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39 Business Tips & Lessons from the Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf

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You’ve heard you are what you eat, well we believe that you are what you read. Teach a CEO presents lessons from our bookshelf on how you can improve and grow your venture. We have taken nuggets from our library and provide them for entrepreneurs and business owners.

  1. There are 5 things all moms with successful ventures have in common (1) They have an existing talent, skill or passion. (2) They have a network of supportive friends and family. (3) They usually have no formal business plan. (4) They raise no start-up capital. (5) They overcome their fear. (Venture Mom)
  2. Give some long, hard thought to the kind of person you are and to who your business partner truly is. (Living Proof)
  3. It’ advantageous to make a contribution to improving your employees’ lives. In business, this means leaders must adopt business practices that help employees have a personal life. (The Optimistic Workplace)
  4. The last component to truly embracing inclusion and diversity in an organization is creating a culture of accountability. In order to do so, leadership must make it not only acceptable but expected that employees say something when they feel they have observed bias that has a negative impact on business result. (Leading Across New Borders)
  5. There must be collaboration among executives and employees to ensure success. Start talking now. (Kulture Klash)
  6. Business takes balls…or ovaries. Either way, you’ve got to grow a pair. It takes doing your own dance when you can’t feel your feet or the ground beneath them, knowing that the floor will come up to meet your feet or you will be given wings to fly. (Unleash Your Moxie)
  7. When leadership is a state of mind, you prime yourself to grow and succeed, no matter your level or position. (Hidden Strength)
  8. Customer centricity is an essential part of doing business today and ensures growth for all people-facing industries, both now and in the future. (Winning Customer Centricity)
  9. The home office can be a trap. … You must drop everything else and focus on your venture. (Venture Mom)
  10. Sales is the responsibility of a centrally coordinated team. (The Machine)
  11. If you have a growth mindset, you believe hard work can lead to improvement. In fact, a person with a growth mindset believes it’s essential to put forward the effort to master the skills to create workplace optimism.(The Optimistic Workplace)
  12. If a company can do something cheaper, then they will, no matter what. (Revelations Incorporated)
  13. Changing up your routine and physical surroundings will help open up your mind to fresh perspectives. (Life is Good)
  14. Purpose serves as an anchor and helps a person be more resilient in the face of difficulty.(The Optimistic Workplace)
  15. Before I start to sound too much like I’m contradicting myself, let me get to my main point–that less is more. When it comes to business, less is more productive. Doing less is actually creating more. (Unleash Your Moxie)
  16. Innovation in fast-growth markets can have disruptive impacts, even in developed markets. (Leading Across New Borders)
  17. …even the most skilled innovators don’t necessarily have what it takes when it comes to the nuts and bolts of taking an already lucrative business to the next level. (Living Proof)
  18. Branding identifies your venture and differentiates your business from competing or similar ventures. (Venture Mom)
  19. You are so much more than what comes naturally to you. (Hidden Strength)
  20. A CEO must be not only intelligent but also resourceful, proactive, and courageous when the company’s future is on the line. (Kulture Klash)
  21. Where planning is concerned, what’s required is an inside-out approach. Start with an inside sales function and then add field resources as they are required–and only to the extent that they are required. (The Machine)
  22. Optimists are able to view rejection as an opportunity to adjust and improve, embracing the chance to learn, grow, and try again. (Life is Good)
  23. In business, we need to plan for potential losses and manage risks. (The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind)
  24. Finding meaning and doing meaningful work is a reason for employees to stay with an organization. (The Optimistic Workplace)
  25. The problem with cold calling is that it simply doesn’t make sense for your customers. (The Machine)
  26. Unpredictability is embraced as an opportunity to maximize success even when its definition is unclear or unknown. This path may appear riskier given its nature, but it’s the best path forward if you want to thrive in our hyperconnected, socially enabled, relationship-centric business world.(The Optimistic Workplace)
  27. Aggressively cut down your media consumption, screen time, emails, and meeting with people who light up a room when they leave it. (Life is Good)
  28. The secret of every big successful business is recurring income. (Unleash Your Moxie)
  29. A company needs its technicians and analytical types to keep the ship afloat, but it also needs its creative types. Make sure both types are people of integrity, honesty and passion if you want to make the company “voyage” a rousing and ongoing success. (Kulture Klash)
  30. You should be constantly reflecting on the skills you want to develop. (Hidden Strength)
  31. Product testing is an essential on-going necessity for all companies. (Winning Customer Centricity)
  32. All promotional campaigns have 3 fundamental ingredients: (1) an offer, the basic proposition the campaign presents; (2) an audience, the set of individuals to which the campaign is targeted; and (3) communication, how the offer communicated–the creative execution. (The Machine)
  33. People who lack sufficient knowledge about how to work with members of different cultures encounter costly, predictable negative consequences. (Leading Across New Borders)
  34. Creativity is not something to keep to yourself. In facet, the more you use it and share it, the more you have it. (Life is Good)
  35. You must be proactive about getting your work into the public eye. (Venture Mom)
  36. In order to deal with these issues effectively, when in pursuit of profit and monetary rewards be sure that you maintain your balance. (Revelations Incorporated)
  37. Successfully navigating today’s global business environment requires that companies straddle the inherently competing demands of both fast- and slow-growth markets. (Leading Across New Borders)
  38. There is a balancing component to effective focus. When you focus too much on one thing, you may miss other opportunities. The key is to focus on your target while simultaneously keeping an open mind. Also, when your focus is too intense, you tend to feel stress. (The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind)
  39. It doesn’t matter if you’re opening up a cupcake shop, or starting a software company, or making the next craft beer or organic wine–you’ve got to have an intriguing story. (Living Proof)

The Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf

Book descriptions are from Amazon.com

When it comes to work these days, we’re expected to do more with less–but is this nose-to-the-grindstone philosophy the best way to run a business? Alarmingly low employee engagement numbers indicate otherwise. So, if pushing everyone harder isn’t the path to productivity, what is? Supported by the latest research, this eye-opening book argues that our best work is the product of a positive environment. That’s good news for you as a manager. While you can’t personally transform the corporate culture, you can influence the workplace climate and create meaningful and lasting change. Advocating a steward model of management, “The Optimistic Workplace “reveals how to: Explore personal and organizational purpose–and align them for astonishing results – Overcome resistance and skepticism – Build camaraderie and deepen loyalty – Increase intrinsic motivation – Help your team find meaning in their work – Identify goals collaboratively and track progress – And more Examples from companies large and small demonstrate how this people-centric focus ignites employee potential, increases innovation, and catapults the organization to new levels of performance. Far from being a wish-upon-a-star discussion of workplace happiness, this book presents an array of surprisingly simple strategies as well as practical 30-, 60-, and 90-day plans designed to focus your actions and make employee optimism not just a worthy goal–but a real and measurable result.

Crystal O’Connor’s Unleash Your Moxie delivers a powerful punch of irreverent motivation with a twist of love and compassion. With a unique blend of saucy wisdom and street-smart advice based on her incredible experiences, she walks you through her insights into success, life, and money. She’ll show you how you too can transform your life practically overnight by changing the way you think and unleashing your Moxie to create success from the inside out.

Books like StrengthsFinder 2.0 have helped leaders discover their strengths–but they stop there. The Sindells argue that focusing only on your best abilities neglects a vital development opportunity. They show how to identify hidden strengths that can be quickly elevated into full strengths with attention and focus. Working mainly on your strengths can ultimately make you weaker, they argue–you need to continually add new skills, not rely on what you’re already good at. And while most people assume that means they should try to turn their weaknesses into usable skills, the Sindells say that it takes too much time and effort –the ROI just isn’t there. It’s in the neglected middle skills, neither strengths nor weaknesses, that the most potent development opportunities lie. They’re close enough to being strengths that putting your energy there can offer a powerful payoff. Using assessments, exercises, and case studies, the Sindells help you identify your most promising middle skills and create a plan to turn them into strengths. In today’s work environment, not growing and stretching yourself translates into lack of innovation, stagnation, and obsolescence. Relying upon strengths is like relying upon training wheels – at a certain point you need to take them off in order to improve and grow.

 

Customer centricity isn’t just a goal or buzzword; it’s a make-or-break necessity for succeeding in business today. In fifty short chapters (one for each week of the year), this book accompanies you on your journey to increased customer centricity. Its unique approach enables you to strategically turn your organisation into a customer-focused powerhouse, from the inside out. Winning Customer Centricity will show you how to: Integrate customers into your company’s very DNA, from strategy to infrastructure Choose and connect with the right customers and build long-term relationships Reinvent your brand to ignite and maintain customer demand and loyalty …. and a whole lot more. Whether you’re starting a new company, seeking to turn around one that’s underperforming, or working to build upon a solid foundation, Winning Customer Centricity will help you to put your customers where they belong – at the very heart of your business!

