I am thrilled to announce a new business venture of mine called The Operator’s Handbook. To help share this news on the podcast, we are mixing things up and releasing a special episode with Tim Ludwig where he interviews me! We talk about my time running the podcast, lessons learned from two and a half years of Think Like an Owner, and what our mission is with The Operator’s Handbook.

Tim was the perfect person to interview me for this episode, as he’s been a friend since the very early days of the podcast. His tweet about small business content is actually what started our brainstorming for what eventually became The Operator’s Handbook.

The core problem we identified was a lack of great content for the small company world, with “small company” loosely defined as companies with less than $30 million in revenue. While Inc. Magazine used to cover small companies, it has moved on to focusing more on tech and startups, as many popular publications have. When discussing other options today, the Harvard Business Review was the closest we could think of, and even they cater more toward the companies an average Harvard MBA works for after graduating. Those businesses tend to be corporate finance, private equity, hedge funds, banks, and other larger corporations; not your local landscaper or plumbing company.

Running a small company is hard and the subject doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The Operator’s Handbook aims to change that.

So, what is The Operator’s Handbook? It is a print-only publication focused on small company operations. Each issue has eight long-form, interview-style articles featuring operators overcoming challenges and making improvements in their businesses. Our goal with each article is to tell an operator’s story, which often involves problems overcome, professional growth, and lessons learned, all in the endless pursuit of better.

We create every issue with three core values at the heart of the process:

1. Boring is Beautiful: We celebrate the mundane and appreciate what others may consider “boring.” The daily tasks of running a small business are full of nuance and opportunity for growth. Where some may see a boring job, we see a fascinating puzzle of constantly moving parts and personnel that needs to be solved every day. We love learning how small companies are run, but we haven’t seen many publications that share our enthusiasm.

2. Be a Storyteller: Publications full of “How to” articles aren’t exactly the most helpful to real businesses, as they offer prescriptive, generalized advice. Instead of telling you exactly how to run your business, we’ll share stories of operators and what they did in their companies, letting you decide which insights and ideas are applicable to your own company. Each article has a problem, plot, and hero at the center of the story.

3. Write for Operators: Operators can’t afford to waste time. Every detail of The Operator’s Handbook is designed with a busy operator in mind. Issues are print-only to avoid the distractions of email and the internet. We don’t have sponsors or ads, as those would only take away from the content we’re trying to share. We use real, notebook-style paper to encourage you to take notes throughout each issue. We have one single customer: our operator readers.

The Operator’s Handbook team consists of Alex Bridgeman, owner and operator of The Operator’s Handbook and founder of the Think Like an Owner podcast; Taylor Cothran, CPA, our editor with a background in forensic accounting and business valuation; Katherine Messenger, our print designer and illustrator; Adrian Ho, our proofreader; and David Bridgeman from Pink Robot Studios, our graphics and web designer. Each of us has worked in, or currently operate, a small company and understand how hard operating can be.

The Operator’s Handbook will be taking new subscribers starting next Thursday, September 23rd. Until then, stay tuned to receive a few essays on who we are and our goals in creating The Operator’s Handbook.

I could not be more excited to announce this new business. It’s taken nearly a year of development and work, but it’s finally here and I’m so excited to share it with you all!

How You Can Help Us

I hope you become a subscriber of The Operator’s Handbook and help us create the best publication for the small company world. You can help us not only by becoming a subscriber, but also by offering to be interviewed for an article, recommending peers of yours to collaborate on an article with us, or sharing your initial feedback on The Operator’s Handbook and what you’d love to see us create.

Please enjoy The Operator’s Handbook, check out our website, and happy operating!