Category Small Business

The Innovator’s Method

The Innovator’s Method
by Nathan Furr, Jeff Dyer and Clayton M. Christensen
Harvard Business Review
Retail Price $30.00
Amazon Price: $18.98

Book Description: 

Have you ever come up with an idea for a new product or service but didn’t take any action because you thought it would be too risky? Or at work, have you had what you thought could be a big idea for your company—perhaps changing the way you develop or distribute a product, provide customer service, or hire and train your employees? If you have, but you haven’t known how to take the next step, you need to understand what the authors call the innovator’s method—a set of tools emerging from lean start-up, design thinking, and agile software development that are revolutionizing how new ideas are created, refined, and brought to market.

To date these tools have helped entrepreneurs, designers, and software developers manage uncertainty—through cheap and rapid experiments that systematically lower failure rates and risk. But many managers and leaders struggle to apply these powerful tools within their organizations, as they often run counter to traditional managerial thinking and practice.

Authors Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer wrote this book to address that very problem. Following the breakout success of The Innovator’s DNA—which Dyer wrote with Hal Gregersen and bestselling author Clay Christensen to provide a framework for generating ideas—this book shows how to make those ideas actually happen, to commercialize them for success.

Based on their research inside corporations and successful start-ups, Furr and Dyer developed the innovator’s method, an end-to-end process for creating, refining, and bringing ideas to market. They show when and how to apply the tools of their method, how to adapt them to your business, and how to answer commonly asked questions about the method itself, including: How do we know if this idea is worth pursuing? Have we found the right solution? What is the best business model for this new offering? This book focuses on the “how”—how to test, how to validate, and how to commercialize ideas with the lean, design, and agile techniques successful start-ups use.

Whether you’re launching a start-up, leading an established one, or simply working to get a new product off the ground in an existing company, this book is for you.

Review

I have a number of other business books, but for life lessons on on launching your business, product, or idea, this one comes up the winner, hands down.  You will find many helpful tips and strategies for implementing innovation in your ventures so you can take your business to the next level. The authors  take you from understanding how innovation is important to you as a business owner to seeing how it will help you scale past your competition by broadening your reach and generating significant profits in the process. The book is well-researched, yet shares many success stories that make it very reader-friendly. If you want to move your business forward, read this book!

~Reviewed by Rich W.

 

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    The Alliance

    The Alliance
    By Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh
    Harvard
    Retail Price $25.00
    Amazon Price: $15.81

    Book Description: 

    Introducing the new, realistic loyalty pact between employer and employee.

    The employer-employee relationship is broken, and managers face a seemingly impossible dilemma: the old model of guaranteed long-term employment no longer works in a business environment defined by continuous change, but neither does a system in which every employee acts like a free agent.

    The solution? Stop thinking of employees as either family or as free agents. Think of them instead as allies.

    As a manager you want your employees to help transform the company for the future. And your employees want the company to help transform their careers for the long term. But this win-win scenario will happen only if both sides trust each other enough to commit to mutual investment and mutual benefit. Sadly, trust in the business world is hovering at an all-time low.

    We can rebuild that lost trust with straight talk that recognizes the realities of the modern economy. So, paradoxically, the alliance begins with managers acknowledging that great employees might leave the company, and with employees being honest about their own career aspirations.

    By putting this new alliance at the heart of your talent management strategy, you’ll not only bring back trust, you’ll be able to recruit and retain the entrepreneurial individuals you need to adapt to a fast-changing world.

    These individuals, flexible, creative, and with a bias toward action, thrive when they’re on a specific “tour of duty”—when they have a mission that’s mutually beneficial to employee and company that can be completed in a realistic period of time.

    Coauthored by the founder of LinkedIn, this bold but practical guide for managers and executives will give you the tools you need to recruit, manage, and retain the kind of employees who will make your company thrive in today’s world of constant innovation and fast-paced change.

    Review

     

    If you are a manager, then this book is an essential read for you.  The author will detail how to build teams by making your employees your allies and giving them a stake in reaching goals. He will show you how to get your staff to buy into the dream and help you to accomplish projects in a timely fashion.  This book makes you realize that in today’s culture, workers will come and go and the key to making it all work is to get the employee invested in the current project and not asking for commitments past that.  It is really thinking small while having it all fit into a long-term goal.  It was a very interesting book that I found enlightening and helpful.

