Category: Book Reviews.

“Books are better than television, the internet, or the computer for educating and maintaining freedom. Books matter because they state ideas and then attempt to thoroughly prove them. They have an advantage precisely because they slow down the process, allowing the reader to internalize, respond, react and transform. The ideas in books matter because time is taken to establish truth, and because the reader must take the time to consider each idea and either accept it or, if he rejects it, to think through sound reasons for doing so. A nation of people who write and read is a nation with the attention span to earn an education and free society if they choose.”
― Oliver DeMille

Books are better.

“Books are better than television, the internet, or the computer for educating and maintaining freedom. Books matter because they state ideas and then attempt to thoroughly prove them. They have an advantage precisely because they slow down the process, allowing the reader to internalize, respond, react and transform. The ideas in books matter because time is taken to establish truth, and because the reader must take the time to consider each idea and either accept it or, if he rejects it, to think through sound reasons for doing so. A nation of people who write and read is a nation with the attention span to earn an education and free society if they choose.”
― Oliver DeMille

Sally just got done reading Manage Your Day-To-Day. The subtitle of this book is Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Mind, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. Here’s some of the best business take-aways from the book:

If you find you’ve been working hard and hardly getting ahead, this book is for you. It focuses on how our work day and work world has changed. Too often we’re reacting and not working on our daily to-do list. The first thing to do is schedule your creative work first and schedule it at a time when you work best. This may take a little time to find – but instinctively you may know this already. Set routines and stick to them. If a project isn’t complete one day, calendar it and move it to the next day. Your capacity is limited. Schedule your renewal or “sharpen the saw” time. Stick to it. Schedule thinking time or alone time to plan. Plan blocks of time to work – calendar it and stick to it. Stop multi-tasking – it doesn’t work. Work on one project at a time, focus and finish it. Understand your temptations and resist them. In other words stay off Facebook and quit texting. Keep your workspace organized. Protect your DO NOTHING time. Your brain needs some R&R. Send really short emails. There is magic in a six-word email. Schedule your social media time and use it effectively to promote your business. Sally does hers at the same time she’s updating client posts. Sometimes your soul needs to rest – take a long break from being connected. Finally, stop thinking everything must be perfect. We are human. Only God is perfect.
Get the work done, do your very best and let it go.

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”  – Warren Buffet

Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business
Gino Wickman
2011

In ten chapters our author pulls together a masterful process to super-charge your business plan with real world tools for accomplishing your goals. It is a collection of step by step instructions to help you master the challenges which have been making you pull your hair out as you struggle over and over again to resolve troublesome issues once and for all.

This method is based on the “EOS” or Entrepreneurial Operating System. It begins with “Letting Go of the Vine” which is to say, you need to be prepared to do things new ways to get new results.

The next step establishes a base point with a review of your company using eight key questions. The questions ask you to rate your company on a scale of 1 to 5 on topics ranging from whether you have a clear vision in writing which is shared by everyone to whether your leadership team is open and honest and demonstrates a high degree of trust. Some of the questions are straightforward such as whether you have an organizational chart or whether you have a method of monitoring your budget regularly. The goal is to be able to rate your company very high after implementation of the EOS processes.

Our author then moves through the different essential parts which make up any business including people, data, issues (or problems), core processes and action items which all result in traction. The experience gained from many years of working with hundreds of different companies who have received excellent results using this system is encouragement enough that these are universal concepts. The author speaks of working with companies as small as a dozen employees and as large as thousands of employees.

Some of the key concepts of EOS include:
1) Downloadable forms and templates for developing a visual representation of where you stand now and where you want to go.
2) Simple processes for determining if you have the right people in the right seats and a method to make sure you maintain the best fits.
3) Methods for establishing an organizational chart which also includes essential responsibilities.
4) Rocks or personal responsibility goals which help everyone in the company know exactly what they need to do to make sure they are doing their part to keep the company on track to reach its goals.
5) A scorecard for each employee to set reasonable but critical goals and track progress to move the company forward.
6) A Level 10 Meeting Agenda which all but guarantees that meetings are productive and results driven.

