BROWSE through any bookstore and it becomes immediately clear that there is no lack of guides on how an entrepreneur should start, build or run a company, but a new addition to the genre might just be the most stylish, wide-ranging one yet.
The Monocle Guide To Good Business is a hefty, 300-page tome aimed at "anyone with a bright idea for a new business, wants to run their company in a better way or just wishes they could have a nicer office to spend their time in".
As anyone who has ever picked up a copy of Monocle magazine might expect, the book is impeccably designed, filled with the kind of well-appointed photographs and illustrations that tend to appeal to a certain kind of crowd - mostly young, jet-setting, cosmopolitan yuppie types.
But Monocle chairman and editor-in-chief Tyler Brule believes the book should appeal to anyone who has ever dreamt about running their own business.
"When you dream about your business, you're not dreaming about it in terms of Excel spreadsheets and what it would look like as a series of grids of profit and losses," he told The Straits Times in an interview yesterday. He was in Singapore for a day to launch the guide at Books Kinokuniya.
"You dream about what it would look like, where your office will be, how you would furnish it, what your logo and website would look like, and these are all visual dreams."
Indeed, the book begins with the profiles - and plenty of photographs - of 15 young companies, including a restaurant, a clothing factory and even a farm, to offer readers some inspiration.
A 50-step illustrated guide follows, one that takes would-be entrepreneurs from inspiration to the vacation they should have after all the hard work of founding their businesses is done.
The steps include creating a detailed plan, choosing a good name for the company, networking and getting involved in the community the business will operate in.
And that is just Chapter 1.
The following six chapters provide tips and lessons ranging from how to create beautiful packaging and logos for your company, to which cities you could base your company in and what kind of pencils you should buy for the office.
This attention to detail reflects Mr Brule's own attitude towards running a business.
"If you don't care about the type of coffee cups you use to serve corporate guests, if you don't even serve coffee to visitors, then it probably says something deeper about your corporation," he said.
"Either that you're not willing to invest, or maybe you don't treat your employees that well, or you're simply not a good host. One of the great lessons I personally learnt in business is that if you look after the details the big things will look after themselves."
Given the wide scope of the book, Mr Brule hopes it will be a source of inspiration and ideas to anyone, whether it is someone still dreaming about starting his own firm or the leader of a big company.
"I think if you're employing 2,000 people and you've found that maybe your sales have gone flat, or you're challenged by a new competitor around the corner, that you could read this and go, 'Yes, there are these things we need to do - I need to take my staff out for dinner more often or we should do more karaoke together'. "
If anyone is in doubt about whether to take advice from a seven-year-old company, they need only look at Monocle's meteoric rise to success in this short span.
Since its launch in 2007, the magazine's sales have grown every year and the firm now sells over 77,000 copies per issue - it publishes 10 a year - with 18,000 subscribers worldwide.
The firm has also ventured into other forms of media, launching its own radio station in 2011 and publishing its first book, The Monocle Guide To Better Living, last year.
Earlier this month, Japanese media firm Nikkei bought a 5 per cent stake in Monocle in a deal valuing the company at US$100 million (S$126 million).
Aside from its London headquarters, Monocle has six other bureaus worldwide and is in the process of opening a bureau and shop in Singapore.
The firm has found a space in Chip Bee Gardens, though it has yet not signed the lease. It hopes to have the bureau and shop up and running before Christmas, Mr Brule said.