    ~Reviewed by Sean T.

     

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      Creating Business Plans

      Creating Business Plans
      By Harvard Business Review
      Harvard Business Review-nnocciolino@hbr.org
      Retail Price $12.95
      Amazon Price: $9.85

      Book Description: 

      A well-crafted business plan generates enthusiasm for your idea and boosts your odds of success—whether you’re proposing a new initiative within your organization or starting an entirely new company. Creating Business Plans quickly walks you through the basics. You’ll learn to:

      • Present your idea clearly
      • Develop sound financial plans
      • Project risks—and rewards
      • Anticipate and address your audience’s concerns

      About HBR’s 20-Minute Manager Series:
      Don’t have much time? Get up to speed fast on the most essential business skills with HBR’s 20-Minute Manager series. Whether you need a crash course or a brief refresher, each book in the series is a concise, practical primer that will help you brush up on a key management topic.

      Advice you can quickly read and apply, for ambitious professionals and aspiring executives—from the most trusted source in business. Also available as an ebook.

       

      Review

      In order to step ahead of your competitors it’s always wise to create a business plan. It allows you to focus on all the requirements for stability and growth of your business. Develop an appreciation for business resolution and how effective it can be. Every year they are made by business owners to improve operation and increase profits. This book helps you develop the mentality of being organized, giving you tips on how to become organized, which can help you greatly as you create your own business plan that works for you when it comes to achieving your goals.  This book is really a step-by-step guide that is a must have for your library.

      ~Reviewed by John C.

       

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        Virtual Freedom

        Virtual Freedom
        By Chris C. Ducker
        BenBella – Jennifer@benbellabooks.com
        Retail Price $16.95
        Amazon Price: $10.72

        Book Description: 

        Entrepreneurs often suffer from ”superhero syndrome”—the misconception that to be successful, they must do everything themselves. Not only are they the boss, but also the salesperson, HR manager, copywriter, operations manager, online marketing guru, and so much more. It’s no wonder why so many people give up the dream of starting a business—it’s just too much for one person to handle.

        But outsourcing expert and ”Virtual CEO,” Chris Ducker knows how you can get the help you need with resources you can afford. Small business owners, consultants, and online entrepreneurs don’t have to go it alone when they discover the power of building teams of virtual employees to help run, support, and grow their businesses.

        Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business is the step-by-step guide every entrepreneur needs to build his or her business with the asset of working with virtual employees. Focusing on business growth, Ducker explains every detail you need to grasp, from figuring out which jobs you should outsource to finding, hiring, training, motivating, and managing virtual assistants.

        With additional tactics and online resources, Virtual Freedom is the ultimate resource of the knowledge and tools necessary for building your dream business with the help of virtual staff.

        Review

        If you’re like the average business person, your workload is overwhelming you. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, but you keep losing time to email, billing, scheduling, transcription, and more administrative details than you can manage. If you want to be less stressed and more productive, this book will convince you that a virtual assistant or virtual staff can give you the relief you’re looking for and give you the freedom to focus on only what you can do.  This guidebook for building that team, outsourcing, and taking back control of your life.

        ~Reviewed by Dave H.

         

         

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          21 Days to Success Through Networking

          21 Days to Success Through Networking: The Life and Times of Gnik Rowten 21 Days to Success Through Networking
          By Ron Sukenick and Ken Williams
          Imformation Today, Inc, – Rob Colding
          Retail Price $15.95
          Amazon Price: $12.70

          Book Description: 

          Real-world situations, events, and challenges fuel the instructive insights in this relatable guide to networking. The book helps readers meet and prepare for reality by presenting scenarios through the perspective of character Gnik Rowten—“networking” spelled backward—who has made a fresh start in a new city where he has few, if any, friends, prospects, or business contacts. Lessons emerge by following Gnik’s life over a three-week period as he discovers and learns tools, techniques, and strategies for effective business networking. Through Gnik’s adventures and sharing his “aha!” moments, readers learn to extend, deepen, and effectively utilize their own personal and business networks.

          Review

          Networking can be intimidating. This book is filled with easy, actionable suggestions on how to create and expand your professional network. The author fabulously outlines a strategy for becoming a master networker. Whether you’ve been networking for years or have yet to start, this book will help you navigate the sometimes awkward waters of making worthwhile connections. Even though I am somewhat experienced in networking myself, I learned many new strategies and tips that I can’t wait to start applying. Grab this book and get started!