Poole Communications has implemented many of the concepts presented in “Traction” and are encouraged by the results the process is yielding. Typically it takes a year or so to become fully comfortable with the system and master it, but positive results can be seen as quickly as the first quarter of implementation.

Some of the processes were already in place for us but Gino Wickman has shed some light on ways to improve our results as well as our bottom line as we move toward a more profitable and efficient company able to serve many more clients while keeping our quality high.

-Rose Anne Huck.

How to Make Money In Your Own Small Business
by Jeffery J. Fox

Today I’ve read another book and will outline it so you can benefit from it without reading it. However, that being said, I’m a firm believer in reading and life long learning. I encourage you to do the same. You may learn more and different things than I did.

Today’s book is How To Make Big Money In Your Own Small Business by Jeffery J. Fox. This small book is packed full of good advice and is subtitled Unexpected Rules Every Small Business Owner Needs To Know. The number of small businesses is growing in our country and across the world. In the United States many women are starting businesses – more often than men. Small business helps create most of the innovative new products and services in our country. Here are 25 tips from the book to help you grow and manage your business more profitably:

  1. Small businesses are more maneuverable. Look at ideas large businesses have and cannot implement.
  2. Always be looking for new ways to make money.
  3. Have a basic business plan that outlines your break evens, your market and your customer.
  4. Do what comes easy for you – and hard for others
  5. Keep a focus on marketing and selling
  6. You’re in business to solve customers problems and make them more comfortable.
  7. Hire salespeople that were ex-paperboys (or girls).
  8. Be frugal except with customers and employees.
  9. Spend 60% of your time marketing, 30% providing product or service and 10% managing
  10. Seek fortune over fame.
  11. Get rid of the home office.
  12. Price your product or service to it’s value – not its cost. Get away from charging by the hour.
  13. Delegate, outsource and use consultants and interns
  14. Have a back up plan in case you loose an employee – for every employee.
  15. Get rid of problem employees immediately.
  16. Stash cash for emergencies.
  17. Patent, protect and padlock your systems and ideas.
  18. Review billing and pricing frequently. Bill as soon after the job as possible.
  19. You’re not the boss, the client is.
  20. Take accurate notes about each project. Write down dates and times. You may need them.
  21. Always be thinking about how to make your company better and better serve your customers.
  22. Remember to work ON your business – not just IN it.
  23. Stay off of boards and committees – they are a giant time drain away from making profits.
  24. Use technology but wait till it’s been out a year – you’ll save big.
  25. Give surprises to both your customers and employees.

Finally, here’s a list of your daily to do’s:

  • Exercise
  • Talk to a new customer
  • Contact an existing customer
  • Sell to an existing customer
  • Achieve one important objective
  • Execute a marketing event
  • Do one important task
  • Train an employee
  • Listen and talk to employees
  • Inspect product quality
  • Inspect delegated tasks
  • Review all goals
  • Return all calls

Sally Poole
Poole Communications owner

For more information on Jeffery Fox’s book, see here: http://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Your-Small-Business/dp/0786868252

Ok, you’re going to think I’m nuts, but today I’m talking about Gay Hendricks’ book Conscious Golf. If you know me, you’ll know I’m a new golfer and am terrible at the game although I have a lot of fun because it’s so totally different from work and is wonderful stress release for me.

Mr. Hendricks wrote this book for business owners and it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve read on business. It’s short and concise. I highly recommend that you read the book yourself. Here’s a brief overview – but please consider reading the book – it’s worth it.

Time feels different for each of us. For instance spending an hour with someone you love feels like a very short period of time compared to an hour solving a difficult client issue at work.  Einstein explained this experience of time. He pointed out that how we are in our daily lives affects how we work and how we view life. It’s important to control our emotions and be in the moment. It’s all about relationships with people – and with the golf ball.

