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37 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. Entrepreneurship is more than a job. It is an identity, a community, a lifestyle, and a mindset…. Unlike many positions along today’s corporate ladder, entrepreneurship can deliver a lifestyle to support yourself and your family with flexibility, freedom and satisfaction. (Elegant Entrepreneur)
  2. Striving for “continual innovation, not instant perfection” is one of Google’s 8 principles of innovation. Our iterative process often teaches us invaluable lessons. Watching users “in the wild” as they use our products is the best way to find out what works; then we can act on that feedback. it’s much better to learn these things early and be able to respond than to go too far down the wrong path.(Does It Work?)
  3. I learned that hard work and perseverance can get you anywhere. I started in the projects of South Philly eating government cheese. I made my first money selling tomatoes door to door and collecting soda bottles. (Get Back Up)
  4. Every entrepreneur has strengths and weaknesses. It is critical to work from your strengths, rather than spending large amounts of time trying to improve your weaknesses. Where there is weakness, find a person who is strong in that area, and add them to your team. They can easily do the work you struggle with. (Rise of the Entrepreneur
  5. Experience has proven that the surest way to gain influence with people is to become an expert at solving problems, their problems. Once you help a person solve a problem that has vexed them, you’ll not only gain stature with these people, but they will be in your debt. (The Success Process Handbook)
  6. You must commit to growing your business by a minimum of 15 percent or more each year to attain and maintain it. That pace of growth creates the breathing room you need to achieve balance, which, in turn, will lead to more growth. (The Sustainable Edge)
  7. The bottom line is that a brand that only exists in the online world isn’t enough anymore. Even if they don’t have the ability or desire to launch their own brick-and-mortar stores…brands are realizing that they need some physical presence. Whether through trunk shows, store-in-stores, or pop-up shops, brands are experimenting with new ways to create a physical space where they can interact with customers one-on-one. (The Pop Up Paradigm)
  8. One thing I’ve found to be true in business is that investing in quality pays dividends.  (All Jokes Aside)
  9. It is incredibly lonely and scary to be a solo founder. It can be done, but it usually feels overwhelming to be responsible for every aspect of your business. The constant pressure of solo entrepreneurship can deplete your creativity and leave you burned out. (Elegant Entrepreneur)
  10. Increases in activity should be based on a certain boldness. Timidity and passivity don’t work in capitalism, so you must make the bold proclamation that you and your company have arrived and the market should stand up and take notice. When you pour out yourself and your company in the marketplace you will begin to win, and as you win, expect criticism and complaints. You can’t lead, market, and/or run a company successfully without drawing fire from people who don’t understand this. (EntreLeadership)
  11. Be the best in everything you do. Establish yourself as a winner, or be ready to face hardship, humiliation, and death–winding up sick, poor, and alone. You can give back when you make it, when you have everything you need and desire and you feel secure that all your days will be lived in comfort and security. Until then, get as much as you can as fast as you can because you never know when the next guy might come along and take your spot. (Being Relational)
  12. Once you have found your place in the market, made a successful prototype, effectively priced your product, and found the funding to giver yourselves the necessary time to turn a profit, the next step in the Sales Force is to protect your product. (Rise of the Entrepreneur)
  13. As you can see, most organizations whose team members become known for delivering an extraordinary customer experience begin with strong core values. However, it’s not as important to have them as it is to communicate them and live them every day. (501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers)
  14. “One Size” is not rocket science, or even model rocket science. It’s plain common sense. We all know that we respond better to what’s more relevant to us. In today’s more personalized age, we expect brands to know a little about us and treat us in a novel and surprising way. (Does It Work?)
  15. Making goods to last and being less wasteful will make it easier to achieve the transition to our all-renewable world. So America’s leadership in combating the climate problem should include a shift in mindset away from our materialism to an appreciation that less can be more and that we’ll all be better off if we build stuff to last. (All Electric America)
  16. No one is born an expert. It takes personal experience, research and massive amounts of customer interaction and feedback to become an expert. (Elegant Entrepreneur)
  17. Life is full of challenges and opportunities. You will get knocked down probably more than you like, but that’s life. Learn from it–but most importantly, get back up! (Get Back Up)
