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?
Thomas A. Edison – the inventor of the modern world! Really? Randall Stross investigates Edison’s story and tries to find the real Edison. He doesn’t talk so much about the technical achievements, he rather focuses on Edison’s self-marketing. Showing how Edison exaggerated, told lies and played with the media.
Famous doesn’t mean profitable: Edison got famous while working on the first version of the phonograph. But it took him four years for the first commercial version and another 20 years for the improved one.
It’s not about you: Edison’s life and business was about Edison. He wanted that the phonograph was used as a dictating machine. But the customers wanted to use his machine for music because its dictating abilities were pretty poor. It didn’t interest Edison, he was too pigheaded to commit himself to his customers.
Don’t try to control everything: Moreover it did not stop there. Henry Ford called Thomas Edison “the world’s worst business man” but it didn’t bother Edison. Also, there were so many opportunities which were missed. Furthermore, he had big problems operating his companies efficiently. While building his first power grid he needed about $30,000 per square mile to install the power lines, while his competitions only needed about $500.
Look into new fields: Edison worked in lots of businesses. From providing electricity to mining. He immersed in different fields which helped to stabilize his aura as the inventor of the modern world.
The stories are highly interesting because you see how he failed (See: Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur) and you’ll learn about his most remarkable move: He built a strong relationship with important journalists how praised him continuously. He knew how to market himself.
In conclusion, Edison didn’t invent the light, but he did invent personal branding for business people.