide is "[f]ar and away the most important read for entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses." The National Venture Capital Association used the book in its new associate training program. And even authoritative law review articles have referenced the book.
Level the Playing Field.
If you know someone who needs to raise capital for his business, tell them about us and the Growth Company Guide.
*Quote from Robert G. Schwartz, as Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, Eastern Washington University