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32 Tips from the Entrepreneurs Bookshelf for Entrepreneurs, Startups & Business Owners

You’ve heard you are what you eat, well we believe that you are what you read. We receive hundreds of books to read to help out entrepreneurs and business owners but more than just offering a chance to hear about a book we believe we want you to walk away with some wisdom just like we did from reading these books.

Teach a CEO presents lessons from the Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf on how you can improve and grow your business venture. We have taken some nuggets from our library and provide them for entrepreneurs and business owners and to help your ventures.

  1. I used to think that millionaires were superhuman…. Now I don’t think that is the case at all. I have millionaires who are in my mastermind group and some who are mentors. I have many friends who are wealthy. They are just people. They weren’t born with the skills…. One of the things they have, which I say over and over and over again, is that they have an immense desire to learn. (The Eventual Millionaire)
  2. How do we expect to have a thriving company that helps people if you spend more on your car than on your business? It’s crazy! (The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything)
  3. If you study successful people from all walks of life, you will find that they make decisions quickly and rarely change their mind once the decision is made. To many people agonize over decisions, even small ones, and are quick to change at the first sign of a problem. The inability to act quickly has cost many a person the chance of a lifetime. If you want to be more successful and as a result happier, cultivate the habit of making decisions quickly. (happy@work)
  4. The idea that an idea must be unique to be good is an annoying (and very common) misconception. (Start Me Up!)
  5. In other words, customer satisfaction is determined by perception and expectations, two constantly shifting values. (Power)
  6. It’s that act of continuously striving and making incremental progress that counts. There are no overnight success. It take years. It’s a series of small wins. (The Eventual Millionaire)
  7. But most startups fail because business owners believe that their passion will somehow magically “bring them” the money. Passion will inspire you to work hard and get you out of bed in the morning; but you need a solid plan based in 10% information and 90% implementation. (The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything)
  8. A data-enabled culture simply accords data its own voice. This approach recognizes that good research has its own value that should be weighed in the balance against other factors beyond the available data. In a data-enabled culture, information is effectively used to help  companies ask better questions and make more informed decisions, without the polarizing influence of the data-obsessed or the data-agnostic. (The Billion Dollar Paperclip)
  9. …Small businesses generally fail because they fall prey to one or more of the six major pitfalls..They are as follows: (1) Complicated business idea (2) Poor revenue model (3) Poor marketing and branding (4) Lack of customer acquisition (5) Poor time management (6) No dedication to a sales formula. (Start Me Up!)
  10. Every great achievement begins in the mind. It’s within our own minds that brilliant ideas are hatched and plans for success are made. The mind’s power for generating great success comes not only from its role as the inspiration for a master plan, but also as the guiding force for the plan’s implementation. In short, when you can see your own success in your mind’s eye, you reinforce its chance of becoming a reality. (Plotting the Course)
  11. Leaders thus need to be supremely confident and, at the same time, see themselves and their situations accurately.(Leadership Blindspots)
  12. Whatever your burden is, focus on it. No matter how painful or seemingly unfair, zero in. Ask yourself how bad you really want the thing this obstacle is keeping you from getting. It’s not going to get less scary or easier; in fact, the longer you wait, the scarier it gets. When you do the gutsy things in business, it always pays off. (The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything)
  13. Keep in mind that the number-one reason businesses fail is because people simply stop. (The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything)
  14. Data, in all forms, is now more readily available than ever before, and will only continue to become cheaper and more accessible. (The Billion Dollar Paperclip)
  15. If you study successful people in any walk of life, you will find that they are continual learners and avid readers. Every high-achieving individual I’ve ever met reads personal-development and business books regularly. (happy@work)
