Non-fiction books can start to blend together after awhile. Growth mindset. Stretch goals. Getting things done. And acronyms. So many acronyms. Now, mindset is certainly a critical component to business and personal success. A few acronyms are real game changers. But books that actually lay out the practical steps to understanding and growing your business? They’re rare. One of the best such books, is Keys to the Vault.
Keys to the Vault was written by longtime business consultant, educator, and author Keith Cunningham. He brings decades of experience starting, selling, and revamping businesses to the table. Cunningham is also refreshingly candid about his failed ventures, his screw ups, his lapses in judgement and wisdom.
The purpose of the book is to help entrepreneurs raise money successfully and responsibly by giving a thorough introduction to investment. Most small businesses never get off the ground. Most of those that do, fail after 5 years. Cunningham attributes this largely to financial illiteracy. As an educator, he is passionate about giving people the core knowledge needed to raise capital and grow their businesses.
What makes Keys to the Vault really stand out is how incredibly thorough and practical it is. It’s extremely well written and concise. Sure there’s the occasional anecdote, but most everything is apropos to the subject at hand. Key information is conveyed in paragraphs marked Lesson. This helps highlight the core takeaways, without disrupting the flow of reading.
The book is deliberately unpretentious. It covers the basics, from how to find the right type of investors to capitalization and business structure to practical tips on finding a rockstar team. Plenty of books say things like “Surround yourself with the best.” Keys to the Vault does a much better job than most in giving actual advice on how to do that.
Cunningham does not neglect mindset and wisdom, indeed he places a very high value on them. Success is only possible when you know the rules of the game and have the right attitude. There are some great gems in the book. A key piece of advice is that you should sell deals, not ideas. Most entrepreneurs fail to see things from the investor’s perspective. They are so enmeshed in their great ideas that they are unable to explain how those ideas are actually supposed to work in the real world.
Keys to the Vault by Keith Cunningham is available for purchase here.