Must Read Books 2021 Banner by DH

As a business trainer, I personally love business books that I can refer to and recommend to clients, mentees and workshops participants. I imagine that some will like to read and it is great to get recommended books to dig into greater detail on business topics that we are discussing. Business is complicated. It is important to learn from the experience of other business people. Books are an important source of information, guidance and explanations /models of how and why business works. As the world and the world of business is constantly changing there is a continuing need for good business books that reflect our times. So this post will discuss my first three reads of 2021. Each book has a different and specific objective making them of interest to distinct audiences with the common theme being the importance of communication in business. The three books are:

  • The Mom Test: How to talk to customers and learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you by Rob Fitzpatrick, August 2019 (first published 2013) The Mom Test website
  • Building a Story Brand: Clarify your Message So Customers Will Listen, Use the 7 Elements of Great Storytelling to grow your business” by Donald Miller, 2017 Harper Collins
  • Profit Wise: How to Make More Money in Business by Doing the Right Thing, by Jeff Morrill, 2020

The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

I really liked this book. The subtitle is just brilliant ‘How to talk to customers and learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you’ as it identifies a gap in the bookshelf on how startups should conduct conversations with customers so that they can learn from them.

You’ve read about Customer Development or Lean Startup and aren’t sure how to actually go about having your first customer conversation

Page 4 of the Mom Test answers the question Is this book for you?

Chapter 1 explains the title of the book and once explained it is equally brilliant.

People say you shouldn’t ask your mom whether your idea is a good idea. That’s technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn’t ask anyone whether your business is a good idea. You shouldn’t ask anyone whether your business is a good idea. At least not in those words. Your mom will lie to you the most (just ‘cuz she loves you), but it’s a bad question and invites everyone to lie to you at least a little.
It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to show us the truth. It’s our responsibility to find it. We do that by asking good questions.

Page 8 of the Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

The chapter explains that the measure of the usefulness of an early customer conversation is whether it gives us concrete facts about our customers’ lives and world views. This sets up the 3 simple rules of The Mom Test

  1. Talk about their life instead of your idea
  2. Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or opinions about the future
  3. Talk less and listen more.

It’s called The Mom Test because it leads to questions that even your mom can’t lie to you about.

Practical Example Questions

The author asks the reader to play a game, by listing a series of questions and asking you to decide if they are good or bad as per the Mom test. He then goes through in detail why they are good or bad so that by the end of the list you feel like you could judge if your own questions are either good or bad according to the Mom Test – do they facilitate people to be nice to you by simply lying. He also provides full conversations with your Mom to illustrate the point.

Rules of Thumb

The author provides 38 profound rules of thumb starting with:

‘#.1 Customer conversations are bad by default. It’s your job to fix them.


Page 13 of the Mom Test presents the first Rule of Thumb

For each rule of thumb, he provides an example of a Bad Question and how it can be fixed. This generally involving asking about the actions your potential customer is currently trying to solve a particular issue.

fluff comes in 3 cuddly shapes (rule of thumb 11)

  1. Generic Claims (“I usually”, “I always”, “I never”)
  2. Future-tense promises (“I would”, “I will”)
  3. Hypothetical maybes (“I might”, “I could”)

Source: P28 of The Mom Test

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/wind-two-the-silence-plant-meadow-4187416/

  • #.2 Opinions are worthless
    Awful question: ‘Do you think it is a good idea?’
  • #.3 Anything involving the future is an over-optimistic lie
    Bad question: ‘How much would you pay for X?”
  • #.4 People will lie to you if they think it’s what you want to hear.
  • #.5 People know what their problems are, but they don’t know how to solve those problems
  • #.6 You’re shooting blind until you understand their goals.
  • #.7 Some problems don’t actually matter
    Good question: ‘Talk me through the last time that happened’
  • #.8 Watching someone do a task will show you where the problems and inefficiencies really are, not where the customer thinks they are
  • #.9 If they haven’t looked for ways of solving it already, they’re not going to look for (or buy) yours
    Bad question: ‘Would you pay X for a product that did Y?” … the fact that you added a number doesn’t help. Unless you ask for and get a deposit or pre-order.
  • #.10 While it’s rare for someone to tell you precisely what they’ll pay you, they’ll often show you what it’s worth to them.
    Good question (B2B): ‘Where does the money come from?’
  • #.11 People want to help you but will rarely do so unless you give them an excuse to do so.
  • #.12 Compliments are the fool’s gold of customer learning: shiny, distracting, and entirely worthless
    The world’s most deadly fluff is: ‘I would definitely buy that’
  • #.13 Ideas and feature requests should be understood, but not obeyed
  • #.14 If you’ve mentioned your idea, people will try to protect your feelings.
  • #.15 Anyone will say your idea is great if you’re annoying enough about it
  • #.16 The more you’re talking, the worse you’re doing
  • #.17 You should be terrified of at least one of the questions you’re asking in every conversation
  • #.18 There’s more reliable information in a ‘meh’ than a “Wow!” You can’t build a business on a lukewarm response.
  • #.19 Start broad and don’t zoom in until you’ve found a strong signal, both with your whole business and with every conversation.