          ~Reviewed by Dave H.

          ~Reviewed by Adam C.

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            Sell or Be Sold

            Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life

             

            Sell or Be Sold
            By Grant Cardone
            Greenleaf Book Group
            Retail Price $24.99
            Amazon Price: $16.46

            Book Description: 

            Whether it’s selling your company’s product in the boardroom or selling yourself on eating healthy, everything in life can—and should—be treated as a sale. And as sales expert Grant Cardone explains, knowing the principles of selling is a prerequisite for success of any kind.In Sell or Be Sold, Cardone breaks down the techniques and approaches necessary to master the art of selling in any avenue. You will learn how to handle rejection, turn around negative situations, shorten sales cycles, and guarantee yourself greatness. Cardone will also teach you the success essentials of

            •    Selling in a bad economy
            •    Overcoming call reluctance
            •    Filling your pipeline with new business
            •    Staying positive, despite rejection

            With the experience of a seasoned sales vet at the helm, Sell or Be Sold will change the way you perceive the sale—and life.

             

            Review

            This is a nice reminder about taking action and continuing to be active.  The author reminds us that regardless of what your plan of action or your goal is, step one is always to get committed/sold. If you can’t be sold on your idea, you should cut your losses and move onto something else.  Cardone believes that we are all “in sales” in one way or another, whether it is product or an idea.  He is obviously an aggressive salesman and a person that makes things happen. He sure lit a fire under me!

            ~Reviewed by Grey C.

             

             

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              I Hear You

                I Hear You: Repair Communication Breakdowns, Negotiate Successfully, and Build Consensus . . . in Three Simple StepsI Hear You
              By Donny Ebenstein
              AMACOM
              Retail Price $24.95
              Amazon Price: $17.22

              Book Description: 

              Birth, death, and conflict-three things you truly can’t avoid. Whether it’s big or small, conflict eats into productivity and makes people feel stuck. Yet solutions exist for even the toughest situations with the most intractable people. The answer lies in better communication-not just using different words, but rather learning to think differently. “I Hear You” supplies proven techniques for stepping outside one’s point of view and seeing things from other perspectives. Sample dialogues show how this shift in thinking leads to better conversations and greatly improved outcomes. Readers learn how to: tell the other person’s story-the cornerstone of real engagement; look from the outside in and see themselves as others do; recognize the role systemic factors play – and transform a conflict into a shared challenge; and overcome the defense mechanisms that derail dialogue. For anyone trying to negotiate a difficult situation with a boss, colleague, employee, or client, “I Hear You” changes opposition into understanding and mere talk into real trust.

               

              Review

              This book is a must have for anyone who deals with conflict at work or in their personal life. Communications breakdowns are the cause of so many corporate and entrepreneurial headaches.  As a Human Resources Director this book has unlocked the keys to success with employees who have been in conflict and underperforming for years. When you know how to tie the values an employee is seeking to fulfill to the production needed in the organization you will truly have the magic formula. This has revolutionized how we listen in a conflict and are able to deal with the root causes, not simply offer a list of do’s and don’ts. This enables lasting change and individual growth that pays dividends that spread outside the circle of the employee .  It is certainly almost required reading for all Managers!   Buy it….you won’t be sorry!

              ~Reviewed by David H.

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                Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs

                Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs: It's Not About Likes-It's About Sales

                Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs
                By John Lawson
                BenBella
                Retail Price $16.95
                Amazon Price: $12.96

                Book Description: 

                You’re not special. Almost all businesses are online marketing these days—everyone tweets, posts to social networks, and blogs. What you’re doing now is not enough to make your business stand out.

                Forget what all the self-proclaimed “social media gurus” are telling you. Being active on social media and being successful in social commerce are not the same things. Simply getting a bunch of followers or Likes doesn’t cut it anymore.

                In Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-Preneurs, award-winning digital media strategist John Lawson gives you a straight-shooting, no-holds-barred guide to social commerce. In other words, he shows you how to make money online using social media.

                One of the most-respected and listened-to voices in the worlds of e-commerce and small business, Lawson stands alone because he can actually back up his words. Lawson is a multi-platform PowerSeller, whose internet businesses have rung up millions of dollars in sales.

