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At What Price?

Find out which cost-cutting ideas will help your business-and which will hurt it.
February 1, 2004

When times are tough during start-up, you may be tempted to cut every expense under the sun to keep your business afloat. Beware, though-cutting the wrong things could end up hurting your business in the long run. Paul Rich and Seymour Siegel, principals of New York City CPA firm Rothstein, Kass & Co., weigh in on the types of cost-cutting start-ups shouldn't do, as well as the types they should. Listen up.

The bottom line, say Rich and Siegel, is to position your company for success from the outset. "It doesn't make sense to cut down on those things that drive your product to the customer," says Rich. "If the economy turns or your industry turns, you won't grow with the rest of it."

Resources for creating success in business and in life.

Lessons From the Edge: Survival Skills for Starting and Growing a Company by Jana Matthews and Jeff Dennis, with Peter Economy (Oxford University Press). This compilation of true entrepreneurial stories, dealing with everything from money and partnerships to natural disasters and personal tragedies, provides real-life lessons told from the entrepreneur's perspective, along with insights from the management expertise of the authors.

You Need to Be a Little Crazy: The Truth About Starting and Growing Your Business by Barry J. Moltz (Dearborn Trade Publishing). Moltz goes for the straight-talk approach with his personal anecdotes and conversational style. A serial entrepreneur himself, Moltz discusses how being "crazy" is the only way to survive the difficult realities of starting a business. This book also includes brief profiles and interviews with other entrepreneurs. Word to the wise: Sugarcoating is not on the agenda.

Success at Life: How to Catch and Live Your Dream by Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold (Newmarket Press). Written by the leaders, or rather, the "ministers of tea" at The Republic of Tea Inc., a company that sells premium teas, this book details how to find your passion in work and business with ancient wisdom and modern interpretation. Read this book if you aspire to be a "Zentrepreneur," which the authors define as "a person who creates a business and a life."