I’m just kidding about those lazy, hazy days. If you’re like most SBOs and mangers, you will be running at a full gallop this summer. However, when you do get some free time, here are some gotta-read books for lying out in the sun, relaxing in bed before you snap off the light, or (come on, John, just say it) when you’re enjoying some quiet time in the bathroom.
What these books have in common: They’re hands-on, dollars-and-cents knowledge tomes that can fill your head with good information and your pockets with profits.
Creating Competitive Advantage: Give Customers a Reason to Choose You Over Your Competitors, by Jaynie L. Smith (2006), is one of those Wow! books that every business owner needs to read. Here are just two of the many practical lessons Smith serves up: (1) Do not compete on price. When you do, says Smith, “you’re accepting commodity status.” And (2) your true competitive advantage is quantifiable. Example: “Great customer service” is a meaningless phrase, while, “We have a 95% customer satisfaction on eBay,” actually means something,
Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell (2008) is a fun read that will get your mind outside the box, but in a logical, constructive way. The key message is that success is not about innate talent, but about other factors. One is sheer, hard work, which Gladwell refers to as the “10,000 Hour Rule.”
He draws a direct connection between level of success and time dedicated to learning a skill. For example, The Beatles’ phenomenal success can be attributed to the more than 1,200 performances they did early in their careers in the strip joints of Hamburg, Germany, playing sometimes seven days a week and up to ten hours a day. Gladwell quotes The Beatles biographer Philip Norman writing about their time in Hamburg: “They were no good on stage when they went there and they were very good when they came back…. They weren’t disciplined onstage at all before that. But when they came back, they sounded like no one else. It was the making of them.”
Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business, by Larry Weber (2009) is about the rules of the e-marketing game. Weber points out that marketing used to mean bending, twisting, shouting, cajoling, sex-appealing, manipulating, and pleading to get people to BUY! BUY! BUY! It was a one-way, top-down message.
No more. And we can blame that on (or thank) the web. “Today, 90 percent of the people who can avoid TV ads through TiVo, DVD recording, or the skip button on the VCR remote do so,” says Weber.
Today’s successful marketers are “aggregators,” not broadcasters. They build experiences, along with buying opportunities. The customers are in charge. If we give them what they want – information, experiences and the power to buy what they want, when they want (even at 2:00 AM in their jammies, if they like) and how they want (online, instore, inhome, at the beach) — they will buy … eventually.
Selling for Geniuses: Selling When Selling Isn’t in Your Title, by eight successful small business people from across the country, including Wisconsin’s Dan Paulson, president of InVision Business Development (2009).
What makes this book stand out is that every page is loaded with practical info. If you read Selling for Geniuses and don’t come away with a dozen or more money-making ideas, go back and read it again. You weren’t paying attention.
So, go ahead, when you do take a break this summer, soak up the sun and the ideas in these must-read business books. Then get back to work. And as always: work hard, make money, have fun!John Ingrisano The Freestyle Entrepreneur 204 Lakeview Drive Algoma, WI 54201 (920) 559-3722 www.TheFreestyleEntreprenuer.com
Popularity: 1% [?]