Top Business Books For Young Entrepreneurs

download (1)This top five list is our continuing list of favorites! As we continue to read business literature, we will update this article with more books. For now, we just wanted to name our personal favorites. Keep checking back for more suggestions on great books!

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Good to Great is my personal favorite. Jim Collins analyzes companies, on standards and statistics explained in the text, that made the transition from a good company, to a great one. While our entrepreneurial road to building a good company will be hard enough, it is one that has many paths. However, making that transition from good to great is rare and challenging. Many times if unsuccessful it will leave a company in a tough spot. Collins is a great writer with a great research team to back the words.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

For those of you new to business literature, it may be boring or difficult to read at first. Patrick Lencioni presents invaluable

No Cold Calling Necessary to Build Your Network Marketing Business

download (2)Cold calling is one of the worst ways to build your network marketing business. As the name implies, it sends a chill down the networker’s spine as they attempt to pick up the phone and attempts to sell something to a total stranger.

Gone are the days of shooting in the dark. If you want to build a network marketing business effectively, the first thing you must do is to stop buying dead beat leads on the Internet and literally hang up your phone.

According to the law of attraction marketing, making cold calls is probably the most desperate way to build your network marketing business because it places you at the bottom of the ‘food chain’. You will be devoured alive by strangers because you are in a position where you are at the weakest and most vulnerable.

Perry Marshall says that most people who want to buy a drill do not want information about drills – they want information on how to make a hole. Therefore, if you truly wish to achieve success in network marketing,

What Do You Believe Is The One Question To Ensure Business Success?

download (3)Small businesses to Fortune 500 organizations are all seeking the magic pill to grow their bottom line. What would happen if I told you that the magic pill is really a simple question?

In the book The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth by Fred Reichheld, the reader learns not only the one question that will deliver increased profitability, but why customer loyalty is truly far more important than customer satisfaction. Reichheld is the Director Emeritus of Bain & Company. His previous books The Loyalty Effectand Loyalty Rules all explored years of research specific to customer service and customer loyalty.

In this newest book, he shares a way to determine customer loyalty through the Net Promoter Score along with the supporting data to demonstrate the economic value of loyal customers. (You will have to buy the book to understand how this formula is constructed and how to interpret the results from this formula.) For example, did you know a 5% increase in customer retention can potentially yield an increase of improved profitability of 25% to 100%?

Why is Market Research Important for Your Business

Market research refers to a critical analysis of market trends, data and statistics, and consumer patterns that involves research of the target market, the possible competitors, and the environment as a whole so one can understand the depths and details of the market trends. Experts such as George Bardwil emphasize that market research is an ongoing process and not a one-off activity. By researching and analyzing the market properly, a business gets one step closer to the finish line as compared to its competitors. Finish line here refers to the ultimate goal of earning consumers and making profits.

It is important to understand the significance and impact of information and to be able to use it strategically to devise future plans and marketing campaigns for your business. Marketing professionals like George Bardwil suggest the following benefits that a properly conducted market research provides to a business:

  • First and foremost, a clear understanding of the market enables you to create specific and strategic communication guidelines to communicate with your customers. This makes your customer gage your knowledge and credibility about the consumer market. Once you know what your target audience likes and dislikes, prefers and not

The Importance Of Niches When Positioning Your Business

A book was published recently, and received great acclaim, entitled “Niche and Grow Rich”. What a brilliant title! It is a play on the title of Napoleon Hill’s famous book “Think and Grow Rich” which is probably the greatest Self Help book ever written. It was certainly the first and the best-selling one. Well, “Niche and Grow Rich” is along the same lines and it will probably become as legendary in marketing circles as Napoleon Hill’s book is to get-rich-quick schemers everywhere.

What the book “Niche and Grow Rich” by Jennifer Basye Sander teaches is that you can sell ice to Eskimos if you market to a niche. If you find there are Eskimos in Alaskan cities who long for their icy ancestral homes, I bet you could sell them ice! See? A detribalized Eskimo with longings for the icy wastes is a niche, a very small one but a niche nonetheless. Obviously by catering to this very exclusive market your prices will be high because you are a specialist.

There are specific techniques for finding and serving a niche. It is fairly simple but will require some effort. First of all you have to identify

Achieve Business Success in the Calm Blue Waters & Leave the Competition in the Bloody Red Waters

Are you tired of fighting the competition? Would you like to have the competitive advantages of more business and higher profits? Then take a trip to the Blue Ocean.

The Blue Ocean as described by the authors W. Chan Kim and Reneee Mauborgne who wrote Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant is where your business needs to be.

