What business books should I read? Check recommendations of business leaders

I love reading. I just love digging deeper into a topic and coming up with new insights, added wisdom. I recently attended to Kochie’s Business Builders Bootcamp which brought together the entrepreneurs, business leaders and SME owners. The speakers were among the most successful business operators and entrepreneurs in Australia. They made many book recommendations. If you are thinking of reading business books, make sure you check their suggestions below:

  Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Daniel H. Pink
  Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big Bo Burlingham
  Enterprise and Venture Capital: A Business Builder’s and Investor’s Handbook Patrick Mooney
  Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model John Mullins
  The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal - Jim Loehr
  Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping–Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond

 

Paco Underhill
  What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption Rachel Botsman
  Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

 

Jim Collins

I would like to add Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini to this list. I am currently reading it and  constantly surprised by the examples in the book- which is a good sign of a good book for me!

Have you read any of these books? Have you got any additions? Share in the comments section.

PS- The links go to Amazon.com. I have no affiliation (I don’t make money) with Amazon. I chose as Amazon also provides great information about the book as well.  You can buy from your favourite bookshop.

What I learnt at Kochie’s Business Builders Bootcamp

17 hours of heavy duty brain work. The Bootcamp was intense. Yet I left Darling Harbour with  a buzz. I picked up the entrepreneurship bug and my attitude towards business changed for the better. Listening to one successful speaker after another, I saw they’re not different than you or me. I started to see patterns. Here are some of those patterns and other highlights of  the Bootcamp.

Attitude: Just do it

Most of the speakers had overcame adversities, they had low points in the business, big ugly debts, the GFC, not knowing much about business, finance, systems, everyone saying “ don’t do it”…

Yet they all survived and actually thrived when facing these adversities. The pattern I see was their attitude. An unwavering self-belief, courage, determination and the ability to back their goal and intentions with their actions. They just went out and gave it a go. When they fell, they stood up again. Made mistakes, yet they didn’t change their attitude and still had  another go. The famous tagline of Nike “Just do it” came up couple of times in the Bootcamp. No wonder why!

5 people you need for success

Another common pattern was the need for external support.  Be it the need for a Board of Directors or a business coach, the need for external support was frequently emphasised by the speakers.  The presentation of Natalie Archer, the director of Bendelta, clearly explained this concept. She suggested 5 personalities you need to have in your network to help you succeed in business:

  1. Coach: Someone who is good at asking you the right questions so you can tap into the knowledge you already have.
  2. Role model: Someone you admire, who you look up to. You can try to emulate the success of your model.
  3. Critique: Someone who is not afraid to tell it to you when you are wrong.
  4. Collaborator: Someone who compliments you. When you’re together, magic happens. New ideas, outcomes, projects come up with this collaboration and you are better for it.
  5. Confidant: Someone you trust, ideally outside the business. You can vent, scream and release the bottled up anger.

Collaborative Consumption

Finally a business trend that will make you feel good to consume or actually change the way you consume.  In this mode of consumption, you don’t own. You share, swap, barter, exchange, trade or rent. In Australia, collaborative consumption based business examples is increasing. GoGet car share is a great example where you enjoy all the benefits of a car without owning one.

Rachel Botsman is the co-author of the book “What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption” and she was one of the speakers. She explained the  concept in detail and shared many examples.  She had a similar presentation on collaborative consumption on TED. Watch it as collaborative consumption is very likely to change your business and the way you consume.

What’s your LinkedIn strategy? If you don’t have one, read Roland’s success story for inspiration

LinkedIn is world’s most popular social networking tool for professionals. It recently passed 100 million users and it has close to 1 million users in Australia. More and more people are trying to find the formula for success in LinkedIn. Roland Hanekroot  has been a success story in using LinkedIn. In our interview, he shares with us his LinkedIn experience.

Can you share with us your LinkedIn history?

I’ve been in LinkedIn for a few years now. Initially it was mainly used by recruiters and I wasn’t getting anywhere. 2 years ago I realised its potential as an important business tool. It was around the same time LinkedIn became more user friendly and opened its Australia office. Inspired by Seth Godin and the emphasis on the community, I decided to create a LinkedIn group around small business.