  18. When you are clear on your big goals, it gets easier to say the three magic words that will present you from veering off course, “No, thank you.” (The Sustainable Edge)
  19. Today, a great idea can come from anywhere: project management, user experience, copywriters, even receptionists new to the company. By making everyone understand objectives and work together toward them, we can knock down silos and achieve a more horizontal environment that unlocks our organization’s true potential.(Does It Work?)
  20. In order to invite effective customer engagement, the most important factor is that a brand deeply understands the customer. Pop-ups need to appeal to something that customers really want to participate in so that they are motivated to join the conversation. (The Pop Up Paradigm)
  21. When scheduling a meeting, taking time to prepare for the meeting. Too many times we go into a meeting and wing it. If you are going to invest valuable time and money by gathering people together, have an agenda and be prepared to present your ideas. (EntreLeadership)
  22. Equally important is the way you respond to employees when they make a mistake or have a mishap. You want to give your team members the sense that you’re all in this together, and that, though you are absolutely going to do what’s right for the customer at the same time, you have each other’s backs. (501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers)
  23. I’ve lost count of the times when life has knocked me down, or when i twas told that there was something I couldn’t have, or that I wasn’t good enough, or that my body was too damaged for me to hold any kind of job. But every time life tried to beat me down, I learned something. And each time, I got back up. (Get Back Up)
  24. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in the “it’s all up to me” mindset; it will cripple your company quickly. (Elegant Entrepreneur)
  25. To free space for what is truly important to you, like family and exercise are for each of us, you have to say no to distractions. (The Sustainable Edge)
  26. When it came to scouting onstage talent, let me draw another sports analogy. In sports, you try to put the right team together–not always the most talented people, but eh right cohesive mix of people, but the right cohesive mix of people who can work together best. Sometimes the most talented guy might not be a starter. It became a puzzle: how do I put these pieces together and put on a great show week after week?  (All Jokes Aside)
  27. Being present means that you are physically, mentally, emotionally, right there with the other person. You know when someone is present with you and reciprocally they know when you are present with them. It takes effort.(Being Relational)
  28. Pop-ups are not just short-term replacements for retail locations. They can serve not only as a way for brands to create sales, but also to increase customer engagement, learn about their customers, teach their customers about their product, and test partnerships with other brands. (The Pop Up Paradigm)
  29. Always keep in mind how powerfully inspiring stories re. The history of the company is just one story, but you should also be continually building the story. (EntreLeadership)
  30. Compassion is that emotion that allows you to shift from self-absorption to being attentive to the other person. (Being Relational)
  31. People still like doing business with people they like. Social media gives those organizations an opportunity to connect with customers on a more personal level, sharing the “personality” of their company with the world. For those of us in customer-facing positions, it’s an opportunity to connect with people on a wider scale and keep the conversation going in between our in-person encounters. (501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers)
  32. Research will reveal if your idea or product is a good one, if there are people who want it enough to purchase it, how many potential customers there are, and how much they’re willing to pay. You need these answers before you can begin to decide if your idea is worth your full commitment and capital.  (Elegant Entrepreneur)
  33. The first great stride you will make is when you discover that you need the help of others to achieve whatever greatness you are destined to receive. The loner, the self-mad man, are either cruel deceptions are so rare and time to extreme circumstances that doing it by yourself is a difficult self-defeating strategy. (The Success Process Handbook)
  34. Prioritize and compromise. Certain times in life call for focusing extra energy and hours on work, such as when you’re building a new career or establishing credibility in a new job. (You’re Tearing Us Apart)
  35. Running our business on a shoestring budget had always forced us to be creative. (All Jokes Aside)
  36. Being clear means that you consider both your needs and the needs of the other person when you exchange information. (Being Relational)
  37. You must also manage the image of your brand. Therefore, it is important to control exactly how information about your product is broadcast through social networks, the press, blogs, testimonials, and more. (Rise of the Entrepreneur

