Small Business - A Special Advertising Supplement sponsored by Scotiabank - Monday, October 22, 2001
Read for all you're worth
Monday, October 22, 2001
You just may see yourself in Sam Geist's latest book -- literally.
The cover of Would You Work For You? is a mirror, a shiny, silver square under the title that allows you to stare at yourself. And beneath the title are three little "check" boxes marked Yes, No and I'm not sure at this time. Look long and hard at yourself, read the book and tick the box that applies.
Running any business venture -- small, medium or large -- also means having the ability to run people, according to Geist, a Canadian-based business consultant who gives business seminars all around the world.
One of the toughest roles for leaders, he says, is to look at themselves through the eyes of their employees. And although it may be hard for the head of a conglomerate to look through the eyes of a mail clerk, owners of smaller businesses need to keep a closer link with their staff, Geist says.
The book (published by Addington and Wentworth, $29.95) isn't intended as a treatise on leadership for huge corporations but more as a hands-on guide for all levels.
Geist often asks the same question as his book title when he goes into the corporate world to speak. "When I ask, the reaction is always the same. Audiences look puzzled for the moment, slowly begin to smile and then their expression changes to rue. They become uncomfortable when they realize the answer is not quite as pleasant as they had hoped."
The first chapter defines the essence of leadership; the second deals with you as an individual supervisor -- outlining techniques to develop and motivate not only your employees but yourself.
The third chapter discusses how to really get to know your employees and not think of them only according to the function they perform.
Next, Geist outlines six required capabilities of a good leader. The final chapters emphasize open communication with your employees and conclude with strategies to move forward.
There are lots of written exercises in this book, so be ready with paper and a pen.
Another book, The Complete Canadian Small Business Guide by Douglas and Diana Gray (in a revised third edition, published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson, $42.99), could be called the bible of small business.
It is a comprehensive, easy-to-read guide and has been the "answer book" to thousands of Canadian entrepreneurs since the first version hit the stores in 1988.
The latest edition reflects some of today's main issues, such as technology, the law and new resources. There are two additional chapters from earlier editions -- dealing with doing business over the Internet and managing your company's insurance needs.
Also included is advice on how to hire the best employees and keep them, a discussion about buying an existing business or starting from scratch, how to get financing for expansion and advice on franchise operations.
Whether you have questions on legal matters, tax concerns, marketing, time management or even insolvency and bankruptcy, the Grays have done their homework on your behalf.
Author Bob Nelson, who had an earlier bestseller with 1001 Ways to Take Initiative At Work, now offers us 1001 Ways to Reward Employees. (Somehow we like that idea better!)
Nelson has another million-plus-copy bestseller on his hands (published by Thomas Allen; available for $17.95 from on-line seller http://www.chapters.indigo.ca).
Whether a company supervises one employee or a thousand, Nelson takes a long look at what really motivates people to perform. And often, it's not only money.
Nelson's book proves one thing: In business or in life, we all want to be wanted and shown appreciation.
What the top business professionals are reading
What are successful business people -- or those trying to make a go of it -- reading these days? According to Chapters Online Inc. (http://www.chapters.indigo.ca), the top-10 bestsellers in the industry are:
1. 1001 Ways To Reward Employees, by Bob Nelson. The vice-president of a leading management-training and consulting company takes an extensive look at the issue of employee rewards and gives examples of how to make the person/achievement/reward equation work.
2. Who Moved My Cheese?: Amazing Ways With Change In Your Work And In Your Life, by Spencer Johnson. Using cheese as a microcosm for life's truths, Johnson uses the analogy of biting into cheese as a lesson on why we must be ready to accept life's surprises. According to Johnson, expanding your horizons in life and business means trying the world's cheeses -- well, not literally, but you get the idea. The message: Take a bite of life and be surprised.
3. Organizing From The Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern. Learn how to put your life in order with sound organizational advice that can help you attain your goals. Morgenstern offers tips to analyze, strategize and attack the clutter in your home or office.
4. The Wealthy Barber: Special Gold Edition, by David Chilton. Where do you go to find impeccable, understandable financial advice? For many, it has been The Wealthy Barber. Chilton offers Canadians a good-sense guide to successful financial planning with his charming story about a barber with financial genius.
5. Next: The Future Just Happened, by Michael Lewis. He describes how the Internet boom has encouraged the greatest change in how we live, work and think. He says we are in the midst of one of the greatest revolutions in the history of the world, and the Net is a weapon in the hands of revolutionaries.
6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That The Poor and Middle Class Do Not, by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter. This book shows parents how to teach their children about making money work for them, instead of them working for money. The authors point out that parents must teach their children about money because they cannot rely on schools to do it for them.
7. Positioning, by Al Riess and Jack Trout. This is a reissue of a bestselling marketing-methods classic. The subtitle, How To Be Seen And Heard In The Overcrowded Marketplace,just about says it all.
8. The One-Minute Manager, by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson (audio edition). Learn how to dramatically improve your life with sound, career-minded advice. This audio book offers simple advice for effective leadership, geared to the busy professional who has time to listen while commuting.
9. Crossing The Chasm: Marketing And Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers, by Geoffrey Moore. Every year, companies gamble away millions of dollars and countless hours of technical talent on doomed efforts. In this book, Moore shows business leaders how to avoid the pitfalls and successfully bring cutting-edge products to a larger market.
10. The Myth Of Excellence: Why Great Companies Never Try To Be The Best At Everything, by Fred Crawford. What do customers really want? And how can companies best serve them? Crawford attempts to give the answers. In research involving 10,000 consumers, he found that what customers want is recognition, trust, respect, fairness and honesty.