In The Machine, Justin Roff-Marsh shows readers how to follow the intrepid executives on three continents who have implemented his ideas over the last 15 years, building ridiculously efficient sales functions–and market-dominating enterprises–as a consequence. Roff-Marsh calls these executives his silent revolutionaries. This revolution has been brewing for a long time. For the last 20 years, organizations’ ability to produce has overtaken their ability to sell, and, for at least as long, customers have unfailingly embraced every opportunity to avoid interacting with traditional field salespeople. Applying the division of labor to sales might not seem controversial, but this innocent-sounding idea decimates the sales management orthodoxy and replaces it with a strange new world where sales is primarily an inside activity, where salespeople earn fixed salaries and focus their attention exclusively on selling conversations, where regional sales offices become redundant, and where marketing and engineering become seamlessly integrated with sales. The Machine is a field guide for the executive who’s prepared to wrestle sales away from autonomous field-based artisans in favor of a tightly synchronized team of specialists. Readers will embrace The Machine either to exploit the new sales order or to avoid falling victim to it.

From Life is Good founders and brothers Bert and John Jacobs, this inspiring book of wisdom celebrates the power of optimism: the driving force behind their beloved, socially conscious clothing and lifestyle brand, now worth more than $100 million. Following the chronology of their personal and professional journeys, Bert and John share their unique ride—from their scrappy upbringing outside Boston to the unlikely runaway success of their business. The brothers illuminate ten key “superpowers” accessible to us all: openness, courage, simplicity, humor, gratitude, fun, compassion, creativity, authenticity, and love. Their story, illustrated with the company’s iconic artwork, shows how to overcome obstacles and embrace opportunities—whether it’s growing stronger from rejection, letting your imagination loose, or simplifying your life to focus on what matters most. In these colorful pages, Bert and John’s plainspoken insights are paired with inspiring quotations, playful top-ten lists, deeply moving letter from the Life is Good community, and valuable takeaways from tapping the power of optimism to live your best life. Both entertaining and profound, Life is Good: The Book is the ultimate guide to embracing and growing the good in your life.

You can take care of kids and take care of business. Many mothers today are jumping into the entrepreneurial ring, transforming simple ideas into profit able ventures. And in the process, they’re creating flexible jobs for themselves – all with out start-up capital, business plans, or even babysitters. Venture Mom recounts inspiring stories from women who have channeled their passions into money-making products and services, from designer one sies to gluten-freecookies. They’re thriving in the whirlwind of motherhood and entrepreneurship. Venture Mom helps anyone get started. It strips away the mystery of launching a business and unlocks a fast, easy formula. No time for market research? No budget for promotion? In 12 steps, each achievable in a week, the book simplifies the start-up process and shares: tips and techniques for honing a concept, doing just enough research, finding the perfect name; five factors that improve the odds of success; free resources for logos, web design, and branding; and strategies for leveraging email, blogging, and social media. Whether the goal is adding to the family finances or building a major enterprise, Venture Mom delivers the tools you need to make your business dream a reality.

Ever wonder how business really operates? Why Management makes the decisions that it does? How do some people get away with bad behavior at work while others don’t Well the answer is that Business is a sociopathic beast. Virtually everyone working in business knows it, but few individuals are willing to admit it, and even fewer are willing to discuss it. This is the “elephant in the room” for every company & corporation, no matter what industry they operate within. Dealing with these scenarios can be extremely difficult and stressful if an individual is unprepared. That is where this book can help. This book is a guide to the truth of many business topics that are rarely discussed in training programs or school/college textbooks. It takes an objective look at the illusions that are perpetuated by companies and corporations, and the reality behind them. It also offers many techniques to deal with these scenarios, and provides the insight needed to see through the self-serving motivations of those activities.