Books from the Bookshelf

Summaries from Amazon.com

Does It Work?: 10 Principles for Delivering True Business Value in Digital Marketing – If you’ve ever wondered if your digital marketing is working, this book will help you reevaluate everything you’re doing. By following 10 key principles, you’ll be able to measure the data that really matters, launch the initiatives that really pay off, and inspire the creativity that really drives an effective campaign.  Each of the 10 principles starts with a link to a short video introducing the principle, giving real world examples to bring it to life.   You’ll hear the personal insights of the world’s greatest business leaders and the professional triumphs (and tumbles) of the world’s biggest brands. You’ll learn how to hire and inspire the rare creative “unicorns” who turn marketing into magic. You’ll find new ways to turn data into ideas and obstacles into opportunities. You’ll turn web site visitors into followers, followers into sharers, and sharers into your very best customers.

Get Back Up: From the Streets to Microsoft Suites – With rare humor and the instincts of a born storyteller, George A. Santino describes his rise from rags to riches through a series of adventures that begin in Philadelphia’s violent Tasker Street projects where he dodges his alcoholic father’s fits of temper, fishes for rats, and sells tomatoes from the back of a truck. His escapades continue as he opens a sports bar with no walls in North Tampa, curses out a drill sergeant in Fort Jackson, and battles a hiring manager to get a job in Menlo Park that he fully intends to turn down. Santino’s adventures culminate when he enjoys a long, successful career with Microsoft, builds a family, loses (and regains) a small fortune along the way, and triumphs over a freak spinal injury that doctors predicted would prevent him from ever working again before his thirtieth birthday. Throughout, Santino shares his perspectives on business and mentorship and stresses, by example, his central lesson: No matter what life throws at you, get back up.

The Sustainable Edge: 15 Minutes a Week to a Richer Entrepreneurial Life – The Sustainable Edge: Fifteen Minutes a Week to a Richer Entrepreneurial Life was written for business owners who are seeking a fuller, more rewarding work-life balance. In this easy-to-reference, practical guide authors and entrepreneurs Ron Carson and Scott Ford share personal anecdotes to their own career successes. Each chapter is designed to inspire entrepreneurs to define and sustain a competitive edge in the complex, fast-changing world of business. Relying on insights and proprietary tools based on decades of experience, the authors teach you how to achieve your goals across four key areas: your business, your teams, your clients, and your personal lives. In this book you will learn the authors’ trademarked Business Implementation Quotient (IQ) Grower process that appears in the form of end-of-chapter exercises. These easy-to-perform exercises can be completed in as little as 15 minutes per week to help your company boost its own Business IQ. This work is an important read for entrepreneurs in search of achieving the sustainable edge in their careers and their lives.

The Pop Up Paradigm: How Brands Build Human Connections in a Digital Age – Whether you’re a business with an online presence considering a move into physical retail, or an established retail brand looking to create some buzz, The Pop-Up Paradigm will teach you: The 7 most important ways that your brand can benefit from a pop-up; Why educating and empowering your customer is often the best type of marketing; Where retail is going, and how to make sure you’re ahead of the curve; The most important things to consider when launching a pop-up.

EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches – From New York Times bestselling author and nationally syndicated talk radio host Dave Ramsey comes the secret to how he grew a multimillion dollar company from a card table in his living room. Your company is only as strong as your leaders. These are the men and women doing battle daily beneath the banner that is your brand. Are they courageous or indecisive? Are they serving a motivated team or managing employees? Are they valued? Your team will never grow beyond you, so here’s another question to consider. Are you growing? Whether you’re sitting at the CEO’s desk, the middle manager’s cubicle, or a card table in your living-room-based startup, EntreLeadership provides the practical, step-by-step guidance to grow your business where you want it to go. Dave opens up his championship playbook for business to show you how to: Inspire your team to take ownership and love what they do; Unify your team and get rid of all gossip; Handle money to set your business up for success; Reach every goal you set and And much, much more!

501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers: Easy-to-Implement Ideas to Inspire Loyalty, Get New Customers, and Make a Lasting Impression – It’s no secret that companies that deliver one-of-a-kind experiences for their customers create raving fans that return, refer, and clamor for more. As a leader in your organization, you are charged with coming up with unique and exciting ideas for rolling out the red carpet for your customers. But given your other responsibilities, where can you find the time to do so? 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers is power-packed with proven, ready-to-implement action ideas to enhance your customers’ experience. You’ll find examples from a variety of fields, from healthcare, banking, and entertainment to small business, retail, and entrepreneurial ventures.