Beware of Product as well as Customer and Market Risk

In some cases, the risk is in your product, not in the market or the customer. A founder wanted to start a company building gadgets to track the fertility of farm animals, ultimately boosting birthrates and thus revenue. When he talked to farmers, he asked questions like, “Would you switch trackers if something cheaper and more effective was available?” That’s the same as asking someone whether they would like more money. The answer is always “Yes.” The farmers responded along the lines of, “If you can build what you say you can build, I’ll equip my whole herd.” The problem is, he couldn’t build it. The risk was in the product.

Product risk — Can I build it? Can I grow it? Will they keep using it?
Market risk — Do they want it? Will they pay? Are there enough of them?

Source: Rob Fitzpatrick ‘The Mom Test’ page 52

Image of Tightrope over Water: https://pixabay.com/photos/waters-movement-river-action-human-3158413/

  • #.20 You always need a list of your 3 big questions
  • #.21 Learning about your customer and their problems works better as a quick and casual chat than a long, formal meeting.
    I got there by just being interested and chatting with them over a beer: “X seems really annoying, how do you deal with it?” “Is Y as bad as it seems?” “You guys did a great job with Z… Where did you get that from?”
  • #.22 If it feels like they’re doing you a favour by talking to you, it’s probably too formal.
  • #.23 Give as little information as possible about your idea while still nudging the conversation in a useful direction.
  • #.24 “Customers” who keep being friendly but aren’t ever going to buy are a particularly dangerous source of mixed signals.
  • #.25 If you don’t know what happens next after a product or sales meeting, the meeting was pointless
    It took me years to learn that there’s no such thing as a thing which just ‘went well’. Every meeting either succeeds or fails. You’ve lost the meeting when you leave with a compliment or a stalling tactic.
  • #.26 The more they’re giving up, the more seriously you can take their kind words.
  • #.27 It’s not a real lead until you’ve given them a concrete chance to reject you
  • #.28 In early-stage sales, the real goal is learning. Revenue is just a side-effect.

Don’t pitch blind (rule of thumb 27)

Even once you’ve moved on to more product-focused sales meetings, you still want to start with some open-ended learning to get your bearings. You may know what the market cares about, but figuring out what’s unique about this particular person feels is important. It will make the rest of the conversation much smoother, increases your chances of closing the deal, and also gives you ongoing learning after you’ve got a product

Source: p71 of the Mom Test

Source of ‘Sun throught a Blind’ https://pixabay.com/photos/window-blinds-decor-bedroom-924985/

  • #.29 If it’s not a formal meeting, you don’t need to make excuses about why you’re there or even mention that you’re starting a business. Just have a good conversation.
  • #.30 If it’s a topic you both care about, find an excuse to talk about it. Your idea never needs to enter the equation and you’ll both enjoy the chat.
  • #.31 Kevin Bacon’s 7 degrees of separation applies to customer conversation. You can find anyone you need if you ask for it a couple of times.
    The author makes the point that Industry Advisors can be a great source of introductions. He adds that you can get good people to join your Advisory Board and that the first conversation with a good advisor looks similar to the first conversation with a flagship customer: you get along and are talking about a space you both care about. You can sometimes poach killer advisors from your early customer conversations”.
  • #.32 Keep having conversations until you stop hearing new stuff.
  • #.33 If you aren’t finding consistent problems and goals, you don’t yet have a specific enough customer segment
    The author is a big fan of customer segmentation and introduced me to the term ‘Customer Slicing’ which involves drilling down into ever more specific customer groups within a segment – this is important so that you reach consistency and avoids mixed signals which won’t give you the confidence to move forward.
  • #.34 Good customer segments are a who-where pair. If you don’t know where to to to find your customers, keep slicing your segment into smaller pieces until you do.

You can’t get the data you need if you’re talking to the wrong people. There are 3 ways to fall into this clearly unhelpful trap.