Tell us a bit about your group and why it exists?

It is called Small Business Masterminds. The purpose of the group is to create a community of people in small business who brainstorm and support each other around the issues of business management.
The group members are in LinkedIn yet I also run regular meetings in person with the LinkedIn group members and my past and current clients.  I was inspired by my meditation teacher who organised meetings after a meditation retreat. I liked the idea and I thought it would be a great way to stay in touch with my clients or other small businesses.

How much time do you spend on LinkedIn?

I spend around 3-4 hours a week. The time is usually spent on starting a discussion in the group and contributing to the discussion afterwards. I introduce a new topic every month. The topics are the same as my book ‘The Ten Truths for Raising a Healthy Bouncy Business’ so it’s easy to find the topics. Managing the discussions is easy, too as the topics are my area of expertise.

Moderation in online groups and forums can be challenging. How do you handle it?

I set up some guidelines. Nobody reads it of course! Only on couple of occasions there was a need for moderation. LinkedIn makes it really easy to manage discussions.  If I find people promoting their services, I move the comment from discussion to promotions. I can delete offensive material easily but most of the time it is just separating the promotions from discussions.
I prefer a more flexible approach to moderation. If someone is a regular contributor and adds value in discussions, then it’s OK to mention a promotion every now and then.

What are the positives of the LinkedIn group for you?

It gives me a lot of visibility. Especially as the discussions are now open and in public domain, they are indexed by Google, this is great for SEO results.
I haven’t had many direct enquiries from LinkedIn groups yet I get many enquiries due to my search results in Google. LinkedIn Group does help with getting better search results  leading to more enquiries.
It is great to be a part of community, it feels good. I made great connections with people around the country who do similar work.
It gives me more authority and credibility. People see that I have many connections, a long history in LinkedIn and lots of people say nice things about me. If you are looking for a business coach, you would like to see they have experience, they know what they’re talking about, and they have history, they didn’t just start yesterday.

What don’t you like about your group?

It may take too much time. It is not just starting a topic but keeping it going and interacting with the members take time.
It is an open group and so people around the world can join and take part in discussions. Yet sometimes I wish it could attract more Sydney businesses.  As my business in Sydney, I would like to meet more local business who may use my services in the future.

What’s the difference in group dynamics in online vs. offline?

It is very different online.  In face to face group, I am the authority and I facilitate the workshop as the workshop leader. Online there are many other discussions that start without my initiations. I am not involved in some of them. In face to face meetings, there is only one discussion and it is facilitated by me.

What have you learnt in managing your group?

How important it is to have a focus, a purpose. This is a community of people who are interested in small businesses and I happen to run it.  They may at some stage be interested to use my services as I am one of the experts in the field. Yet the purpose of the group is not me. It is much bigger than that and so it works.
I learnt that spreading yourself too thin is not effective. I have more than 50 group memberships but I am only active in 3 of them.

A great insight by Roland and a good summary of 2 years of LinkedIn groups experience.  When he’s not in LinkedIn, he writes. His first book “The Ten Truths for Raising a Healthy Bouncy Business” is published by Amazon. Visit his website for details. After reading his story, have you got a clearer picture for reaching your goals in LinkedIn?

How to effectively communicate with busy people

Busy busy busy. Standard reply when you ask someone how they’re. We’re cramming more into our lives. More work, more fun, more appointments, more commitments. It is getting harder to get someone’s attention.
Frustrating isn’t it? Yet  I have a formula to counteract this modern day phenomenon. Single message with any communication.  Yes. Simple isn’t it! Here are some other guidelines I follow:

  • Keep the message short.
  • Get to the message early on and even if you want to say more in that message,don’t.
  • Finish the message with a very clear next step so the recipient is totally clear on how to respond to the message.
  • Support the message with a clear and relevant email subject line. This will prime the recipient and introduce clarity to the message.
  • What if you have other messages? Send separate emails with relevant subject lines. Don’t add more than one message to keep it short and sweet.
  • Don’t imply and keep the irony to the minimum. The more there is, the more possibility of a misunderstanding.
  • Don’t assume. Don’t assume the recipient knows what you are talking about.
  • Introduce a short background. Don’t assume they remember the details of the conversation you have or the main points of that conversation so give it to them. This point is relevant especially if there is a third party introduced to the email who wasn’t present in that conversation so is not up to date.