Kim and Mauborgne researched more than 30 industries over the course of 100 years to revealed that by creating what they called value innovation through strategic moves allows businesses to make powerful leaps within their market places. They shared these 6 key principles.

  1. Reconstruct market boundaries that allow you to break from the competition and therefore create blue oceans
  2. Focus on the big picture and not just the numbers
  3. Reach beyond the existing demand
  4. Get the strategic sequence right
  5. Overcome key organizational hurdles
  6. Build execution into strategy

Each principle receives detailed explanation. However a couple of facts remain exceedingly clear:

  • If you do not have a strategic plan you will have great difficulty to creating a blue ocean.
  • If you have not taken the time to learn how to think strategically, you will

The Importance Of Niches When Positioning Your Business

A book was published recently, and received great acclaim, entitled “Niche and Grow Rich”. What a brilliant title! It is a play on the title of Napoleon Hill’s famous book “Think and Grow Rich” which is probably the greatest Self Help book ever written. It was certainly the first and the best-selling one. Well, “Niche and Grow Rich” is along the same lines and it will probably become as legendary in marketing circles as Napoleon Hill’s book is to get-rich-quick schemers everywhere.

What the book “Niche and Grow Rich” by Jennifer Basye Sander teaches is that you can sell ice to Eskimos if you market to a niche. If you find there are Eskimos in Alaskan cities who long for their icy ancestral homes, I bet you could sell them ice! See? A detribalized Eskimo with longings for the icy wastes is a niche, a very small one but a niche nonetheless. Obviously by catering to this very exclusive market your prices will be high because you are a specialist.

There are specific techniques for finding and serving a niche. It is fairly simple but will require some effort. First of all you have to identify

Small Business Marketing Review – Confessions of an Advertising Man Lesson 2

If you only read one page in Confessions of an Advertising Man then make sure it’s page 86; there you’ll find Ogilvy’s Rule 11 on being a good client: “Test Everthing”.

Of course, all of Chapter Four on “How to Be a Good Client” is written for the owner of a business that can afford an advertising agency. If you are a small business owner like most of us, you certainly can’t afford a big-time agency and probably can’t hire even a small one. However, you will routinely contract with vendors of all types; especially those that help market your small business. You may have to alter the nouns a bit to fit your situation as you read through Chapter Four, but you’ll soon see several key ideas that you can turn to your advantage as you market your small business.

Chapter Four contains two lists which are loosely titled;

  • Fifteen Rules to Obey in Dealing with an Agency
  • Ten Questions to ask Before you Fire your Agency

Chapter Five (“How to Build Great Campaigns”) and Six (“How to Write Potent Copy”) are particularly valuable. This section is really the marketing “meat” of the book,

Small Business Marketing Review – Brands Visions and Values

John Goodchild and Clive Callow have edited a short book, Brands Visions and Values, which can be a useful reference for a small business marketer. This is a fairly quick read, compiled from several different UK sources. If you are a Chief Marketer that needs to convince a “dollars and sense” type in your organization of the value of building a brand then this is a decent resource.

If you still think brand is all about logos and not about the employees in your company, then please read chapter two.

Note: this is not a book you’ll constantly pull down from your shelf in order to extract “how to market” solutions from. But, it can serve to help validate and reinforce the “why you market”, especially when you have to justify to a “dollars and sense type” why you are spending company resources on improving your small business brand.

Chapter Two, “The Role of Brands in Business”, is an article by Jonathan Knowles. Although directed at larger companies, this has solid information applicable to small business. On p. 23 Knowles offers this great quote: “The advent of the information economy means that an increasing proportion

How One Simple Idea Can Flood You With New Business

Right now, no matter what time of the day or night you are reading this, someone’s website is making money – a lot of money – using one simple idea.

It’s an idea you should be using to increase the profitability of not only your website, but every aspect of your marketing efforts as well. And even if you are using this idea to some degree, even small improvements can produce huge gains on your return on investment.

What can this idea do for you?

  • It can create a large list of people who identify themselves as being interested in your product or service.
  • It can also produce a list of people who ask to receive your marketing materials.
  • It eliminates forever the problem of sending out untargeted junk mail that does not get opened or read.
  • It generates repeat traffic to your website as long as you keep producing fresh and useful content.
  • And most important of all, when your marketing message is requested, welcomed, expected and read by interested prospects; your sales rates increase exponentially.

What is this simple idea? No doubt you’ve already guessed it is Permission Marketing a phrase coined by Seth Godin when

Never Eat Alone: Building Relationships A New Way

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi is the definitive guide to Networking 2.0. Keith has been referred to as one of the most connected individuals in the world, and in this book he shows you why.