  1. You have too-broad of a segment and are talking to everyone
  2. You have multiple customer segments and missed some of them
  3. You are selling to a business with a complicated buying process and have overlooked some of the stakeholders

Source: p.97 of The Mom Test

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/sheep-herd-pasture-flock-animal-1246204/

  • #.35 If you don’t know what you’re trying to learn, you shouldn’t bother having the conversation
  • #.36 Notes are useless if you don’t look at them
  • #.37 Go build your dang company already

This stuff moves really quickly when you’re doing it right. This book isn’t meant you an excuse to squander precious months on theorising. It’s meant to help you extract maximum value in minimum time from conversations so you can get back to what really matters: building your business.

p,110 of The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick
  • #.38 It’s going to be okay (Don’t beat yourself up about your conversation mistakes)
    Dumb questions get asked all the time during meetings. The author’s advice is to review with your team and not to beat yourself up (or your cofounders) over mistakes. Work on getting better as a team. He finishes on a very positive note which is worth remembering.

People love startups. Startups do cool stuff and make their lives better. Everyone supports the entrepreneur. When entrepreneurs screw up, people want to forgive them. They want the entrepreneur and the startup to succeed.

p,111 of The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

The Cheat Sheet for your Conversation (Meeting)

The final section of the book contains a Cheat Sheet with a summary of the key points – i particularly liked the process outlined on p 116 for Before, During and After the Meeting with Customers, which I have adapted to present in the graphic below.

Graphical representation by Donncha Hughes of the Cheat Sheet on Before, During and After a Meeting from The Mom Test

I highly recommend The Mom Test. It is not unlike Talking to Humans by Frank Rimalovski and Giff Constable which I also reference in ‘My favourite Startup Marketing Books for Fast-Growing Businesses


Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

I first came across Donald Miller when someone mentioned a website called 5 Minute Marketing Makeover. It features 3 videos by Donald to help you clarify your message on your website to grow your business (total running time of about 20 minutes) and I was really impressed with the points made in the videos. The website is a lead generator for his business so you have to give your email address. But the 3 videos are really excellent – very thought-provoking and worth considering. I liked it so much that I ordered the book which comes highly recommended by Seth Godin – have read and reviewed several of his books.

Understanding the title of the Book – Building a StoryBrand

The back cover encapsulates the reason to read this book

Every day, most business leaders make a mistake that costs them money: they don’t explain clearly what it is their company does..

The subtitle reveals the big promise of the book to teach readers how to ‘Clarify your Message so Customers Will Listen’ and the how is to “Use the 7 Elements of Great Storytelling to Grow your Business”.

Chapter 1 outlines the paradox with marketing. It is vital to business success but so easy to get wrong and can then be very costly.

The reality is we aren’t just in a race to get our products to market; we’re also in a race to communicate why our customers need those products in their lives. Even if we have the best products in the marketplace, we’ll lose to an inferior product if our competitor’s offer is communicated more clearly.

Source: Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand

He asks a critical question: How many sales are we missing out on because customers can’t figure out what our offer is within 5 seconds of visiting our website? A big part of the issue according to Donald is that graphic artists and designers know how to build websites and create brochures but do they know about writing good sales copy? The major problem is that most marketing is just too complicated and the brain doesn’t know how to process the information. The end result is that our marketing gets ignored. The answer lies in embracing the power of Story as the story format is much easier to digest as they help our brains to make sense of the world.

The introduction to the book opens by stating that Customers don’t generally care about your story; they care about their own setting up the big punchline of the book that:

Your customer should be the hero of the story, not your brand

Page ix of Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

This is the first of 7 principles in the StoryBrand Framework. The others are:

  • II. Companies tend to sell solutions to external problems, but customers buy solutions to internal problems
  • III. Customers are not looking for another hero; they’re looking for a Guide
  • IV. Customers trust a Guide with a Plan
  • V. Customers do not take action until they are challenged to take Action
  • VI. Every human being is trying to avoid a tragic ending
  • VII. Never assume People understand how your brand can change their lives. Tell them.

The StoryBrand Framework

The majority of the book is devoted to showcasing The StoryBrand Framework, which is also referred to as the SB7 Framework, which shows how to construct a story for your business using a one-page BrandScript.

The book explains that you can complete your BrandScript (for free) online and then download your completed one-pager using PdfFiller.com – each business is advised to create a BrandScript for the overall brand and then for each product or service and possibly for each segment of your customer base.

