Why Books are a Great Source of Learning for Entrepreneurs
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We have all heard of the adage that, ‘entrepreneurship is a marathon & not a sprint’. In other words, there has to be continuous learning, practice and testing involved.
Books about biographies, autobiography, management lessons about business are a great source of learning for entrepreneurs. It’s like looking at history in a single glance and learning from the mistakes and also innovative decisions that changed the face of business at times.
So here are nine integral skill sets from some fine books. These are skills that can empower and boost our vision as entrepreneurs:
You might be an entrepreneur who has developed an innovative solution, but unless you can ‘manage’ your business, ideas, team’s productivity, efficiency and resources, there is very little that can be accomplished.
It is core today as a business professional, as an entrepreneur to understand what activity, task, resource etc is really producing results.
The brilliance is to reinvest in those and avoid wasting it on things that are futile in nature.
On similar lines, keep track of your milestones, delivery, deadlines, what you have promised your customers, clients, yourself as unless you measure, track and monitor closely, business success is a far fetched dream.
Paraphrasing book quote: “Revenue Vs Cost: While 90per cent of the results are being produced by the first 10per cent of the events, 90per cent of the costs are being increased by the remaining and result-less 90per cent of the events.
Managing oneself: The feedback analysis: Whenever you make a key decision or take a key action, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the actual results with your expectations: Managing for Business effectiveness: Peter Drucker: Selected Articles from the Father of Modern Management Thinking: Harvard Business Review: The Peter F Drucker reader
2) Decision Making:
Sometimes, it’s difficult as entrepreneurs to accept that few of our products or services are not working the way they should or aren't generating revenue in comparison to their costs. Here, it’s crucial to be able to understand, out of the plethora of services offered, which one is working better, which team is producing results, which tools yield better returns etc.
Paraphrasing book quote: “1906: Economist Vilfredo Pareto discovered the Pareto principle, the 80-20 rule in which a small few radically outstrip all rivals. Eg. in the above case, when Pareto discovered that 20% of the people owned 80% of the land in Italy. So for entrepreneurs running and or owning their companies this principle called the Power Law is core to understand that one market will probably be better than all other, one distribution strategy usually dominates all others: ZERO to ONE: Peter Thiel”
3) Customer Experiences, Innovation-Friendly:
Customers today know more about the brand than the brand themselves. They are no longer looking at deals, offers, discounts, innovative products as the only factor as part of the buying decision making process. In fact, customers today are actively looking out for ways to engage and interact with brands one on one through social media, digital tools and new age media tools.
They want to be a part of the brand’s experience today, they want to be one with the brand they are buying from, they want to have a sense of pride in associating with a brand with a sense of purpose. Today, brands have absolutely no control over who their brand ambassadors are! The impact and power that user-generated content in the form of feedback, testimonials etc has on brands, has the ability to surpass any amount of investment in PR or advertising campaign.
Paraphrasing book quote: “Consumers now have access to the information they need to make informed choices, assess value on their own terms, influence the expectations of other consumers, and decide for themselves how they want to transact with the company. Communication flow once flowed almost entirely from companies to consumers. Now consumer feedback is beginning to overwhelm the voice of the company: The Market as a forum: The Future of competition - Co-creating unique value with customers: C.K.Prahalad & Venkat Ramaswamy”
4) Innovation, Disruption for the Greater Good:
Brands that succeed are really the ones which have devised solutions to real problems in an innovative way. It’s not just about a cheaper product or service anymore, but a disruptive & innovative solution to real-world problems. Even such amazing products face criticism. At the face of adversity, entrepreneurs should be able to focus on innovation, disruption, on the final vision with a positive attitude in making a difference in general for the society as a whole. They should believe in themselves in the face of rejections & keep their focus on. ‘Yes, we can’.
Paraphrasing book quote: “Sí, se puede: No system we can devise will work if our paradigms are wrong. The real question is whether or not we have the paradigm of synergy, the spirit that asks of us, “Are we willing to try for something better than anyone ever thought possible? Se puede!” Stephen Covey: The 3rd Alternative.
5) Time & Resource Management:
An entrepreneur's greatest asset is time, coupled with the available resources. Saying no to bureaucratic approach & ensuring every decision-making process is simply focused on two things, productivity & efficiency. For eg. did you know that an average manager spends around 15-20 hours or more per week in meetings!
Paraphrasing book quote: Renovating the process for product delivery: During the release of Windows NT: Manager Marketing: “In any meeting, if you find more than three or four decision-makers in the room you can be sure that the sheer number of people involved in a major part of the problem”. Business @ The Speed of Thought: BILL GATES
6) Take Action and Calculated Risks:
At every single point in time, an entrepreneur should keep questioning themselves. No point in their lives, should they be ignorant or complacent. Ask the right questions and take the right action.
Paraphrasing book quote: The danger of doing nothing: Strategic moments require a kind of courage, or at least a lack of sentimentality, which is rare. It is in these moments that the best leaders find a mirror and ask the defining question that the late great Peter Drucker posed nearly fifty years ago: “ If you weren't already in your business, would you enter it today?”. If the answer was no, Drucker said, you needed to face into a second tough question, “What are you going to do about it?”
7) Ethics and Values:
Be strong on ethics and discipline: Businesses are built dime a dozen but organizations are seldom created. To build a brand, every entrepreneur needs to ensure that ethics and values form an integral part of their work discipline and process. That employees who succeed by means considered other than ethical, how much ever efficient it might be, should not be encouraged. Or that habit, percolates into the organization, causing corruption, forming an inner circle of team members based on bias, prejudice etc.
Paraphrasing book quote: The Ultimate values test: Your goal is to make sure your employees deliver great results, to make sure they do that and demonstrate good behaviour. No one should get ahead on the back of other people. WINNING: The Answers: Jack & Suzy Welch
8) Know Your Strengths:
Which means to also know your weak areas. If your skill in PR isn't that good, you need to hire someone to take care of that part for you. If you are non-technical or do not possess required know-how and understanding of management, then hire someone who is better than you at it. And when you do, set them free to do what they were hired to do!
Paraphrasing book quote: Maturity means knowing what your strengths are so that you don’t need to fight against them anymore. iCon: Steve Jobs: Jeffrey S Young & William L Simon
The life of an entrepreneur is like no other. It’s filled with more ups and downs, chaotic decision-making processes followed by sudden changes in the business, industry and end users across. All of this requires that we are practising mindfulness. This will not only allow us to function in a healthy way peacefully but also empower our intuitions and bring peace for those around to do their tasks well too!
Paraphrasing book quote: Daily practice the habit of putting your mind at rest, going into silence. As you succeed in gaining mastery over your impulses and thoughts, there will be awakened with your intuition. As a man Thinketh: JAMES ALLEN
You will find the interpretations resourceful and insightful for your daily tasks and are able to integrate them for greater success into your business and decision-making processes. Have a great week ahead.“Brands today have a role much more responsible than ever before, i.e. to connect with the customer within”