First secret is to make sure you have hit the ball. Keep your attention on the project at hand. Finish it before you start something else. Don’t let your attention wander. Stay focused on the most important tasks at hand. Incompletion saps your energy and stops you from accomplishing more.

TIP: Make a list of the 3-5 things you need to accomplish every day and get them done.

Second secret is to not get so caught up in hitting the ball that you forget the swing. Swing as in a playground swing. Have some fun, find your rhythm. It’s not a hack or whack, it’s a swing. It needs to come easily and be graceful. You won’t always be in the swing of things, but you can get yourself back into the swing. This could also be considered sharpening the saw or taking a moment for a few deep breaths. As Hendricks’ recommends, “don’t push the river.”  When you’re feeling uncomfortable or feeling fear, you are not going to be working at your best.

TIP: Take a few moments every day to take a few deep breaths, recenter and relax.

The Third Secret is that the ball doesn’t go anywhere until you hit it. YOU bring the power and energy it takes to get things going – so do it. Life isn’t hard or beautiful or tough or fair. “Life isn’t ANYTHING until we IS it.” If you’re stuck in repeat patterns or not making as much money as you’d like in your business, rethink how you are working and make changes. Figure out what’s stopping you and stop it. Don’t focus on others and fixing their problems, fix yours. What things do you tell yourself that are no longer true or no longer serving you. Examine yourself carefully and get rid of old patterns.

TIP: Commit yourself to lifelong learning, not only about business or golf, but about yourself.

Now go buy the book and read it. I can’t begin to do it justice.

Sally Poole
Poole Communications owner

For more information on this book, and other works by Gay Hendricks’: http://www.hendricks.com/amazon/

Rose Anne Huck, manager of our Poplar Bluff office brings you today’s book review.

Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers.
By Seth Godin

Internet marketing pioneer Seth Godin says we must change the way almost everything is marketed today. 

Our author, Seth Godin, speaks to us about the demise of the age of interruption Marketing with the arrival of Permission Marketing. In this groundbreaking book, Godin describes the four tests of Permission Marketing:

  1. Does every single marketing effort you create encourage a learning relationship with your customers? Does it invite customers to “raise their hands” and start communicating?
  2. Do you have a permission database? Do you track the number of people who have given you permission to communicate with them?
  3. If consumers gave you permission to talk to them, would you have anything to say? Have you developed a marketing curriculum to teach people about your products?
  4. Once people become customers, do you work to deepen your permission to communicate with those people?

With case study after case study, Godin walks us through good and bad examples of using the power of Permission Marketing to grow a business and customer base.

We are encouraged to follow-up with a full “suite of follow-up messages” for permission given. The suite of messages is a leveraged sequence of communication designed to strengthen our position and build trust.

You can easily do the math. Drive traffic to your site to collect their contact information. For every x percent who give you permission, you’ll generate $Y in sales. To finish the equation all you need is your conversion rate which you may be able to pull from your sales and marketing records.

The key is not to focus on permission acquisition on-line but rather build to it into what you’re already doing in your marketing efforts.

Think of it this way: an Interruption Marketer is a hunter. A Permission Marketer is a farmer.

Seth Godin uses a charming analogy to demonstrate the differences between Permission Marketing and Interruption Marketing.

First Scenario: A man gets a new suit, shoes, all the accessories and heads to a singles bar. He has an engagement ring in his pocket. He proposes marriage over and over hoping for someone to take him up on his offer. As you can imagine, he suffers many rejections.

Second Scenario: A man chooses a likely prospective date. Asks her out to dinner and a movie (appropriate incentives). They spend time together. Go out again. Meet the family. Eventually he proposes marriage and gets an emphatic  “Yes!”

This approach is about building quality connections where there is mutual trust which in the long-term should result in greater sales per contact than any other system.

When we look at it this way, it is hard to imagine doing marketing any other way. It is also obvious that Permission Marketing requires a greater investment of time and resources. Permission Marketing results grow over time. They is measurable. These are the opposite of Interruption Marketing.

