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Business Book Club: Four Reasons Why People Hang On To Old-School Marketing

It is no secret that things are a-changin’. The very way we relate, interact and engage in our communities has drastically shifted over the last 20 years as the internet has evolved to provide new opportunities for organizing and communicating. But what does this mean for business?

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Business Book Club: Understanding Finance is Imperative to Business Success

Working with numbers does not always come easily to entrepreneurs – that’s why it poses such a problem for small businesses trying to succeed. Unfortunately (and I’ve been known to do this myself), accounting and financial management can prove so confusing and complicated that some people prefer to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the issue altogether.

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Business Book Club: When Buffalo Fly, Our Businesses Thrive

In the last 30 years there have been significant advancements around new theories of effective organizational leadership. Despite these developments, the old paradigms of leadership and management still pervade in many small businesses today. As a result, there’s a growing discrepancy between the development of leadership theory and the actual practices in many organizations. That is because effectively shifting to the new paradigm requires that leaders consciously change their habits and practices. Learning the terminology or just reciting definitions and concepts doesn’t mean that you’re walking the talk! The old paradigm of organizational leadership is centered around the leader as the locus of control. You know that model – the leader is “the guy in charge.” It is common practice that all decisions must go through the leader first. The leader hoards information believing that it is what gives them power and a means of maintaining control. They’re often stuck in the role of problem solver. All of this stems from a belief that no one cares as much about their company as they do, that employee’s won’t take any personal responsibility for their work and they need to be controlled. In addition, this leader fears getting hosed by the competition should any “sensitive” information be shared with them. As Belasco and Stayer observed in their book, the relationship between the leader and their team in the old paradigm resembles a heard of buffalos. “Buffalo follow one leader absolutely.” So, when a heard of buffalo loses their leader, they’re helpless and easy to kill off. A few hundred years ago, the settlers nearly wiped out bison by killing the head buffalo. Without their leader the rest of the herd just stood around, waiting, making easy prey. That’s what employees in an organization led with the old paradigm are like. They wait around for direction, incapable of making decisions because they aren’t allowed to. Ultimately, they create a liability for your organization, becoming easy prey rather then contributing wp-content/uploads. The new leadership paradigm is centered around the belief that, given the opportunity, your employees will take personal responsibility. Beyond that, they possess critical knowledge and abilities, known as intellectual capitalism. If led properly, they’re actually an asset that you can be better leverage to help your organization succeed. Therefore, the new paradigm is less about the leader as the center of control and more about her empowering others to lead. Belasco & Stayer call this new paradigm Leading the Journey. These two serial entrepreneurs share the story of their own experiences of overcoming the limiting practices from the old paradigm to embrace Leading the Journey in their book, Flight of the Buffalo: Soaring to Excellence Learning to Let Employees Lead. The first big challenge they faced was letting go of the comfort and perceived safety of their old practices. But with time and diligence, they came to understand that in order for their businesses to change they needed to change first, and so they began engaging in a process of continually learning, growing and improving. Luckily,  they also provide a framework to help you to develop the skills, attitude and practices for Leading the Journey. As a leader masters the practices of Leading the Journey in their business, they see fantastic results in productivity, profit and overall impact. Team members have more ownership of their work. The leader, having adopted a strategic mindset rather then a tactile one, provides overall direction while empowering employees to take responsibility for execution. And the business becomes more nimble, ready and able to improve so that you may dominate our changing marketplace. In the Leading the Journey paradigm the...

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Business Book Club: Why Business Owners Need to Know About the E-Myth

Aspiring entrepreneurs often glamorize what it will be like to own and run a business. While that is part of what makes the whole endeavor so appealing and inspirational, it also hides some big and important truths. These truths of business can make the difference between having a company that runs like a well-oiled machine and the alternative – a business owner run ragged by their company. Which would you choose?

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Business Book Club: Success in Business is All About Asking the Right Questions

Good questions are a powerful tool. And when you’re in a position of leadership, it is especially important to ask the right questions! Organizational leaders have a huge responsibility to provide a shared vision for success that they influence their team towards attaining. Peter Drucker’s Book, The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About your Organization guides leaders through the process of asking the right questions to succeed.

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Business Book Club: Success and the Learned Professional

It is not really a new idea that the professional who continually seeks to expand their knowledge and skills is more likely to succeed than their less motivated counterpart. Yet, I’ve often wondered, what does it mean to be a dedicated life-long learner? More specifically, how does an aspiring professional continue to grow and learn so that she may succeed? Frank Bettger’s book, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling is a classic read that, in addition to portraying his “from rags to riches” story as a salesman, also conveys the benefits of being dedicated to disciplined self-education. To learn literally means to change one’s behavior! This might be contrary to what our educational system would have you believe – that to learn means to regurgitate information for a test. Allow me to illustrate how knowledge itself does not mean one has learned. I know, that if I want to stay physically fit, I should exercise daily. Ideally to maintain a healthy heart, I should spend no-less than 30 minutes on cardiovascular exercise a day. I know this, yet I do not do this! Let me say this again, to learn means to change one’s behavior. When was the last time that you did something differently because of what you learned? Take a moment to think about that, I’ll be here for a while! Your life experiences are the best learning opportunities. I would wager a bet that the most commonly used phrase in Bettger’s book was, “What I learned from that experience was….” And what he learned was more than just an interesting fact or notion, he learned a new way of operating, a better way of conducting business, an improved way of presenting himself. Bettger literally learned how to raise himself from failure to success. His book is peppered with stories, of his own experiences and of others. These stories are vivid illustrations that demonstrate the power of learning; the power of not only changing but improving your behavior for a better performance. And interspersed with these stories of his experiences are the titles of books that he read and the names of lectures that he attended. He applied the knowledge that was passed down to him in those venues to his own life experiences, the result of which was his vast success. Sometimes we stumble upon success. We happen to do things in just the right manner, at just the right time and as a result we win – we win the opportunity, the contract, or the job! But taking a blind approach like that does not ensure your lasting success (especially in, need I say it….this economy). It is not too late to take a more proactive stance with your own professional development. If you are at the top of your game today, you will want to continue learning so that you may remain there. And if you are striving to achieve the vision of success you have yourself, you will want to learn so that you can get there. I recommend reading Bettger’s book so that you may learn how to learn! Oh, and there happens to be some really inspiring recommendations for succeeding in selling too. We will be discussing How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling at the May 10th EntrepreNerds meeting.  For more information or to sign up, visit us online www.Meetup.com/EntrepreNerds. About the Author: Ariana Friedlander is the Founder and Principal for Rosabella Consulting, LLC and has over nine years of experience working with small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies to create strategies for successful...

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