Have you got any suggestions to add to the formula?

Online marketing vs traditional marketing- 3 examples to help you bridge the gap

One of the most common mistakes in marketing is to put too much time, money and effort in one tactic. This mostly results in ignoring other tactics that would support and make marketing initiative a success. As more of the marketing budgets are shifted to online, usually traditional marketing tactics became victims of this oversight.

I am a big believer of creating synergies between online and traditional marketing .Here are 3 personal examples where offline marketing doesn’t feel like a victim!

Business Development

One of my responsibilities in an earlier role was business development. The term applied to only cold calling. It was painful. Cold calling is one of the most ineffective methods of business development in my opinion.  I suggested building relationship with Department of State and Regional Development (DSRD). They were organising seminars for SME’s, our target market. I organised us to be one of the presenters. DSRD was managing the marketing and bringing in the attendees and we concentrated on delivering a strong presentation. The presentation was well received and introduced us to a great many number of prospects. After the introduction, we switched the conversation to online marketing. We followed up with white papers, and e-newsletters to manage the relation.  Combination of the offline marketing of presenting at a seminar and adding value to the relationship with online follow up resulted in new clients. I didn’t have to do cold calling again!

Networking

I am so surprised by a common behaviour in networking events.  Introduction and some conversation usually results in exchange of business cards. Yet majority of the people never do anything with the business cards they collect. For me, that is a great start to a business relation only if it’s extended to online. Couple of suggestions to make the most of the networking event:

A quick email following up after the event. This email would almost always include something relevant to the conversation. Eg if there was a mention of a website, sending  the link of the website.
Adding the person to social networks. Yes I am talking about LinkedIn and Twitter, no not Facebook. This way, I would get to know the person better. In busy lives, it is hard to catch up with people frequently but Twitter is a great tool to carry a conversation online and LinkedIn is the default choice in business.

I believe only with this combination of traditional and online, you can make the most of attending to networking events.

Creating unique experiences

OK I may be biased with this, but this involves a pet project of mine so it’s hard to be neutral. Creating and managing events used to be challenging. But event application of Facebook made it much easier to organise your housewarming or find out more about that birthday party. Yet among the noise in Facebook including friends, game and page invitations, and the events may get lost.

MeetUp is a specialist website for meetings and groups. You can easily organise a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. MeetUp is usually a great first stop to find a group you are interested or start one and find like-minded people. It’s US based but gaining popularity around the world and Australia.

I recently had an idea that combined a few interests of mine: Meeting people, enjoying a great meal and technology. I set up  Social Dinner Club to create unique dining experiences featuring a new cuisine, a new restaurant and a food blogger.
In this instance the online platform MeetUp  helps to organise  the  offline meeting, resulting in a unique dining experience. I know couple of groups and businesses who are working to tap into MeetUp as this website is a great tool to bring people together, yes offline!

There is always an opportunity to maximise your results in your initiatives. Looking for synergies in online and traditional marketing is a great way to leverage your initiatives so please keep this in mind when you’re working on your next big initiative. I would love to hear your thoughts or maybe we can talk about them in one of the Social Dinner Club events!

Dear Twitter

love letterPretty strong sentiments for a tweet, don’t you think?
This tweet came straight after a Twitter moment when a few of my passions came together via a tweet. I felt like a portal opened up showing me new wisdom and insight.

Timeline is the Stage

A daily ritual is reading Timeline in my Twitter account.  This is probably one of my favourite time of the day as I am given the privilege to gaze into the worlds of people I look up to as well as peers and friends. Everyone I follow is important for me so Timeline is the stage where they show off their skills.

