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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.The problem with ignoring finances is that you’re missing critical information for making smart choices in business. Understanding the difference between Profit and Cash Flow can make the difference between having a solvent business and not being able to pay your bills. Of course, there are trained professionals, CPA’s, CFO’s, etc. that are experts in Accounting and Financial Management available to assist you. But we’ve all seen the stories in the news about how the numbers can be artfully worked to mislead. That’s why it is so important for entrepreneurs to develop their own “Financial Intelligence.” Having an understanding of the use of financial management empowers owners to take a critical look at financial statements and analyses. Knowing the language of finance helps you to communicate more effectively and ask pointed questions. Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs provides an easy to grasp overview of “what the numbers really mean.” Simply put, it demystifies accounting and financial management so you can have a true understanding of the subject matter as it applies to your own business. As a result, you can be empowered to use financial information for making smart choices for your business and your team. The good news is, you don’t have to be a CPA or CFO to understand the financials and use that knowledge to your advantage! One of the common myths that many people (myself included) hold is that numbers are completely objective. But as the authors explain in this book, there are a number of assumptions that financial managers and accountants make that impact the bottom line (a term I finally understand the meaning of). For me, this book has been quite helpful as I have committed to improving my own financial proficiency for the success of my business. And while I might not ever geek out over the numbers like some people do, I don’t feel as though I am sitting in the corner with the dunce cap on anymore either. For those of you out there that get financials, this book might help you learn how to better explain things to the laymen. Are the numbers stressing you out? We will help you get on track at the Sept. 13th EntrepreNerds Professional Development Workshop where we’ll be discussing Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers. 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 organizational growth. A dedicated life-long learner, she is also the Lead Facilitator for EntrepreNerds. EntrepreNerds is a business book club for professionals and entrepreneurs who are committed to expanding their knowledge and skills through self-paced learning. Every month, EntrepreNerds participants read the assigned business book then come together for a guided discussion, facilitated to encourage experiential learning, so that participants may explore ways to actively incorporate what they read about into their daily routines and business...

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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? I, for one, have seen what a business owner run ragged by their company looks like. Symptoms often include long work days, high employee turnover, feelings of despair or exhaustion, and the losing of oneself. It is not a pretty sight and definitely not something I aspire to. So how does one go about building the well-oiled machine? Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What to Do About It, provides just the right prescription. To start, he describes a framework that explains the dynamics of a business. There are three different personalities needed in a business: the Technician, the Entrepreneur and the Manager. Just because you know how to make pizzas doesn’t mean you know how to run a pizza joint. That is the essence of the E-Myth. Many small business owners that are just getting started are dominated by the Technician personality. They think, “Hey I know how to make pizza, why not just open my own place!” In order to succeed, you need all three personalities present in your company. The Entrepreneur is the dreamer, providing the vision of success and the guiding values. These serve as the foundation from which your business is established, as well as the ideal for which you are always striving. The Manager, on the other hand, brings order. It is the Manager personality that creates the systems and plans to achieve the vision for success. The Manager quantifies, orchestrates, and strategizes. While the Entrepreneur innovates new and exciting ways of doing things. And the Technician is the one that does all the heavy lifting. The Technician loves getting things done and without them, nothing would get done. But when the Technician personality dominates a business owner, you end up doing all the work yourself. That is because you don’t have the leadership of the Entrepreneur nor the orderly systems of the Manager. It is the symbiotic relationship of all three of these personalities that make a business operate like a well-oiled machine. While this analogy of the three personalities may seem overly simplistic at first glance, the ease with which Gerber conveys the complicated dance of business is quite effective. Because the personalities of both the Entrepreneur and Manager are often overshadowed by the Technician, Gerber also provides a framework for which to incorporate those necessary components into your business. It is called your business prototype, and to learn more about that you will have to read his book! We will be discussing E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What to Do About It at the July 9th 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 organizational growth. A dedicated life-long learner, she is also the Lead Facilitator for EntrepreNerds. EntrepreNerds is a business book club for professionals and entrepreneurs who are committed to expanding their knowledge and skills through self-paced learning. Every month, EntrepreNerds participants read the assigned business book then come together for...

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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. As Francis Hesselbein observes in the Forward to the book, “Simple questions can be profound and answering them requires us to make stark and honest – and sometimes painful – self-assessments.” The more direct yet open a question you ask, the more useful the answer will be. As long as it is a sincere answer. Ultimately, Drucker’s recommending “a method for assessing what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what you must do to improve your organization’s performance.” The entire process, from introspection and self-assessment to improvement and actualization, should be continuous and integrated throughout your organization.   Employee Engagement To lead a successful organization it is best to engage your team in this process. After all, Peter Drucker’s philosophy was developed around the belief that an organization’s employees are their most valuable asset. He showed us that effective management of employees directly contributes to the ultimate success of any organization.   Engaging your team in the process builds buy-in and helps to ensure a shared understanding of your direction and priorities.  In addition, your team possesses valuable knowledge that helps to inform your answers and strengthens your organization as a whole. In order to glean the most out of this process, remember that you need to have an honest conversation. That means you must embrace vulnerability with your team, which is a challenge for some bosses. The Questions As any good interviewer knows, one question often begets other questions. That is much the way Drucker’s book is organized.  The “Five Most Important Questions” each represent an ultimate question that is answered by asking several other corollary questions. So before you rush off to contemplate Drucker’s “Five Most Important Questions” remember that the answers may lie deeper than the initial question allows you to dig! What is our Mission? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? What are our results? What is our plan? We will be discussing The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About your Organization at the June 7th  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 organizational growth. A dedicated life-long learner, she is also the Lead Facilitator for EntrepreNerds. EntrepreNerds is a business book club for professionals and entrepreneurs who are committed to expanding their knowledge and skills through self-paced learning. Every month, EntrepreNerds participants read the assigned business book then come together for a guided discussion, facilitated to encourage experiential learning, so that participants may explore ways to actively incorporate what they read about into their daily routines and business...

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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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