Keith was brought up a child of a working class, but was afforded a very expensive education through the contacts and ingenuity of his father, who worked for a prominent businessman. Ever since he became a caddie on the golf course as a youth, he has realized the value of relationships, and harnessed their power to help himself and everyone he knows.

Never Eat Alone quickly debunks the notion that networking is handing out business cards to everyone you meet, or keeping track of who can do what for you, or who owes you what favor. This archaic form of doing business may have been the old school of networking, but in today’s business world your relationships must be built on generosity, trust and integrity. Whenever you meet someone, you should think “How can I help this person? Who do I know that they should meet?” If you can positively impact someone’s wealth, health or family, they’ll forever help you

Small Business Marketing Review – Value-Added Selling Techniques

OK, this article reviews a book on…sales.

Not marketing.

But, Chief Marketers take heed: Tom Reilly’s Value-Added Selling Techniques is a little classic that contains two chapters that every marketer should read. Please note: we are using our 1989 copy of this book, so all page numbers apply to that edition.

Reilly’s book focuses on listening to the customer first, and then selling a solution that provides maximum customer value. This book is written as a practical instruction manual to teach salespeople how to:

  • find out what the prospective customer values, then
  • craft the sales pitch to stress how the product delivers that value better than the competitor’s product

And the first step is finding out what is important to the prospect.

The entire book is a worthwhile read, but Chapters 4 and 5 are especially beneficial for the small business marketer. Chapter 4, “The Needs-Analysis Stage”, details the probing process the successful salesperson begins with. This chapter is about asking questions. There is a classic chart on page 42 that explains in detail how to use Open and Closed questions.

Think of your own interactions with a customer or employee and

Book Review – Warriors, Workers, Whiners, and Weasels

We all know a Weasel. You know, that person that threatens to take down your organization by using every sleazy tactic in the book to advance their careers regardless of how it effects others. Warriors, Workers, Whiners, and Weasels: The 4 Personality Types in Business and How to Manage Them to Your Advantage by entrepreneur Tim O’Leary takes a refreshing look at the different personalities we encounter and how to handle them.

The premise of the book is that essentially everyone fits into one of four personality groups – Warrior, Worker, Whiner, or Weasel. O’Leary defines each as the following:

Warriors, who confront change, see possibilities, innovate and manage to win!

Workers, who deal with the ups, downs and challenges of everyday corporate life dependably, and who can reliably implement the change and direction established by the Warriors.

Whiners, who get through life by complaining about everything they do, who profess negativism and dissatisfaction wherever they go, and blaming others for their own shortcomings.

Weasels, who lurk everywhere and threaten your career and life-goals through their own deception and insecurity and who spread these feelings quickly throughout the organization.

The book is

Books On Financial Freedom

Financial freedom is the most important thing a person can have, but it can also be very difficult to achieve. Most people will need assistance from an outside source. For those of you who cannot afford to hire a financial expert to manage your finances, there are many books available that will teach you how you can use your money wisely and eventually achieve financial freedom.

There are many financial experts, as well as people who have already achieved financial freedom, writing self-help books for people wanting to free themselves from the clutches of living in debt. The hardest part is choosing the right one. You will need to make sure that the advice you follow is the right one; you do not want to follow the wrong advice and go further in debt.

These books are not very expensive, and they are very helpful. They will be able to give you very valuable advice. There are also books available on the Internet that contain the same material.

If you are able to access the Internet, you should first look for online books on financial advice. This will save you money, considering these are usually

How to Make a Good Company Great

What makes a company Great? Jim Collins set out to answer this exact question when he and a group of researchers started writing the #1 Best Seller Good to Great. Good to Great is a terrific read for anyone interested in creating a great organization.

Good is the enemy of great! Why is Good to Great so Great? Well, Good to Great answers the search for enduring excellence. It is not just a business problem; it’s a human problem. The principles within this book can be applied to other organizations, not just business enterprises. Good schools can learn to become great schools. Good government agencies can learn to be great government agencies.

So, just what does make a company great? Collins identifies 6 key attributes:

1. A Great Company Has Level 5 Leadership

Level 5 leaders have goals of building a great company in the next generation, comfortable with the idea that most people won’t even know that the roots of that success trace back to their efforts. As one Level 5 leader said, “I want to look out from my porch at one of the great companies in the world someday and be

Book Review – Start Your Own Senior Services Business

Does your business know how to meet the particular needs of baby boomers, retirees, and the very mature? Do you even know the difference between all three? This Entrepreneur Startup Guide by Jacquelyn Lynn and Charlene Davis provides an eye-opening look at how to start your own senior services business specializing in adult day care, home health care, and relocation, concierge, travel, and transportation services.