An insightful, real-world look at the skills today’s global leadership demands Leading Across Borders is the leadership guide for the new business environment. The world’s economic center of gravity is shifting at a rapid pace – huge emerging economies have already emerged. As businesses operate in an increasingly global context, the most successful leaders are able to see through the eyes of others and to hear the voices of customers and colleagues from around the world. They build their own personal networks, navigate differences, and work effectively across new borders – both the physical borders between countries and the limits of old leadership paradigms. This book features direct input from people in critical roles around the world, advice based on deep practical experience, and new data that identifies the distinctive challenges of leading in an environment becoming more thoroughly interdependent every day. There is valuable advice for anyone taking on a global leadership role. You’ll find strategies and tools for working across cultures, leading inclusively, running a matrix team, innovating, integrating an acquisition, and making tough ethical choices. Each chapter challenges established leadership models and shares hard-won expertise in dealing effectively with a changing reality that includes both fast-growth and slow-growth markets. You will learn how to serve more numerous stakeholders and to achieve your goals in a complex organizational structure without having direct lines of authority. This insightful guide helps you work more effectively at the self, team, and organizational levels, so you can get things done and grow your business.

International Bestseller and Amazon #1 Hot New Release – “The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind” offers practical strategies for business transformation, based on research from organizational psychology, neuroscience, business analytics, and multiple intelligences theory. Valeh Nazemoff, a strategic business technology advisor, reveals four different but interrelated types of intelligence essential to today’s executive: financial, customer, data, and mastermind intelligence. Knowledge of these transformational intelligences will benefit anyone from individual leaders up through entire organizations. This short yet impactful book teaches readers to train their brains in this new way of thinking, apply these skills to their organizations, and influence their companies to adopt these transformation techniques. By approaching analysis, strategy mapping, and decision-making with the calm, positive, and proactive methodology detailed in this book, executives and decision makers will feel confident in addressing the challenges posed by constantly evolving business environments. Thinking according to the four transformational intelligences will become second nature, resulting in individual and organizational change.

In his book, “Kulture Klash: An Allegory,” Terry Barber uses the site of the Ten Commandments as a battlefield for the modern day confrontation between the good and evil of a hostile takeover in the corporate workplace. It is an allegory that is brilliantly presented for today’s leaders and followers who struggle in their job of trying to make their companies and lives relevant. Barber highlights three groups of combatants: King Klash, the Enigmatic Emperor, the bad guys in the office, The Troublemakers consisting of The Blamegamers, The Clockwatchers, The Cornercutters and worst of all, The Insidions; and the good guys, the Remnant, The Inspirators, The Encouragamentors, The Creativists, The Integrists and the Passionates who follow their conscience and not corporate politics. As the battle in the Valley of the Sinai approaches with a fatal hostile takeover imminent, we see the issues plaguing most corporations today and why many of them have failed to reach their potential. Barber deftly moves the players around like a six thousand old chess game with memorable characters, (King Klash, Garth Odion, Moses Manu, Sabu Suckup, Tutu Aswad, Dante Firestarter, Osman Tota, Soliman Tor and Sabu Jabari, among others. They are not only colorful names they will be readily recognizable in today’s corporate world. “Kulture Klash: An Allegory,” is not just a fun read, it is loaded with philosophical, inspirational and practical principles that apply to today’s corporate issues and relationships. Terry Barber has just invented a creative way of making the problems and solutions clear for the 21st Century employer and employees by bringing in the character pillars of the past to build a foundational future for success today. It is easy to read, entertaining in its texture and has a wonderful ending, one that any corporate leader or employee would be happy to experience.

Living Proof tells the story of how, in just a few short years, Connecticut natives Adam and Pete took Onyx Spirits Company from a start-up concept born in a restored Civil War-era factory to a multimillion-dollar, award-winning spirit distillery by breaking rules, learning from failures, and challenging the status quo. Business lessons distilled from the mind of a moonshiner include: Finding your purpose in business (and life). (1) Setting goals, reaching goals–then setting more goals. (2) Founding a small business and growing it into a big company. (3) Building a highly unique brand. (4) Making money out of thin air (almost). Adam’s ancestors were arrested in 1864 for tax evasion on a shipment of moonshine bound for Canada, resulting in the collapse of Chafee & Co. Distilling. Undaunted by their demise, the family opened the grand Chafee’s Hotel in Middletown, Connecticut, at the dawn of the Roaring twenties, hosting an opulent and infamous speakeasy. The family legacy continues today with Onyx Moonshine.

 

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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