Collision of opinions
Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favourite writers, I read all his books. He is gifted in providing us with great insight about human behaviour  and sharing those insights in a very engaging and accessible way.  Brian Solis is a leading Social Media expert, I attended to one of his presentations in Sydney last year. I was impressed with his command on the topic. Currently Malcom Gladwell is criticised for his views on Twitter and this tweet seemed like another critique.

When I clicked on the link, I was provided with a detailed opinion on the topic along with further links which introduced me to Zeynep Tufecki, a professor of sociology and her research revolves around how information technology shapes and is shaped by the socio-cultural context.

All of a sudden, I discovered someone who is working in an area that I am interested in. These links provided me with material to pour over when I have free time.

How Twitter changed is the way I search for and digest information

This is typical of a situation where I discover new things as the people I trusted to follow have once more delivered ideas that I want to explore.
The people I follow is my filter. Instead of relying on any other source such as newspapers, websites, magazines, I rely on these people to educate me, entertain me or challenge me. Twitter is now my primary source of information and discovery. How about you? Do you have a love affair with Twitter? Is it more of a hate affair as you started and didn’t like it and never went back to your account? Talk to me, ask me questions, maybe I can convince you to give Twitter one more try!

http://www.briansolis.com/2011/02/malcom-gladwell-your-slip-is-showing/

http://technosociology.org/?p=263

9 iPhone Apps That Spiced Up My Life

A recent article In Read Write Web was not a surprise for me. iPhone Apps Overtaking Songs in Total Downloads is an informative article explaining why Apps is becoming more popular than song. iPhone Apps is a world on its own, and it’s like your best friend helping you to be more productive, have more fun, discover new things and never be alone or bored.

Here is my list to celebrate Iphone Apps, this is a list for both work and play, just like iPhone.

1-HootSuite

Work only and a lifesaver if you are managing multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. Simple, elegant and powerful, HootSuite allows you to send and schedule Twitter and Facebook updates, track click stats, and set up tracking columns to monitor keywords, #hashtags and lists. There is a free lite version but I chose the full version (US$2.99) and never regretted.My favourite  is you can schedule your tweets so you don’t bombard your followers with consecutive tweets!

2-Nuage Paper

If you like newspapers, this free application is for you. There are thousands of international media sources to choose from and you can read the latest articles of the paper of your choice. You can also see the front pages of the newspapers around the world or get their feeds, a good App to go with your morning coffee.

3-Shazam

I still call this magic! Great software giving you instant satisfaction when you want to know the song that is playing: Simply point your phone  towards the music, let Shazam do the magic and give you more information about the artist; let you buy the song immediately or simply share your discovery with friends.There are a few different versions, but the free one does it for me.

4-Top 100 Apps

This free App is  a great way to discover new Apps. Your App store just shows the categories and Top 25 for the country you are in. This App lets you view top 100 App rankings in different countries quickly so you know what is popular around the world. It is also great for market research.

5-PocketSitcom

A cheesy and fun App that is free.Your conversations will never be boring again, when you use the Pocket Sitcom as it gives you the personal laughtrack and canned applause you always wanted.

6-TheBike

A free App that is ideal for cyclists. Bicyle is my favourite form of transport and I tend to get on my bike a lot. This is a simple cyclocomputer giving you info like the distance covered, your average speed, and how long did your trip take. There are many similar Apps but I like the simplicity and the fact that it is free!

7-IMDB

If you are a movie buff like me, this free Apps is for you. There have been many occasions where an argument starts with another movie buff: “No way she was’t in that movie”,and you respond  “I am absolutely sure she is”. Before the days of the IMDB, this argument wouldn’t be settled instantly and by the time it’s settled, it didn’t matter. Yet IMDB App  features the Internet Movie Database with its largest collection of movie, TV and celebrity information anywhere, bringing all movie arguments to a swift resolution.

8-Trapster

Trapster(R) is a FREE App that alerts you as you approach police speed traps, red light cameras, speed cameras, and other roadway wallet hazards. This is a powerful App and the more users out there using it, the more accurate it gets. The app already has the critical mass with 2 million mobile users world-wide.