  16. To review: The two reasons business plans are bullshit are (1) no one will read them; and (2) they are works of fiction. (Start Me Up!)
  17. So how do you create continuous forward motion? Three things: focus, patience, and routine. (The Eventual Millionaire)
  18. Consumers have learned to continually expect more, which means that customer satisfaction is a moving target. Standing still is not an option. A company must improve or be passed. Consumers have heightened expectations for each touchpoint. It is not enough to improve product quality; companies must also offer exciting new features and better service. Today’s ‘wow’ factor is tomorrow’s standard equipment. A company can gain a short-term bump in customer satisfaction and sales by introducing a new service or product feature, but soon enough the competition will introduce the same or better. Thus, the new breakthrough product or service quickly becomes a baseline expectation. (Power)
  19. Perhaps the most important factor to consider regarding the persistence of blindspots is the tendency of people to overestimate their own capabilities. (Leadership Blindspots)
  20. Practice can feel like a difficult chore, and improvement isn’t always immediately apparent. However, with time devoted to practice, a keener instinct is automatically planted within us that can take over when the time to perform has arrived. Sailors reach the point where they can reach for a line without looking, instinctively knowing exactly where it is. (Plotting the Course)
  21. Regardless of how important or menial you feel your work is it is an essential part of something bigger. When you understand this you will find it easier to derive pleasure an meaning from your work. (happy@work)
  22. A central theme of this book is the need for leaders to find an optimal margin of illusion in regard to their blindspots. They need to have enough illusion to create hope and sustain confidence–both in themselves and in those who follow them. Those who are only realistic are operating as managers and not leaders. At the same time, leaders need to see their situations clearly and not allow what they want to occur to blind them to the reality of what they are facing. (Leadership Blindspots)
  23. Selling your product and services is the single most important thing you do as a business owner. (Start Me Up!)
  24. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is a critical step in developing a strategy for success. It helps set direction, allocate resources and promote growth. (Plotting the Course)
  25. If you want to excel, set goals that cause you to stretch beyond your comfort zone and challenge you to step up. (happy@work)
  26. If you want to accomplish more, feel better, and be less stressed, make a habit of writing down the three to five most important things you need to do each day to achieve your goals–and do nothing else until they are completed.  (happy@work)
  27. Opportunities in life, as in sailing are not obvious to everyone, nor does everyone know what to look for in search of one. They do appear for everyone at some time, in some form or another, and it is those individuals who can recognize an opportunity and seize it that open up new possibilities for themselves. (Plotting the Course)
  28. Beware those who want to pull you down with them. We all have people n our lives who are determined to take us down the rabbit hole. They are the ones who are too scared to try, or want to quit halfway through, and they don’t want to do it alone. (The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything)
  29. Most corporations need formal or informal mechanisms to encourage views that are different from the dominant culture or prevailing point of view on any given issue (including the leader’s own thinking). A leader needs to encourage these viewpoints, particularly in regard to the vetting of a full range of views on key decisions or areas of the business. (Leadership Blindspots)
  30. The bottom line is that if you want to stay in the business of data, you must embrace some aspect of contextual analytics so that you can provide unique value. Clearly, I do not think every company should rush out and become the full-service contextual analytics provider in their respective industry (although I hope many consider it). (The Billion Dollar Paperclip)
  31. Your idea for a business may not be completely original, but the way you tackle the solution can be original. Differentiate yourself from your competition and explain why you have more to offer than everyone else. (The Eventual Millionaire)
  32. Overall, I believe that dealerships will continue to adapt to industry changes and remain viable, especially if they are savvy and embrace emerging trends, as so many of my friends in retail do. They will be operating in an era of customers empowered by the Internet and even more freely available data…. Also industry people should never underestimate the power of the consumer to seek out and grab a good deal. (Power)