Although there is a large amount of overlapping between the needs of most senior adults – especially in physically or mentally disabled clients – the authors’ research reveals that in areas such as travel, baby boomers (55 to 64), retirees (65 to 75) and the very mature (75-plus) have different needs. For example, “grandtravel” (healthy, active grandparents usually in the baby boomer range taking their grandchildren on trips) has become one of the fastest growing travel trends. A variety of seniors’ needs in different categories (and businesses designed to help meet these needs) are described throughout the book.

“Start Your Own Senior Services Business” also offers useful information regarding financial matters, developing a business plan, marketing ideas, plus a variety of printed forms including checklists, prescription medication permission form, letter of

Small Business Marketing Book Review – People and Your Business

What if somebody told you one critical key to business success was to practice the principle of the Golden Rule in your business? The idea seems to somehow run counter to so much of what we’ve been taught about business, doesn’t it? Yet, what if that same source convinced you through case-study after case-study that application of the Golden Rule in business actually leads to success?

Let us introduce Frederick Reichheld and his book The Loyalty Effect. While not a small business marketer, but rather an expert business consultant, what Reichheld teaches us about loyalty is worthwhile reading for any small business owner or manager.

Did we say “worthwhile”? Scratch that; pencil in the phrase “urgently essential”, instead. This book is that vital to a small company.

The Loyalty Effect focuses on three groups of people critical to business success: Customers, Employees, and Investors. For most small business, the investor is the owner, so for our brief review in this article we will focus on Customers and Employees.

Reichheld is a definite advocate of customer retention. He convincingly demonstrates time and again that small percentage increases in customer retention have huge impacts on profits.

Book Review: Start Your Own Business

If you want to start a business, but don’t know where to start, then the place to start is with Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Book You’ll Ever Need by Rieva Lesonsky. The book is put out by Entrepreneur Press and is essentially a compilation of Entrepreneur Magazine’s large knowledge database regarding starting a business.

The book literally takes you through the entire business process – from determining if you really have what it takes to run a business to how to deal with failure if your business doesn’t work out, and everything in between. The best part about the book is that it covers nearly EVERYTHING in some capacity. If you need more information, it does a great job of suggesting further reading and pertinent web sites.

The book is broken down into seven sections, each with several chapters. The first section, ‘You Gotta Start Somewhere’ covers determining if you can be an entrepreneur, how to come up with an idea for your business, and whether you should launch your business part time or full time. Most people who buy the book will already have answers to these questions, but going through

Straight from the Gut – A Different Take on Business

Jack Welsh, the recently retired CEO of General Electric, presents a rare glimpse into how to build a successful organization in his book, “Straight from the Gut.” His honesty and openness is refreshing and reaffirms that success is sometimes built from failure, but more often from calculated planning and the willingness to take risks.

From explaining “false kindness” to developing a high performing workplace, Welsh demonstrates that good business behavior and high values separate the successful companies from the not so successful ones.

Many business experts such as Noel Tichey cite Welsh for his leadership skills. However, this book transcends leadership and is really about performance for both individuals and organizations. Without fancy performance models, Welsh knew from “his gut” what individuals needed to continually strive to reach their potential. He shared these simple strategies and how GE translated potential into performance.

When Jack Welsh was asked what business he was in, he simply replied “the people business.” The greatest resource for any company is their people. However, in today’s fast paced global workplace usually the people are the most under utilized resource. For those CEO’s, managers, business owners and even educators who wish to

Book Review: The NEW Game Of Business

If you think you’ve seen and heard everything there is to say, The NEW Game of Business brings new distinctions and a fresh perspective to the world of business.

This slim, easy-to-read soft cover book is so good that it should be required reading in business schools around the world. Every entrepreneur and every company employee, from the janitor to the CEO should read and reread this book.

The author’s quote in Chapter Five quite nicely summarizes the topic of this book. Mitchell Axelrod says this “I help you get from where you are, to where you want to be.” The new game in town is that of reciprocity and no longer does the businessperson with the most toys win.

Consumers are tired of turning on the television every day to more bad news about badly run businesses. Corruption and scandal seem to rule the day and all this negativity takes a toll on the economy and well being of those who sell and those who buy. Mitchell Axelrod advises that thinking outside the box is so outdated that businesses need to throw away the box entirely and begin playing “The NEW Game of Business.”