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Pacific Book Review

Top 5 Reviews for May


The first thing you should know about Dick Baynton’s book, The Handbook of Small Business, is that the operative word in its title is ‘handbook.’ Its 90 (mostly) short chapters are intended to be ready references. It is not, however, the kind of book most people will read chronologically, from start to finish. This is a book pinpointed at anyone serious about starting a small business, and then running that business the right way from the very get-go.

Baynton never promises the reader will excel commercially after applying principles in this book. In fact, he writes in the book’s introduction, “You will not become rich or successful or famous simply by reading this book. However, the ideas offered in these pages should ignite thoughts and actions of creativity that set your company above the competition.”

Why should we take Baynton’s word for it? Well, Baynton has had his own homebuilding company, as well as a successful distributorship and countertop fabricator. In other words, he knows how to start a successful business because he’s begun a couple of them himself.

Chapters in Baynton’s book are laid out, quite helpfully, in alphabetical order. Although accounts payable may not be your first order of business, at least when it comes to creating a new business, the chapter on this subject is located at the book’s beginning, whereas one concerning vehicles (trucks, vans, cars and such) comes at the end.

In addition to its many chapters, the backside of this book also contains a few helpful appendices. Regarding some of these items, you may not even think about them until your business is beginning to grow a bit. For instance, Appendix H is a sample/model employment application. When it comes time to adding new employees, your company better have some kind of standardized employment application that asks the questions you’ll need answered by your potential employees. On the other hand, it’s questionable that all new businesses will require a metric conversion chart (included), or currency conversions – international – unless the business is making international transactions.

While Baynton’s book is intended primarily for practical purposes, he’s not beyond giving out helpful advice. Chapter 67, for example, is simply titled Procrastination. Within it, he advises, “Here’s an approach to decision making and taking action. Decide on a time and a date in the future when logic dictates that it will be too late to achieve an objective resulting from enacting the decision. Too late may mean taking advantage of a special price or product or service.” Such suggestions are not detailed, but rather logical instructions on avoiding procrastination. In business, as in many other life endeavors, one must many times strike while the iron is hot. Sometimes, too late really is too late.

Another chapter is called Celebrations! Championing business success stories, or even something as simple as employee birthdays, add up to some of the little (yet still important things) that helps keep quality employees happy and loyal. Baynton writes, “Never forget that without high-quality employees, there is no company. Expensive machines and computers, loads of inventory, and a customer list amounting to countless numbers have no value without productive employees.” These words may
not describe dollars and cents, but they nevertheless add up to dollars and sense.

Baynton’s handbook is an exhaustive guide for entrepreneurs. When it comes to having a small business companion, ‘exhaustive’ is exactly what you want. Granted, not everything contained within is immediately applicable – at least not at the moment. Some of it may be needed sometime down the line. Who knows, ‘some of it’ might just be what a small business truly needs to survive.


The US Review of Books

The Handbook of Small Business
by Dick Baynton

reviewed by John E. Roper

“The way you affirm honest and complete communications is to be absolutely honest in all communications and dealings. This applies to supervisors as well as managers, officers, and company owners.”

Launching and maintaining a successful business is hard work, and as the author points out early on, approximately the same number of businesses die every year as are born. However, there are some solid principles and practices that, when applied to either a new or existing enterprise, can offer it the increased ability to not only survive but thrive. In a book that can be used as either a reference guide or a source of daily encouragement, Baynton provides a set of valuable tools for both the would-be and veteran entrepreneur.

Unlike many business books, Baynton doesn’t rely on case studies or personal vignettes to get his points across. Instead, he has gathered the time-tested theories and ideas of those who have weathered the corporate seas as well as collected data from educational sources and his own vast experience in the field to create a distillation of knowledge. He then organizes this information into 90 brief, easy-to-read chapters that each focus on a specific topic such as capital investment, attitude, or marketing. Within all of this teaching reside core concepts such as integrity, diligence, attention to detail, and doing for others what you would want them to do for you. For example, in Chapter 50 he writes about the need to reward valuable employees with something “a little extra” in their paycheck. He goes on to say that this principle applies to dealing with customers, as well. An added perk from a salesman to a client at the close of a deal can create both good will and repeat business.

Baynton’s decades of professional experience in a variety of business roles and settings has given him an inside track on what works and what doesn’t. Happily, he has chosen to share his insights with us.


“This ‘Readers Digest” of small business should be a great outline for an entrepreneur. I just ordered a hard copy for my grandson. He is going this fall to James Madison majoring in business. If he uses the guidelines in your book, and takes the proper subjects, and studies hard—-how can he fail!!!”
Tom K. (Accountant/Advisor)


“Dick’s Baynton’s  Handbook of Small Business is a concisely-written, insightful, comprehensive source of practical advice on starting, maintaining, and growing a profitable business.  It contains everything a business owner or entrepreneur needs to know in order to beat the competition, based on the author’s vast personal experience and track record of success.  I highly recommend it.”   – George S. Low, MBA, PhD, Dean, College of Business and Economics, Radford University


“I can see why any start-up or existing business should take advantage of your information and apply to change, improve or keep doing the right things to be the most successful enterprise possible.”- John F., Banker