Entrepreneur Magazine Review
Entrepreneur is a monthly magazine about all aspects of being an entrepreneur. Unlike most magazines which have content on different subjects, Entrepreneur doesn't stray from its main subject matter so there's no need to break down the different subjects it covers. They do divide their content into different areas (news, tech, money, selling, managing), but these all fall under the broad category of being an entrepreneur.
Unlike Inc. magazine, which targets medium-sized business owners dealing with the issues of running a multi-million dollar business, Entrepreneur magazine explores issues that mom and pop businesses deal with - like how to open a second store after a first one is successful. The entrepreneurs featured in the articles are more down to earth, making the magazine more realistic as well as more relatable.
Despite these appealing characteristics, the magazine is very sub-par. One of the "tells" that I am not going to like a small business magazine is when everyone featured on the front cover and inside articles is smiling - as if the life of an entrepreneur is one big party where it just rains money all the time. One of the defining elements of being an entrepreneur is that you are constantly dealing with problems. Many wannabe entrepreneurs operate under the illusion that when you become an entrepreneur, you can just sit back collecting money and you don't have to work because you are, after all, the owner. Magazines like this are reinforcing that unfortunate stereotype. Entrepreneur magazine seems to only profile entrepreneurs that are doing well - even though most businesses fail - and most people believe that you can learn more from failure than from success. To illustrate the contrast between this magazine and others, I point to the November 2011 issue of Inc. Magazine which carried an article
about a guy who had to make the difficult decision about whether or not to take over the management of the family business (which he wasn't particularly interested in) after his dad suddenly died.
But the core problem with the magazine is its content. One problem is that the content is generic, rehashed, and is sometimes dumbed-down to the point of silliness. A good example of this occurred in the August 2008 issue: the author of an article attempts to set the truth about marketing by spelling out 3 "lies" about marketing. Two of the supposed lies are that "there's no time for marketing" and that "marketing doesn't work." Have you ever met a single successful entrepreneur who ever said they believed that marketing doesn't work? At best, I've met wannabe entrepreneurs who put in a half-assed effort and created a pathetic company that failed miserably who said marketing didn't work, but not actual
The biggest problem with the content is that there is absolutely no "top-down" content. All of the content is "bottom-up." The articles consist solely of profiles of an entrepreneur's business and describe the particular situation they are in. Granted, some people don't mind extracting lessons from other people's stories, but the individual stories are so specific that they usually have no tangible use to me. There are few lessons contained within because the magazine doesn't teach any general principles. Instead of writing about how Bob's House of Widgets used a particular P.R. campaign to turn his company around, they should write an article that educates me about P.R. Unless I happen to also sell widgets, Bob's particular story won't help me as much.
Additionally, the lack of top-down content also means that there is little content that is focused on strategy. Although there are plenty articles on functional areas (like technology and financing), these are tactical decisions and not strategic decisions that help to grow your business. The technology section, for example, will profile gadgets you can buy - like an external hard drive that you can use to backup your computer. Inc. Magazine, on the other hand, would have an article about creating a well-rounded IT plan that includes things such as: a technology budget, what role technology plays in your company, your web site, etc. Strategic decisions also need to incorporate external factors, such as: industry trends, the size of the market, competition, and the growth rate of your niche. Entrepreneur Magazine's articles rarely talk about those things. If they profile someone who owns a small teddy bear company, they won't mention how big the teddy bear industry is, how fast the teddy bear market is growing, or who their biggest competitors are. Entrepreneurs who never look at these external factors are the kind of entrepreneurs that have a bewildered look on their face when their business mysteriously starts to decline. They'll be wondering why their business is in trouble when they are doing things the same way that they always have. Little do they know, that their business is in trouble precisely because
they are doing things the same way they always have.
In my opinion, this magazine seems to try to make entrepreneurship look easy. One article was actually titled: "If you've got a computer, you don't even have to get out of bed to secure a loan for a startup." They also give too much attention to businesses which are perceived as being easy - such as EBay businesses and franchises. The dumbed-down content, short articles, concentration on supposedly easy businesses, and the perma-smiles from all of the people profiled sometimes makes me think the magazine is actually trying to sell you entrepreneurship itself.
Entrepreneur Magazine has no content that would benefit an investor or trader. Additionally, the magazine's entrepreneurship content is also weak and is a borderline purchase. A subscription to Entrepreneur is very cheap at only $15 per year, so it falls into the category of magazines that many people might as well just subscribe to so they can skim it for 20 minutes and then throw it away. But with the heavy research schedule most serious traders have, I would say this is more of a time-waster. The disappointed users on Amazon, who give the magazine one of the lowest ratings of all business magazines, seem to agree.