From the September 2005 issue of Entrepreneur

Every business owner has to decide whether it makes more sense to devote limited resources to a new marketing campaign, a new product-development effort or another business-building plan.

In Return on Customer (Currency Doubleday, $24.95) marketing visionaries Don Peppers and Martha Rogers (co-authors of the bestselling The One to One Future) help you clarify those decisions by focusing on assessing and tracking customer equity, lifetime customer value and specific actions to maximize those values.

To figure your return on customer, start with your current-period cash flow from customers. Add any changes in the discounted lifetime value of those customers during the period. Divide that by the total discounted customer lifetime value at the beginning of the period. Your result is highly dependent on actions you took to generate cash flow during the period affected, and how those actions affected current customers' willingness to buy and future chances for attracting additional customers. If, for example, you do something to violate customers' trust, you may destroy value while increasing profits. With a new look at an old problem, this is a book readers will quickly relate to and be able to use.

Beg the Question

Can you handle the questions you really hate to hear? Jerry Weissman, who once wrote questions for legendary TV inquisitor Mike Wallace, shows you how in In the Line of Fire (Prentice Hall, $24.95). These are hard-nosed how-tos on, for instance, limiting questioners' opportunities to hit you with the toughies by announcing at the start of a Q&A period that you'll only take a few questions--or even none. Any entrepreneur who appears before boards of directors, investors, customers or other potentially tough audiences can benefit from this book's practical advice.


Mark Henricks is Entrepreneur's "Staff Smarts" columnist.