I have created a Guidance note with instructions on how to complete the Storybrand BrandScript by Donald Miller (a 4 page pdf).

StoryBrand Marketing Roadmap

The book is devoted to explaining the Framework or BrandScript but I thought that one of the best parts of the book was the annex which outlined a roadmap with 5 points for using the BrandScript:

  1. Step 1 – Create a one-liner
    This one-liner is a new and improved way to answer the question, “what do we do”, it’s more than a slogan or a tagline, and it’s a single statement that helps people realize why they need your product or services. Memorize this statement and repeat it anytime somebody asks you what you do. Staff should know the one-liner which will feature on your website, in email signatures, and even on the back of your business card. People are wondering how you can make their lives better. And this one-liner will show you how to tell them in such a way that they will want to engage with your brand. So the first step of the roadmap is to use a four-part formula to is craft your one-liner (see next sub-section).
  2. Create a Lead Generator and Collect E-mail addresses
    You need a lead generator. You need a PDF, e-course, video series, webinar, live event, or just about anything else that will allow you to collect e-mail addresses. A lead generator will help you find qualified buyers so you can let them know, directly and authoritatively, how you can help them resolve their problems.
  3. Create an automated email drip campaign
  4. Collect and tell stories of transformation
    Almost every story is about the transformation of the hero, and when we tell stories about how we’ve helped or customers transform, potential customers immediately understand what our brand can offer them
  5. Create a system that generates Referrals
    The final step is to invite happy customers to become evangelists for your brand.

To Craft a Compelling One-Liner

To craft a compelling one-liner, Donald employs a distilled version of the StoryBrand Framework using the following four components:

  1. The Character
    People need to be able to say, “That’s me!”  when they hear your one-liner.
  2. The problem
    Defining a problem triggers the thought in your customer’s mind. Yeah, I do struggle with that. Will your brand be able to help me overcome it? Defining the problem is vital because once you do you’ve opened a story loop and they’ll be looking for you to help them find a resolution. Because stories hinge on conflict, the author advises to never shy away from talking about a customer’s challenges.
  3. The plan
    You won’t be able to spell out your entire plan in your one-liner, but you must hint at it. When a customer reads your one-liner, the plan component should cause them to think, ‘Well, when it’s organized that way it makes sense, perhaps there’s hope’.
  4. The success
    This is where you paint a picture of what life could look like after customers use your product or service.

The one-liner doesn’t have to be a single sentence nor does it need to be four sentences, think of it more as a statement, you simply want to communicate these four ideas. Who is your customer what is their problem, what is your plan to help them, and what will their life look like after you do?

The author uses some simple and generic examples to populate the formula. One is for a business who are selling timeshares in holiday homes in Florida.

  • The Character: Retired couples
  • The Problem: A second mortgage
  • The Plan: A time-share option
  • The Success: Avoiding those cold, northern winters
  • “We help retired couples who want to escape the harsh cold avoid the hassle of a second mortgage while still enjoying the warm, beautiful weather of Florida in the winter”

The first key point is that a one liner is simply a clear repeatable statement that allows potential customers to find themselves in the story a company is telling. The follow up is that this takes time to perfect..

Consider your first one-liner a rough draft. Write it down and test it repeatedly. Run it by your friends, spouse, potential customers, even strangers standing in line at Starbucks. Do people look interested? Do they completely understand what you offer? If so, you’re on the right track. When they start asking for your business card or for more information, you’ve really dialled it in.

Donald MIller, Building a StoryBrand

Overall, I do like the StoryBrand message. The book is easy to read and the message seems very logical even if the examples are simplistic – I have seen many variations of the one-liner but it is nice to have a format with a full book to support it in terms of delving into its rationale. The book will be of benefit to startups and small business owners who want to craft a statement that the company can rally around to create a consistent message about their product or brand in the marketplace. Chapter 12 addresses how to build a better website using the StoryBrand Framework – I would highly recommend watching the aforementioned free videos available from 5 Minute Makeover.com


Profit Wise: How to Make More Money in Business by Doing the Right Thing by Jeff Morrill

This is an excellent book. In early February, I got an email from Maria an author support specialist asking if I would like to review the book, in which case she would send me a free copy of the eBook. I agreed and she sent on a kindle edition of Profit Wise.

Author E.L. Doctorow said of driving in fog at night, “You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” He was referring to the art of beginning a novel, but his keen observation also applies to business and life: you can’t prepare for every possible eventuality of a project. For most things, you just have to get started and figure it out as you go.

