Any Industry Think Tank of any real inequality indeed must study the written information on business and commerce, economics and money, and marketing and production. Without relevant informational intake, the think tank can not perform, predict or plan. To serve a purpose massive amounts of information must be collected from all sorts of sources including books.
In order to illustrate this concept, let us look at what one Think Tank, the Online Think Tank and the business books they reviewed this week. First we will briefly discuss in one paragraph the book itself and then a small thought provoking set of questions and comments to shed light on the method of their madness – let's begin:
"Human Relations in Small Business" by the SBA – 1969. This old short booklet by the SBA tells of how to hire employees and mind you this is the basics before all the legal law changes that have shaped into the present field of Human Resources. The book also describes how to get along with employees, how to do training, orientate newbies and continue the personnel relations to maintain optimum performance levels.
Without a proper foundation in human resources all the computer software programs in the world will not guarantee success of the company. Thus, older books on this subject are paramount. This book about human relations is a huge part of the equation for employee performance, hiring and personnel relations. Does your company have a strategy, does it understand the people part? Are you managing for performance or compliance – do you understand the basics, history and theory of the subject. Human relations and human resources and building human capital or organizational capital shows that having the proper philosophy is 80% of the difference between success and failure in that venue.
"A Handbook of Small Business Finance" by the SBA – 1964. So you ask what was small business like almost 45 years ago? Well, it was a lot different, with less regulation, but believe it or not the fundamentals were actually the same. Sometimes these old books are worth a read as they help shed all the complications and details to get a better fundamental understanding of things. Personally, I have always been an advocate of learning business from our grandparents and listening to them, reading and understanding what they read, how they learned about business, because then you can understand why they were successful and some of the tiger traps in business that have to do with the basics, rather than the minutia and overwhelming details.
You know when everything goes to hell in a modern aircraft, you have to go back to basics, fly the "airplane first" and then deal with all the details, the foundation and integrity of a building is much more important than the trim or façade . This small book starts out discussing the financial aspect including financial statements, Ratio Analysis, breakeven points, managing and depreciation of assets, borrowing, credit, long-tern financing, equity-financing and taking the business to the next step. If you do not care about the money, you will never have any and your business is doomed from the start, it is too bad so many small businesses fail – it is too bad more people do not learn the fundamentals.
"Guerrilla Marketing Excellence – The Fifty Golden Rules for Small Business Success" by Jay Conrad Levinson – 1993. This book is considered a classic of the 90's and "Guerrilla Marketing Series" sold 10s of millions of copies. To many scrappy entrepreneurs all this book looks second nature, but indeed that is because most hard-core, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants entrepreneurs did read one of Levinson's books. Building your local brand, getting referrals, working the chamber of commerce mixers, helping in the community, fancy catchy flyers, eye-catching signage and super networking all described at length. For a small business person who has never really been a balls-to-the-wall entrepreneur, you will most likely have to read it chapter by chapter and then think on each one. We recommend this book.
You can have the best product or service in the world but if no one knows about it, your company will never reach its full potential. Word-of-mouth is part of marketing and you need to treat it as such if you wish to succeed. Learning how to achieve robust word-of-mouth or talk of the town projection, it pays to learn all of the possibilities and use what works.
"Should You Quit Before You're Fired?" by Paul Zane Pilzer – 1993. Paul is also the author of Unlimited Wealth and Other People's Money. This book describes the 20th Century US economic history from a Network Marketing perspective, making the case for network marketing. It also makes some startling predictions, for the road ahead in retailing, some of which we are now seeing, some of which we did not see come to fruition.
Network Marketing is one way to earn a living or market a product. No, it is not perfect; nor is it easy, it takes hard work. Whether you like network marketing or not, you should understand how it works and why it can work. Many marketing programs are based on similar types of strategies in one form or another. Should not you know them all?
"10 Minute Guide to Motivating People" by Marshall J. Cook – 1977. So how do you motivate people in such a way that it actually works both short and long-term. How do you channel that human energy to create a constant atmosphere of peak performance? Compliance is a necessity in business, but the book warns not to manage for compliance, rather manage for performance while complying with the law and minimizing unnecessary bureaucracy in your organization that exists – give power to the people. Today we call this "empowerment" back in 1977, they called it managing and motivating for performance. The book explains how to talk the talk, walk the walk and maintain a vision of clarity.
Cook warnings of problems and concerns when in meetings and committees and how to maintain motivation. The discussion and topics in the book range from rewards, coaching, stimulating self and allowing for mistakes during time constraints, and stress periods. Marshall tells why the "boss of the year" title must be avoided like the plague and how the team and individuals must know that it is about them, about trust, strength and allowing the employees to feel proud about what they are doing.
"How it All Began – Origins of the Modern Economy" by WW Rostow – 1975. Why is it important to study economics of days gone by? What good does it do to study the World economy back in 1780-1820, what good could this possibly do? Well any economics professor would tell you that it does matter, it matters quite a bit.
Have you ever considered the modern economy and its intense size and inter-related attributes? Imagine in the beginning, the micro economic and regional beginnings. Imagine early trade as societies and civilizations grow? These historical events and studies are of supreme value to understanding what economics is and how it really works.
As you can see, a Think Tank in Industry or one, which discusses business subjects needs to gather information, read books and consider the implications of how the wheels of commerce turn. Sincerely, Lance.