I’ve been checking out The Fresh Loaf over the past week and it looks like a pretty good site. There are a couple bread bloggers and some decent forums. The forums have RSS feeds which is nice. I can’t seem to track back though…
Archive for March, 2007
I just finished a pretty decent book called The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. It helped me get my head around some misconceptions I had about running a small business.
The author really pushes building your business as if it is a prototype for a franchise, regardless of whether you will ever spin it off into a franchise. By doing this, you are in effect documenting every important feature, process and procedure of your business so that you could sell the rights to someone else and they could operate it turn-key. And if everything is so well defined you could sell it turn-key, then at the very least you could hand off enough of the duties to take a vacation once in a while.
A key quote: You need to spend more time working on your business instead of working in your business.
Reading the book was a bit of a fluke – I had seen the title at the bookstore for quite a long time and always figured it was a dot-bomb retrospective. But a while back I picked it up and flipped to a section when the author is describing a woman running a pie shop. It sounded close enough to a bakery for me, so I read on and finally picked up a copy.
The only downside for me was that most of the book is written as a parable (a la The Wealthy Barber) which wears thin quickly — the author likes monologuing too much for that format. But it’s pretty good nonetheless. Well worth picking up at the library.
Seth Godin used a visit to a car dealership to show that there is a very wide gulf indeed between a ‘good’ salesperson and a ‘great’ salesperson. I’ve been either working in a sales organization, or supporting our sales organization for three years now and I second Seth’s observations — it’s too easy to settle for ‘good enough.’
In a roundabout way, Seth also points to some of the contributing factors which allow ‘good enough’ to occur. In my case, our sales force has been selected more to retain existing revenues over growing new sales; it’s part of the deal when you’re the incumbent and you’re protecting your base. But our sales compensation is so skewed toward guaranteed salary (and everyone making the same salary) that there’s no real incentive to significantly grow business. Growing business means forging new relationships and that’s riskier than working within your existing customer base. But if you’re not growing, you’re shrinking.
The corollary to Seth’s argument is: If you don’t pay the best, and let ‘good enough’ work for your competition, your ‘best’ will eventually be working for your competition.
My post rate has been abysmal. I’m still adding to my list of things to blog about without actually blogging, which kind of defeats the purpose. Thanks to my readers (both of you) for sticking with me during the lean time.
In the meantime I’ve been reading a tonne! 6 book plus several thousand blog posts in the last month. I’m using Google Reader to aggregate everything and they have an excellent ‘share’ feature. Check out the “I’m Reading” section in the sidebar for the recent posts I’ve read that are worth sharing.
They’re also worth commenting on, which is something I need to do more of. Starting tonight!