Chic Spotlight: Entrepreneur, Author Elizabeth Edwards PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Palacios   
Monday, 11 April 2011 07:42

Chic Spotlight: Entrepreneur, Author Elizabeth Edwards
A poor economy really throws a wrench in business plans. One local entrepreneur helps make it easier with her recent book geared toward "launching a company for less."

Elizabeth's new book, Startup: The Complete Handbook for Launching a Company for Less

Cincy Chic: We interviewed you back in August for your entrepreneurial endeavors, and now you've put that experience in writing with Startup: The Complete Handbook for Launching a Company for Less. So, what led you to write the book?


Elizabeth Edwards, founder of Metro Innovation and author of Startup: I've had the opportunity to meet thousands of entrepreneurs through my work as a venture capital investor, and I've learned a lot from hearing about their experiences — the good, the bad and the brutal.


Entrepreneurs are an inspiring group, and I wanted to write something that would help them launch faster, save money, and risk less.


The first half of the book is dedicated to pre-launch activities like getting your personal finances in order, creating a business model and revenue model, calculating the feasibility and profitability, and figuring out how to finance your startup.


When you're considering risking thousands of dollars and thousands of hours launching a startup, the most important question to ask yourself is: Is this feasible? I've walked through the same feasibility calculation with hundreds of entrepreneurs. What's your number? How many do you need to sell in order to live? Is that reasonable? Doing a few simple math problems may reveal that your idea isn't as profitable as you thought — and it's better to find that out up front than a year from now.


The second half of the book is focused on successfully launching a startup for less. I included templates and do-it-yourself guides to branding, advertising, legal and publicity. I also recommend specific software and tools that make managing a startup a lot easier.


Cincy Chic: Beyond your own experiences, what resources went into the content development of the book?


Edwards: I interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs to find out what the major hurdles were. What's holding them back? The answers were surprising. Simple things like finding health insurance and understanding what sources of financing were available to them were big challenges for them. I dedicated a whole chapter just to startup financing and cover 14 creative ways to finance a startup beyond just VCs and angel investors.


I also interviewed investors and lenders to find out why they choose not to fund certain businesses. From an entrepreneurs' perspective, you want to know what they're looking for — and what your chances are. cc_instory.gif


There are a lot of exogenous forces at work right now in the economy (i.e. balance sheet constraints making it hard for banks to lend, angel investors having less cash to invest now that their stock portfolios are worth half of what they were, etc.) that are making it harder — or take longer — to get financing.


So, I took a novel approach. How could you save on startup costs? How could you cut your own personal expenses to free up cash and give you more time to make it?


I also included some of the latest research in entrepreneurship as well as a lot of tools that have come out in the last year.


Cincy Chic: This is "The Complete Handbook," but what are some of the top tips aspiring entrepreneurs can find in Startup?


Edwards: Even beyond tips for entrepreneurs, I dedicated an entire chapter to Personal Finance with a budget makeover that cuts $20,000 out of your annual spending. It's a lot easier to manage the finances of your business when your personal finances are running like clockwork.


I also talk about how to get health insurance and how to evaluate different insurance plans. Surprisingly, individual health insurance is a lot more affordable than you would think.


Another section that I've had rave reviews on is the Branding Chapter. Branding is so important, but it can be expensive if you're going to hire an agency to handle the whole process. I studied the best practices of some of the top branding agencies in the world to come up with a fun, do-it-yourself process that would work well for startups. This is the same process that I've used with startups I've invested in and with my own company, Metro Innovation.


Cincy Chic: What else should Cincy Chic readers know about the book?


Edwards: It's a hit! It just made Amazon's Top 20 Books for New Business Enterprises, and universities, incubators and angel groups all over the country are using it. It was a joy to write, and I can't wait to finish the next one.


Cincy Chic: Outside of building businesses and helping others do the same, what do you like to do for fun?


Edwards: I love Dutch's. That's my new spot. There's always a new wine to try and interesting people to meet. I'm looking forward to the Bocce court opening up. We play Bocce (as well as other fascinating lawn games) in Michigan at my family's cottage, and I'm mediocre at best but it's a lot of fun.


Cincy Chic: What do you love most about Cincinnati?


Edwards: The weather! Just kidding. My magnolia tree blossomed and then it snowed. Cincinnati's weather is as exciting as watching college basketball. You never know what's going to happen next.


Photographer: Neysa Ruhl

Model: Elizabeth Edwards

Location: M/I Homes Estates at Shayler Ridge Model Home



Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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