Source: Profit Wise: How to Make More Money in Business by Doing the Right Thing by Jeff Morrill

Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/stairs-steps-temple-up-upward-336509/

Understanding the (sub)title of the Book

Maria’s email emphasised that the author Jeff Morrill, using the principles of the book, had built businesses from scratch in automotive retail, real estate, telecommunications, and insurance that generate over $100,000,000 in annual revenue. So in the book he shares how to ‘create systems and procedures that produce profits automatically by focusing everyone in your company on doing the right thing every time. Contrary to popular belief, taking the high road really is the straightest path to the bottom line. You’ll learn how to earn more profits consistently in business while staying true to your values’.

The author, in the introduction, adds that the book is about how you can build a better business and a better world at the same time. With a little inspiration and a lot of effort, your thriving company can produce great value with great values. The introduction does a great job in signposting the issues and topics to be discussed in each of the 10 chapters to include Leadership, Hiring, Marketing, Quality Customer Service and Negotiating.

Chapter 1 Take the High Road to Raise the Bottom Line

The author gives the following example in order to explain that since their first month in business they’ve been taking the high road to raise the bottom line:

  • Invest resources to expand the diversity of our workforce seeking applicants that other dealerships dont recruit. For example, the first salesperson hired was a woman, even though women in dealerships were rare.
  • Way back in 2011, we installed a massive solar array on our roof that would power our entire showroom and reduce our carbon footprint.
  • We donated a vehicle to our local river protection organisation and covered it in Planet (our brand) graphics. It’s a rolling billboard that communicates our commitment to clean water. We support organisations doing good work in the community, and their members support us with their purchases.

The author makes the point that while there may be a perceived cost to these decisions there are immediate and long term benefits to include significant financial rewards. And every day, customers drive past other dealerships to do business with us because we share their values.

Think about all the paradoxes in life: you get more love by giving more, you get luckier by working harder, and you get happier by worrying less about your own needs. Likewise, the best way to grow profits over the long run is not to obsess narrowly on this month’s profits, but create enough value for other people so they want to do with you instead of somebody else.

Source: Profit Wise Jeff Morrill

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/pebbles-balanced-pebbles-water-2020100/

A key point of the chapter is that you can make decisions in your business that contribute to building a just, sustainable society. A really nice feature of the book is the end of chapter Profit Wise Questions where the author summarises the thinking points of the chapter by posing 4-5 searching questions for the reader.

Would you be as successful as you are today if you had been born into an impoverished family?

Does your company engage in any business practices that make you uncomfortable? If so, can you change them entirely or showhow mitigate the negative effects

Who are the key stakeholders in your business? Are you satisfied with the way you balance their needs?

Do you effectively communicate to various audiences all the honourable things your company does so that you might benefit from their appreciation?

Proft Wise Question at end of Chapter 1 of Profit Wise by Jeff Morrill

Chapter 2 Defining Reality

The author explains that at Planet (his automative business), we summarise our reality in one word: undealership. We are the friendly, ethical, professional alternative to the typical dealership experience.

Former Herman Miller CEO Max De Pree said that the most important job of a leader is to define reality. Defining reality is telling the story of why your company exists, what you try to accomplish, how you go about doing it and who does the work. Your reality organises the values and mission of your organisation into a coherent story. It is even more important than your business strategy because it shapes every decision you make, including the business strategy itself.

Source: Chapter 2 Defining Reality Jeff Morrill Profit Wise

Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/-BcnpZHZJx4

The author explains that a clearly defined reality simplifies decision making. We have a standard that our adverstising will always be up front, with full disclosures on anything that might be confusing. This makes it pretty easy for any of our managers to develop and publish an advertisement without the need for bureaucratic procedures or department meetings. When we have a customer service dilemna, we consult our rule that we always do at least the right thing. If all your team members understand the guideline, they rarely need much coaching to help a customer. When created from healthy values, a clearly defined reality helps everyone on the team make better decisions in less time, with fewer mistakes.

Team Members who understand the “why” of the organisation have a much easier time with the “how”

Source: Chapter 2 of Profit Wise by Jeff Morrill

Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/dhGFLj3rI0Q

So the key Profit Wise Question at the end of chapter 2 is:

In one sentence or a few, what is your company’s reality?

Chapter 3 on Hiring is excellent – superb advice on how to build your team knowledge, skills, customer relationships, and ability to work together. A few cliches but also great advice on how to actually do it!

I also like the ‘no-nonsense’ definitions of the book. In chapter 4, Leading the Team, the author talks about maintaining a healthy culture.