One hundred years ago small businesses ruled the world. They were responsive, trusted and capable. They offered samples or use of products before purchase and the company owner or sales person spent extra time with customers before the sale. It would not have been unusual for the company owner to be your neighbor. Oh my, how times have changed for most companies.

The KEY to Permission Marketing is in building a series of steps designed to get prospects to take the next step in the process. Let’s take a look at this example: Camp Arowhon

  1. Permission Marketing for the camp starts with an interruption message using an ad to order free information in the form of a brochure and video.
  2. The brochure and video are designed to sell a personal meeting – not sell camp registration.
  3. The visit sells the camp. After attending camp for one summer, campers are sold on the camp for an average of 6 summers plus referrals. This nets approximately $20,000 per family.

At each step the goal is to expand permission, not to make the final sale.

By not focusing on the sale, marketers are able to get far more out of their expenditures. Response rates to free samples, an affinity program or birthday club is 5 to 10 times higher than responses pushing for the sale.

When you are making your offer, the less you ask and the bigger the bribe, the more likely the consumer will bite. This guarantees your chance to deepen the permission with the next level.

Three important keys to keep in mind:

  1. Be personal.
  2. Be relevant.
  3. Be specific.

The first sale is the beginning of the relationship, NOT the ultimate goal. The Ultimate Goal is mutually beneficial – a relationship which grows over time. You supply their need. They pay you. You provide more. They buy more and so forth and so on.

If you find need to start with high cost interruption marketing, you want to leverage the cost of the first interruption across multiple interactions. In this instance it definitely pays to approach your audience in as many ways as possible.

TRUST is EVERYTHING! Without trust there are no sales. Trust means the prospect believes in the product and the company. Think of it this way, you have a different level of trust with a high-end jeweler versus the guy on the street with a briefcase of jewelry.

Building trust is a Step by Step process which requires time, money and commitment. Frequency builds familiarity and familiarity builds trust. When you first run your ad 10% of your market will remember it. If you run 30 days in a row, by the law of averages, eventually everyone will remember your ad. Frequency causes the consumer to focus on the message. Like repeating yourself to a 4-year-old helps get the point across – or training a dog or horse.

Statistically when you increase your frequency by 100% you increase your effectiveness by 400%! Frequency and trust outweigh reach and its glamour.

This book is packed with the fundamentals needed to connect with you audience in a way that resonates with them and will lead to relationships that are beneficial for you both.

One of my favorite examples used in the book is the LL Bean catalog company. Their inventory stays relatively unchanged year after year. There are a few tweaks but nothing extensive. LL Bean sends out catalogs over and over again even though the last book you got probably has not changed very much. Their loyal followers welcome these new books and peruse them and continue to buy from them year after year. This is the relationship we all need. Customers and prospects who are happy to receive our sales message and who trust us to deliver quality.

Permission Marketing was written in 1999 but remains an authoritative source of information. Many if not most of Godin’s predictions have come true. He was and is so far out front that even now, we are still working to implement what he preached then.

One last suggestion: Read it and read it soon.

To find out more about Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing book, visit http://sethgodin.com/sg/

Today’s review comes from our owner, Sally Poole.

Enchantment
by Guy Kawasaki

Build your company by building trust.

“The best overall treatise on interpersonal relationships since Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Michael Gartenberg, Research Director, Gartner 

If you haven’t read anything by Guy Kawasaki, it’s time to start. His books are entertaining and filled with usable information you can apply to your business or organization right away. Guy started out as the chief evangelist at Apple and he knows business and marketing.

In Enchantment, he talks about winning over people to your company, product or service. It’s much more than persuasion or influencing. It’s about providing a lasting benefit to others that transforms people and relationships. It cements customers to you. And the process is outlined in this book.

A few of the chapters include: How to Achieve Likability, How to Achieve Trust, How to Prepare, How to Launch, How to Overcome Resistance, How to Make Enchantment Endure.

I’m going to highlight pertinent points from a few of the chapters. Kawasaki talks about how to align yourself with others by becoming more likable through smiling, acceptance of others and even dressing in similar ways. He talks about building trust by being transparent and fully human. That means admitting mistakes and acknowledging personal flaws and passions. He suggests giving for giving sake.

