What is it about?
How to run a small business? Henry Dubroff and Susan J. Marks talked to a lot of entrepreneurs and asked them what makes their businesses successful.
Empower your employees: You can’t win alone. If you start alone try to outsource non-core functions of your company. A financial adviser said that even he outsources accounting because it’s not a core function of financial advisory. Later, you are going to hire personnel for your company. Don’t hire the first person you interviewed, try to find great people and train them properly.
Build a brand: If you are just a commodity, people will switch their supplier fast. Try to differentiate yourself from your competition. Offer better service, use technology or be innovative. If you built a brand people will recognize you and rather stick with your service/product.
Your customers are your assets: Without customers, there’s no business. Try to get longterm customers because they will provide longterm success.
Build for profitability: Often people neglect that it takes time to get profitable. So, business owner give up too early or the can’t reach break-even because they started with too many liabilities. Start small, test your market and expand.
If you want to start a small business this book is a reliable source for important concepts. It’s not especially exciting or new but it’s extremely solid. I think there are enough people who would definitely increase their success rate if they would read this book.
What is it about?
Al Ries and Jack Trout talk about their 22 laws for successful marketing. They explore which failures companies made in the past and how they can be fixed.
Be first: Your brand/product should be recognized as the first and leading product in the market. If you think of Cola, you think of Coca-Cola. If you think of eco-friendly cars, you think of the Toyota Prius.
If you can’t, be different: If you came too late you should find your niche. Pepsi did so in targeting young people. You shouldn’t try to fight the No. 1 with their attributes, instead choose a new attribute which describes your product (e.g. healthiest cola).
Focus on one thing: Use one attribute. Don’t describe your product as easy, best and cheap. People probably won’t believe you.
Don’t extend your line because you can: If you have built a successful brand you shouldn’t just throw new products in new markets. A lot of people tried this and failed. If you introduce new products, focus on the these laws and make them unique.
This book is just incredible. The chapters are short, there are enough examples of how to apply these laws and situations where companies have failed to do so. I read the first edition from 1993 and the two authors made some recommendations for companies like Burger King. Surprisingly, about 10-15 years later a lot of these recommendations where finally executed. Nice!
What is it about?
Bogusky and Winsor shows different examples for merging your product and its marketing. They present how innovation changed companies and how to improve collaboration between companies silos.
Do not disconnect marketing and product development. The product itself should be your marketing instrument, e.g. Apple’s Ipod.
This book offers some great examples of innovating your product and explains how you can overcome these barriers in bigger companies. Although there are some nice inspirations for companies of every size. For example, try the opposite of the status-quo: If they build big, build small (e.g. cars). Or sacrificing instead of adding features.
In conclusion, I really like Baked In because it presents you a lot of actionable possibilities to improve your product.