9-Paper Toss

Free game App. I’ll be honest, games and me don’t get along well.  I downloaded a few popular game Apps and give it a go, hoping that I would be enticed to this dynamic world. Yet none worked for me. But this one is simple, engaging and fun and even if you don’t like games, you may enjoy the Paper Toss.

What are the Apps that spiced up your life and you can’t live without?

3 Effective Examples of Personal Branding in the age of Social Media

“ You are your brand” You might heard this ever since personal branding concept  became mainstream  by an article “ The Brand Called You” published at Fast Company in 1997.

1997;no Google, no Googling someone, no Google vanity search. Popular social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin didn’t exist. You wouldn’t be able to build your personal branding empire one update or tweet at a time.

Here are 3 great tools for personal branding, they are all integrated well into social media enhancing their value.

http://paper.li/

paper.liWhy not have a personal paper to compliment your personal empire! Here is how paper.li explains itself: “ paper.li organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or #tag.”

I’ve been following Ken Burgin’s daily paper for a while and recently found out international thought leaders and great personal brand ambassadors such as Problogger and Brain Solis are using paper.li, too.

I asked to both Ken and Darren (Problogger) about their experiences using paper.li.

Ken: “Using paper.li was an experiment to see what types of links would come together with some ‘auto-curation’. The one with my personal name has worked well, and generally puts together interesting content creation each morning, although sometimes a little repetitive.”

Darren “ I guess they compile an interesting list of links from your community which could be useful to identifying hot topics but also building relationships with some of your readers – however because it’s all fairly automated and you don’t actually have to do anything to create it seems slightly impersonal.

flavors.me

This website is a great way to combine your social network profiles  in one location and make it look visually attractive, here’s mine for your reference. There is a free version which allows you to add services ( social networks)  and decide on your design, to create your own URL. Flavors work really well if you are into design and you can get really creative with it. A good way to use would be to display your portfolio samples and send your URL to your client for their reference.

The paid version is $20 for a year and includes listing in a directory, statistics, custom domain name and contact form. Not a bad investment for $20 yet, when about. me is launched to public which includes statistics and is free,  the competition for flavors.me will intensify.

 

http://about.me/

The new kid on the block, currently it’s not open to the public.  The power of it lies in its analytics feature. This feature allows you to understand how many people visit your profile and more importantly what they do with the information they see. This website is all about personal branding integrating the image of the user and their copy as well as their social networks.

What I really like about this website is the creativity of the first set of users.The copy they have is engaging and the images they use really compliment the copy. The user pages remind me of the great coffee table books. I already chose my image and looking forward to get my profile up and running.

Have you tried any of these tools? What are your views? Do you believe personal branding is here to stay and should be complemented with these kinds of tools?

Why should you do Social Media?

why social mediaStay at the top of people’s mind. Golden rule of marketing. We know your prospects are more likely to buy your products/services if they remember who you are and what you do.

If your target market is already using Social Media, by being present in Social Media channels and engaging them while there, you are going to increase the likelihood of them remembering you-when they are ready to buy!

Social Media is only one aspect of the online marketing tactics and can be used to compliment other marketing tactics.

Social Media story with a happy end

Here is a happy story, let’s hope it’ll be your business in this story.

You have a twitter profile, followed other twitter users and they followed you back.

You managed to impress them with your tweets: You made them laugh, shared a link which helped them with their question, solved one of their problems by pointing them in the right direction…

They checked your Twitter bio, your past tweets, and they liked what they saw. They clicked on to your website in your Twitter bio and came to your landing page. After looking around, they are still impressed, they decided to subscribe to your e-newsletter and download that free ebook.

If your goal was to increase your database, you can smile now, mission accomplished. They’ll be in your database and your e-newsletter or special offers will be delivered straight to their inbox.  Now you are one step closer to converting them to be a client.

What’s next?

You used Social Media to reach your marketing goal, it worked as one of your online tactics. That’s why you should do Social Media. Well done, now go back and repeat!

This is only one example of Social Media working for your business. Let’s have a chat and brainstorm ways to use Social Media to reach your goals.