He gives examples of products and companies that enchant, such as Virgin America, and Apple Macintosh. What makes them different is that they are deep, well designed, intelligent, complete, empowering and elegant. I personally love design and to me this is what great work is all about. Thinking a product or service through so that it provides the best possible experience.

I love this book because of all the working examples and the tools he gives you to succeed. One important part of the book is about giving to others. He suggests you give with joy, give early, give often and generously and give unexpectedly. This is part of what builds trust and relationships in business. He even gives you ideas of how to use technology in a better way. For

Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

instance, the six sentence email. Many emails are too long and don’t get read. I’ve even heard of a SIX WORD email. Try it and see what success you have.

Finally he talks about enchanting your employees, your boss and even how to avoid enchantment! Guy Kawasaki covers it all and you’ll enjoy his style and information. It’s a quick read and it will help you, your business or organization.

To find out more go to: http://www.guykawasaki.com/enchantment/

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”  -John Locke

Today we’re starting a series of book reviews from our owner Sally Poole, and Poplar Bluff Office Manager Rose Anne Huck. We’re reviewing books we’ve found helpful and want to share with you! We’re hoping you find this information valuable and that it inspires you in your business. We’ll posting one review a month, so keep checking back!

The E-Myth Revisited
Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It.
By Michael Gerber

Review by Rose Anne Huck

I was fascinated by the title of this book and further interested by the premise. A business consultant has a conversation with a bakery owner who loves to bake but is burned out and wondering if she has made a big mistake starting this business. The author walks us through a conversation where different aspects of the business are examined. He makes recommendations using a systems approach to the business. There is also a directive to establish your business as it will be when you are fully achieved.

Our author also makes a compelling case for a franchise approach to business development where everyday tasks are dissected for their best practices then duplicated across the whole business.

An examination of the core values of the business owner and the mission of the business yield some exciting options for giving back to the community.

Cleverly, there are references to the author’s website, where business consulting services are a click away, sprinkled throughout the book.

One concept I found particularly interesting was the description of having  a job versus owning a business. Gerber tells us there are three personality types necessary to build a business: The Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician. The Entrepreneur is the innovator, the person with vision who lives in the future and thrives on change. The Manager sees problems where the Entrepreneur sees opportunity. The Manager builds a house and lives in it forever. The Entrepreneur builds a house and is ready to start planning the next one. The Technician is the doer. As long as the Technician is working, he is happy, but only with one thing at a time. The Technician isn’t interested in ideas; he’s interested in “how to do it”. The Entrepreneur is always creating new and interesting things for the Technician to do.

All three of these profiles are part of each of us. If they were equally balanced, we’d be described as incredibly competent. But that balance is rare. Usually these points of view battle it out in our minds.

Businesses go through three stages of development: Infancy, Adolescence and Maturity. In Infancy, the Technician is in charge getting the work done, reveling in the freedom of owning a business. When you are successful and new customers come and the orders grow, eventually, you must move to the next stage of development where you must hire help. When that happens, often the owner is frantically trying to keep up with orders and business management. They may delegate by abdication meaning they neglect to give proper instruction and establish standards. Quality can suffer and so does the business.

This is the point where many businesses fail. What must happen is that the owner must build the business so that they can create jobs for others, not so much for themselves. If what you want to do is actually work, by all means get a job. Don’t start a business.

To move to Maturity, a business must be more than the person who owns it. It must operate well regardless of whether the owner is there. Quality must remain high. The loyalty of customers must depend not on one person but on the quality of services and products. And the owner must be free to dream, to wonder, to envision a bigger future for the company.

All in all, this book is a really good examination of some business principles and concepts which have helped me see the big picture in new ways. Some of the descriptions hit me between the eyes as errors in my own understanding of the “how” of business growth and management.

Find out more about the book here: http://www.michaelegerbercompanies.com/resources/products/the-e-myth-revisited/