                In his book, Lawson and e-commerce author Debra Schepp take you step-by-step through:

                ~Creating a business plan using a simple, effective template, a proven blueprint for all stages of marketing—from start-up to empire

                ~Crafting messages for individual consumers and sharing them in real time to engage and convert

                ~Employing the best social commerce strategy for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the hottest new social media sites

                ~Expertly leveraging features such as Likes, Retweets, Follows, Shares, and Reposts

                ~Building a thriving e-commerce business and keeping it vibrant and growing

                What are you waiting for? Read this book and start kicking social commerce ass.

                Review

                As all of online businesses, I am looking for a formula to make social media pay.  I want all my efforts to transfer to sales. This book provides a practical road map for not only mastering but also monetizing your social media investment.  You will learn the secrets of unlocking sales with social media and  seize new sales opportunities from emerging social technology. This book distills the real-world experience of successful social commerce businesses into secrets for turning “Likes” into “Buys”.  This is a really high quality book packed with fantastic information.  I learned so much!

                ~Reviewed by Darla A.

                Giveaway

                If you would like a chance to win a free copy of this book email us by the end of the month.  Be sure to include the name of the book in the body of the email along with your name and address.

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                  Virtual Freedom

                  Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream BusinessVirtual Freedom
                  By Chris Ducker
                  BenBella
                  Retail Price $16.95
                  Amazon Price: $10.72

                  Book Description: 

                  Entrepreneurs often suffer from ”superhero syndrome”—the misconception that to be successful, they must do everything themselves. Not only are they the boss, but also the salesperson, HR manager, copywriter, operations manager, online marketing guru, and so much more. It’s no wonder why so many people give up the dream of starting a business—it’s just too much for one person to handle.

                  But outsourcing expert and ”Virtual CEO,” Chris Ducker knows how you can get the help you need with resources you can afford. Small business owners, consultants, and online entrepreneurs don’t have to go it alone when they discover the power of building teams of virtual employees to help run, support, and grow their businesses.

                  Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business is the step-by-step guide every entrepreneur needs to build his or her business with the asset of working with virtual employees. Focusing on business growth, Ducker explains every detail you need to grasp, from figuring out which jobs you should outsource to finding, hiring, training, motivating, and managing virtual assistants.

                  With additional tactics and online resources, Virtual Freedom is the ultimate resource of the knowledge and tools necessary for building your dream business with the help of virtual staff.

                  Review

                  If you’re like the average business person, your workload is overwhelming you. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, but you keep losing time to email, billing, scheduling, transcription, and more administrative details than you can manage. If you want to be less stressed and more productive, this book will convince you that a virtual assistant or virtual staff can give you the relief you’re looking for and give you the freedom to focus on only what you can do.  This guidebook for building that team, outsourcing, and taking back control of your life.

                  ~Reviewed by Dave H.

                  Giveaway

                  If you would like a chance to win a free copy of this book email us by the end of the month.  Be sure to include the name of the book in the body of the email along with your name and address

                  Please Share!

                    Your Limited Liability Company

                    Your Limited Liability Company

                    Your Limited Liability Company
                    By Anthony Mancuso
                    Nolo
                    Retail Price $49.99
                    Amazon Price: $46.86

                    Book Description

                    Your Limited Liability Company gives you everything you need to maintain the legal validity of your LLC before the courts and the IRS. It helps you approve and document important legal, tax and business decisions to create a paper trail that avoids legal trouble.

                    The book shows you how to:

                    .prepare minutes of meetings
                    .record important legal, tax and business decisions
                    .handle formal recordkeeping
                    .fill out an LLC Records Book

                    Your Limited Liability Company provides all the documentation you’ll need, including:

                    .minutes
                    .written consents
                    .checklists
                    .over 50 ready-to-use resolutions

                    Forms are available to download at nolo.com

                     

                    Review

                    I recently formed an LLC and wished I had read this book first, it would have saved me a lot of wasted time and money. It really is light years ahead of the other similar books I purchased both in information provided, and in the easy to read way it’s presented. What I especially like about it is everything is put into the proper context and all the dots are connected in a way that really helps the reader make sense of how a LLC should fit into their total business plan.  I can’t recommend this book enough.  It is a fantastic resource.

                    ~Reviewed by Rich W.

                     

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