If I were to suggest one thing to local business owners, it would be to read.
Nearly everything you want to achieve has been done before, so it’s a smart idea to leverage off the wisdom of others. Read like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve personally read 500+ books on the subjects of business, marketing, sales, entrepreneurship, biographies and philosophy. These are the top 5 that helped me and will help your local business the most.
1. From Good To Great by Jim Collins
The primary ideas from this book are you can’t achieve great things without great people and people are more important than the product. There is an example in the book where the entrepreneurs whom created Hewlett Packard (David Packard and William Redington Hewlett) came together, before they even knew what product they were going to sell — they figured that out after.
When you are starting out, as an entrepreneur you have to hustle and do most things yourself, and it’s not easy to find a good team. But over time you will find quality people who will join you on your mission, but this takes time. Below is a tip that I wish I knew in the beginning.
Implement a 2 week trial for any new person you hire. At this stage you will get a feel for the persons level or proactivity, accuracy and efficiency. Ensure you give them specific tasks, and follow up to see how well they completed these tasks. Even though this will take time out of your day, it’s super important as over the long term, people are the #1 asset in your company and will help you avoid expensive hiring mistakes.
2. Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham
Jay Abraham is quite simply a marketing genius. This book is all about leverage. It takes you through examples of how businesses have leveraged all of their underutilized assets. Assets you never even thought existed in your company. This book is a classic example of “you don’t know what you don’t know” and definitely worth reading, from probably the greatest marketer on the planet right now.
3. The E-myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber.
This is about systemisation of your business. One of the most important aspects I ever learned about building a company was how to systemise aspects of your company. If you’ve ever watched the movie “The Founder” which is about the building of Mcdonalds. There’s a seen in the movie where the Mcdonald brothers were practicing the system of their business on a basketball court (or tennis court), to deliver quality burgers in the fastest fashion…it was like watching a symphony orchestra at work. Systems are very important in every aspect of your business including the following….
Sales Systems, Marketing Systems, Finance Systems, Recruitment Systems, Legal Systems, Product Fulfilment Systems, Project Management Systems etc etc.
Remember you will not learn entrepreneurship over night. It’s a skill to be mastered. But once you start playing with real skill, your world will never be the same.
4. Built To Sell by John Warrillow
This was one of the books that helped me the most in my entrepreneurial journey.
In the beginning at the start of my online marketing agency, I was doing consulting. What I found with consulting, was their was no limits to what the client demanded from me. When they asked me to design a graphic for their new flyer. I would say “yes”. When they asked me to build a website, I would say “yes”. When they asked me to design a new logo, and I would say “yes”. When they asked me to run Linkedin campaigns and I said “yes”. This was EXCELLENT for broadening my knowledge base BUT TERRIBLE for building a company I could sell. I was not an entrepreneur, I was a puppet to whatever my customer desired. I WASTED YEARS on doing too many different kinds of things my customers asked for, so please don’t make the same mistake I did.
After reading the book, it taught me one very insightful element:
Focus only on what you are good at. If you’re customer asks for something outside of that sphere. SAY NO. It makes it easier to create systems, it makes it easier to grow, and finally if you ever want to sell the business, it also makes this easier. You’re business is SYSTEMISED. “You are not the business then”, and you actually built something you can sell.
5. Any Book You Can Find On The Consultative Sales Approach.
Sales is the #1 element that will grow your company the fastest.
The first book I ever read on entrepreneurship was “Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and gave the advice, that as a business owner — you must be the BEST at sales and marketing in your company.”
As soon as I read this book, I dropped out of Accounting & Economics at University and got a job…..in full commission door to door sales.
Since then I sold full commission telephone sales, corporate telephone sales, used car sales for Toyota, sold Yellow Pages advertising and online marketing for the better part of 10 Years. It’s fair to say I’ve done my apprenticeship in sales.
The most important element I learnt in sales over those years was the following — Use a consultative sales approach. Building a consultative sales approach is beyond the scope of this blog article, but once you implement one of these into your company. I guarantee your business sales will grow.