The Summary of the Books on the Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf

Excerpts from Amazon.com

Happy at Work: 60 Simple Ways to Stay Engaged and Be Successful by Jim Donovan – Even in a tight economy, job satisfaction isn’t a luxury; fulfilled, happy employees are productive, innovative, and loyal. And workplace fulfillment spills over into happier families and better communities. Jim Donovan, a small-business owner, consultant, and speaker, has worked with employees and employers for twenty-five years. In that time he has tested and honed these shift-producing strategies on everything from managing time, making decisions, and marking milestones to breaking patterns, bouncing back, and becoming exceptional. Each tip’s method and rationale are clearly explained. Real workplace vignettes demonstrate the benefits and results that can be gleaned from simple shifts and actions. These tools will empower you with the knowledge that no matter the circumstance, you can think, act, and feel in ways that create purpose, success, and, yes, happiness.

Plotting the Course: Life Lessons from the sport of Sailing by Rick Arneson – Whether you’re an experienced sailor or a newcomer to the sport, Plotting THE COURSE: LIFE LESSONS FROM THE SPORT OF SAILING delivers relatable and essential lessons for personal and professional achievement, drawn straight from the world of competitive sailing. Through a fascinating narrative that compares principles of sailboat racing to business, politics, history and more, you will discover what this diverse and intriguing sport can teach about: • Organization • Competition • Leadership • Decision Making • Teamwork • Personal Growth

Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses that Matter by Robert Bruce Shaw – Good leaders become great by skillfully managing their own vulnerabilities. Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter is a comprehensive guide to recognizing and acting on the weak points that can impair effectiveness, diminish results, and harm a career. Written by an author with years of experience working with leaders in a variety of industries, the book contains examples, worksheets and surveys that illustrate the practical application of the advice presented. An online questionnaire helps readers discover their own leadership vulnerabilities, and the book provides a roadmap for creating a targeted plan to increase their awareness in the areas that truly matter.

POWER: How J.D. Power III Became the Auto Industry’s Adviser, Confessor, and Eyewitness to History by Sarah Morgans & Bill Thorness – No other individual has had as broad an impact on the auto industry during the past fifty years as Dave Power. Dave’s persistence in getting auto executives to listen to customer concerns was key to the across-the-board rise in car quality, and the influence of his J.D. Power and Associates rankings has permanently raised the bar on customer satisfaction. Enhanced with anecdotal quotes from Dave as well as dozens of industry insiders, POWER is a compelling study of an intelligent, polite, market-research wonk who unblinkingly spoke truth to power, and ended up making customer satisfaction a watchword not just in automotive but in all manufacturing and service industries.

The Billion Dollar Paperclip: Think Smarter about Your Data by Gregory Short – Two nearly identical products are released: one breaks all sales records while the other sits on store shelves untouched. The products look the same. They have the same target market, the same price, and similar retailers. So why did one succeed, where the other failed? Market researchers and data analysts have been wrestling with questions like this for decades. As the flood of Big Data adds both possibilities and complexities to traditional research methodologies, the ultimate solution for companies seeking to become data enabled has finally emerged. Inspired by the human mind, the new field of contextual analytics is revolutionizing how data and technology can empower everyday business decisions. The information to make your business more profitable is likely available to you, but either dormant or disconnected from your decision making process.

Start Me Up: The No-Business-Plan Business Plan by Ebong Eka – There are four major pitfalls that business owners experience that inevitably lead to failure. Start Me Up! provides strategies to avoid those pitfalls and gives you the powerful ideas you need to build your thriving business. This is the perfect time to start a small business using your existing skills. Although far too many small businesses fail in their first year, many such failures are absolutely preventable. Ebong Eka will show you how to not just survive, but thrive in your new venture. In Start Me Up!, you’ll learn how to: Discard inferior business ideas before you invest your time and money in them, simplify your viable business ideas and accurately identify the best markets to target, charge your customers higher prices without losing them, avoid wasting time on mindless tasks so you can focus on running your business, and create brand ambassadors, engage customers, and grow your sales–all while spending less money! The best and most successful companies know the importance of the Four S’s: structure, strategy, systems, and sales. Most companies that fail, lack one or more of these necessary factors. Let Ebong show you how to be one of the former.

The Eventual Millionaire: How Anyone Can Be An Entrepreneur and Successfully Grow Their Startup by Jaime Tardy – An Eventual Millionaire is someone who knows they will be a millionaire, eventually. But they want to do it on their own terms—with an enjoyable life and an enjoyable business. Eventual Millionaires are everywhere, from the airplane pilot looking to start his own business for more freedom and money to a student looking to start her life on the right foot to a successful business owner needing inspiration and wondering how to take her business to the next level. There are many ways to become a millionaire, but research has often shown that creating your own business is one of the best ways to build wealth. The Eventual Millionaire will lay the foundation for those looking to start their own business and work their way toward financial independence and a fulfilled life.

The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything: The Why of Why Your Business Isn’t Making More Money by Suzanne Evans – While business consultants are having you scour over profit and loss statements, the real truth is businesses don’t fail; people quit. The Way You Do Anything Is the Way You Do Everything offers a realistic, sarcastic, and fiercely honest look at how business owners fail to commit. Business success is all about mindset, and author Suzanne Evans helps you uncover your goals and blast away the obstacles that are standing in your way. She offers ways to make more money, more quickly and eliminate everything that doesn’t work.

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of Gresham Harkless Jr.
Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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