What is culture? It’s what people do when you’re not looking. This is why management guru Peter Drucker said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. You can’t teach someone what to do in every situation, so your people will act on their values and training when making decisions.

Source: Profit Wise Chapter 4 Jeff Morrill

Image: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/photomontage-faces-photo-album-1514218/

The questions at the end of Chapter 4 are brilliant:

What is your definition of leadership?

Do you and your managers walk your own talk?

If everybody in your company acted the way you do, what kind of company would you have?

Would you want to work for someone like you? What qualities make you difficult? What can you do to isolate your people from those issues or negative emotions?

Do you have any jerks in leadership positions? (Hopefully you’re not one of them!) What are you doing about them?

Do you talk too much or not listen enough?

Are you and your managers mentoring the next generation of leaders in your company?

Jeff Morill Profit Wise Questions Chapter 5

The chapters on marketing (chapter 5) and quality customer service (chapter 6) are very good. At the end of chapter 6 we learn that “of all the team members recognised in customer surveys and online reviews, the dogs win the highest and most frequent praise!” Staff were allowed to bring their pets to work and it worked for the business as the dogs immediately put people at ease.

At the Hanover car dealership (Planet Subaru), the workforce includes a Labrador retriever named Blue, a mutt named Milo, and three more dogs charged with welcoming customers – and sometimes licking and snuggling them

Source: https://www.planetsubaru.com/best-workplaces-perks.htm

Chapter 8 on decision making is really interesting. It feeds into chapter 9, which is entitled, ‘Making the Most of Your Time’ in which the author discusses Steven Covey’s foursquare matrix based on the Dwight D. Eisenhower quote: “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are never important”, giving an example of the resulting chart.

URGENTNOT URGENT
IMPORTANTPhone system conked out
Upset Customer
Reviewing pay plans and salaries
Monitoring ad costs/ results
NOT IMPORTANTVendor stops by to show product
Customer calls to shoot the breeze
Checking social media
Rearranging showroom furniture
Example of Urgent v Important Matrix by Jeff Morill

Important/urgent tasks naturally rise to the top of your inbox but ideally, you should spend most of your time on important/non-urgent tasks: planning, organising, and leading. The more ‘not important’ tasks you can delegate or ignore, the better.

He also talks about the life cycle of a career which is depicted in the image below.

Lifecycle of a Career according to Jeff Morrill's ProfitWise: How to Make More Money in Business by Doing the Right Thing  published 2020 - graphic by Donncha Hughes, Business Advisor
Lifecycle of a Career by Jeff Morril ProfitWise

The Profit Wise questions arising from chapter 9 are about working smarter rather than harder:

What are you doing now that you really need to delegate? Why haven’t you already delegated these things?

Where are you in the lifecylce of your career? Have you adapted your business role to the unique demands of your current stage?

Do you spend most of your time in the urgent/important quadrant? If not, would a different work location for part of the day help to reduce distractions?

Are you buried by all the inputs of your life, such as emails, texts, memos, or meetings? What changes can you make to manage these in a healthier way?

Chapter 9 Profit Wise Questions by Jeff Morrill

And there is a terrific piece of advice in the tenth final chapter, Success for the Long Term, about savouring the moment as opposed to working hard today for delayed gratifcation.

Try to find at least one thing you can enjoy at work every day

Chapter 10 of Profit Wise by Jeff Morrill

Final word -3 great books

I would highly recommend The Mom Test for anyone interested in finding out how to do customer discovery, which is a modern and tech-friendly reference to primary market research or very simply how to talk to customers so that they don’t unwitting tell you what you want to hear.

Building a StoryBrand is a good book for anyone interested in clarifying their message in the market particularly to explain what they do as part of helping customers to buy from them.

While Profit Wise is a great book for anyone wishing to grow a successful business (often referred to as Scaling). And you need to read it early in the process so you can start on the correct path.

There are several common themes between the three books to include the importance of Communication in Business, the critical role of understanding your customers, having a clear identity for the business that your staff buy into, and how to help your staff to make good decisions. I suppose that the big link between the 3 books is the need to ask good questions, to ask good questions of your customers and more importantly ask searching questions of yourself and your team in terms of the type of business you want to lead and the difference you want to make in the world.

I hope that you enjoyed this rather long post, comments and social shares welcomes, and if you need assistance with anything mentioned in this article for your business, feel free to reach out to start a discussion. You can also check out my consultancy, mentoring and training services and of course my online training.

thanks Donncha (@donnchadhh on Twitter)

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