You’re Tearing Us Apart: Twenty Ways We Wreck Our Relationships and Strategies to Repair Them – No one argues with the fact that relationships in the 21st century are complicated. One recent study found that couples spend only 35 minutes per week in intimate conversation; the rest of the time they rely on electronic contact and notes. To keep a relationship from hitting “esc” or worse, “delete,” this fast-paced life calls for fast-paced strategies, and this book is full of them! Many broken relationships not only can be mended, but they can actually be magnificent. You’re Tearing Us Apart follows a simple, get-to-the- point formula for each chapter. First, a narrative describes what it’s like living with someone who is practicing relationship-threatening behaviors. Next, the psychology behind the behavior is explained, followed by a succinct account of why this particular behavior threatens relationships. Finally, the best strategies for transformation are spelled out, covering such a wide range of options most any couple can easily comply. These four sections validate the experience of both partners, offer concrete reasons why change is necessary and then present a selection of strategies to move forward.

All Jokes Aside: Standup Comedy Is a Phunny Business – This is story of Lambert’s journey, a behind-the-scenes look at the world of show business, and an inspiring tale for any would-be entrepreneur. Chock-full of cautionary tales both humorous and dramatic, revealing details on the early careers of top performers, and tangible guidance on how to build a business from the ground up, this book is a much-needed recent history of black entertainment and a powerful memoir of entrepreneurial ups and downs.

The Success Process Handbook: A Thinking Persons Guide To Interpersonal Relationships – Using tested motivational and persuasive methods, this detailed program will show how you can influence the key people who are important to your success in your social life, career and personal relationships.

Being Relational: The Seven Ways to Quality Interaction and Lasting Change – Being Relational details seven ways of being in relation to others that capture the heart and soul of all that is self-help. It is grounded in method, and is supported by relational conflict theory and brain science findings. The seven ways of being that promote quality face to face interactions and positive transformation are rooted in teachings from many sources – conflict resolution, negotiation ethics, neuroscience, multiple faith traditions and numerous popular self-help and business books. It is a unique collection of teachings that focus on what happens in human interaction. This unique approach is inspired by thousands of broken relationships that the Senfts have mediated and coached back to strength and connectedness over the last two decades..

Elegant Entrepreneur – Across a decade of her career as an entrepreneur, Danielle Tate learned how to transform good ideas into successful businesses. At age 25 she bootstrapped MissNowMrs and grew it into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. As a young female founder, she noticed that few business guides offered step-by-step advice to smart but inexperienced women. Elegant Entrepreneur draws on Tate’s experience and on conversations with prominent entrepreneurs and top executives. She not only shows — in straightforward and easily accessible terms — how one can transform a rough concept into a lucrative business; she also gives readers a privileged peek into the entrepreneur lifestyle that allows business owners to take charge of their lives. Relevant both to women with no business background and to those in the process of developing a business, Elegant Entrepreneur offers key information and concepts from idea to exit. It discusses the early stages of evaluating an idea, understanding market demands, pitching ideas, building a team of partners and employees, launching, fundraising, marketing and growing a company, handling competition, and knowing when to sell. Tate navigates complex business terrain with clarity, insight, and yes, elegance. Readers are given the chance to see if entrepreneurship is right for them, and stand to gain the freedom, flexibility, and job satisfaction that comes with founding and running one’s own business.

Rise of the Entrepreneur – It’s simple. This book holds great, entertaining information and sets you on the right path to launching your brand. In one hour, you will hold the keys to success in your business. 

All Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future – The modern day Edisons have done their job.  We need not wait any longer.  We are poised to wake up to a world running completely on renewable energy.  Waiting any longer is like saying we shouldn’t have used the personal computer in 1985 until the smartphone was invented.  In “All-Electric America” authors S. David Freeman, former utility CEO, and Leah Y Parks, a journalist in the electricity industry, explain how making the transition to an all-electric, all renewable society by the year 2050 is necessary, practical, and achievable. An energy infrastructure powered by the sun and wind & running on electricity, for all our energy needs, will be reliable, cleaner, safer, and CHEAPER. It will be superior to the system we have today and will lead to a better future.

About 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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