Book club is a series reviewing business books. You can check out the Book Club tag for more reviews. - Patrick
WHO SHOULD READ IT:
If you're already a business owner or hoping to be one someday, this is a book for you (as you might have guessed...). Alternatively, if you're a college grad looking for a new career, this could also be for you. There is some great discussion about how companies are ran on the inside that would be of great benefit. I wish I had an insight book like the when I was graduating college, mostly to give me an idea of what to look for.
Entreleadership is an all-in business book; from hiring and firing to being a leader and making tough decisions. Depending on your experience, this book will either be a solid refresher course or it could be a total crash course in Business 101, from a seasoned (and successful) expert.
MY KEY TAKEAWAYS:
- The way your business runs is an extension of how your run your own life.
- Take the time to think and plan, both long and short-term. Doing this will not only create a vision and direction for the company, but will also make some decision-making easier.
- The Momentum Theorem (more below)
Don't worry, this isn't a Christian view on how to run a business. And you won't get beaten up with a bunch of Christian views and bible versus. It's written by Dave Ramsay, a rather notable Christian finance guru. He's had more than one successful business venture, and this book follow his Entreleadership Master training series. There's tons of good nuggets in here, even if you've never been to church. And to be quite honest, I think the title doesn't fit the book. It's not all about begging a leader, but running a successful business (which, admittedly, requires solid leadership).
Jump in. Take notes. And enjoy the read.
It starts off as you might expect. Jumping right into the definition of a Leader and an Entrepreneur. Then it mashed those up and leads us right into Entreleadership. Then we talk a little about how that effects an organization. This is the first time you'll see Dave reference passion - it's a golden thread, you'll notice.
Next we get right into dissecting dreams, vision and goals. Individually, but also how they correlate. There are some great antidotes in there ("feasting on a duck at dinner starts with a morning dream of how great duck tastes"). Dave uses lots of unfamiliar antidotes, which I love. He's from a more 'creative story telling' part of the country. And it shines through in his writing. We also get into goals. The all-too-infamous goal setting process. Probably not going to surprise anyone here, but we talk about the 'wheel of life' and the process for creating good goals.
This is also a good time to mention that Dave has put together lots of downloadable forms for this book. It follow along and the reader can download a series of worksheets that mirror what the book is talking about.
Next we get into decision making. Another cornerstone of running a business. There are LOTS of tough decisions to be made. But employing the 'squirrel theology' for decision making is absolutely detrimental. Dave discusses a few ways to handle these times, like having your own Little Black Book of of people you can turn to for help. And forcing more (and better) options - if you don't like your current options, FIND MORE. Or try breaking the problem down into smaller pieces.
The Momentum Theorem - focused intensity over time multiplied by God equals unstoppable momentum. You can obviously expect Dave to break this down point by point. There is also a great story from his own business to demonstrate this. And this takes us right into marketing, along with a breakdown of the business lifecycle (introduction, growth, maturity, declining). There's also a breakdown of Dave's 'Marketing Stew'. You'll see passion rear its head again here- and it's ingredient one for a reason.
This next section of the book takes us on a whirlwind of case studies of people who started companies in their kitchens and inadvertently made a million dollars selling strollers on eBay. I personally love these stories. It always gives me a sense of, ‘if they did it, why can’t I’?!
Dave also dives into the age-old discussion of when to quit your day job. He has some simple but sharp points here - first, how much replacement income are you already making and second, how is that income trending? These hit pretty close to home for me, since I recently left my high-paying job to run Frontline full time. I would echo his two points in a heartbeat. We also see passion here again (surprise, surprise!).
The next chapter, in Dave’s words, is probably the most important part of the entire book - hiring and firing. He covers the 12 components to a good hire. They are:
Dave also goes on to explain his firing process in great detail. There are some really good insight on the ways they do things. I would definitely consider it all common sense, but it falls into a category if 'things we know we should do but don't do it'. It's not easy and it's always uncomfortable. And it should be.
Next, Dave gets into sales. You're probably not going to fall out if your chair when you get to this part, but there are some good antidotes supporting his points. It all comes down to this: treat others how you'd like to be treated, and you close the sale.
And what 'business' book would be complete without a section on finance? If you've ever taken on of Dave's Financial Peace courses or read the book, you know what to expect here. It's a great refresher, thought. And he reminds us (as his wife reminded him) that we should run our business finances the same way we run our personal finances. And if your personal finances are in shambles, we'll, guess what...
Next is where this book gets a little 'corporate'. Well, probably more like anti-corporate. Things like annual reviews, meetings, emails, communication are all parts f rubbing a business. Having recently come from a VERY corporate firm, reading this section is like a breath of fresh air. If I knew companies like this existed when I was graduating college, I would have sought them out. And as a result, I will be sharing this with anyone I come in contact with that is looking for a new career.
The next few chapters are all the really dry, boring, necessities of business; stuff like compensation, healthy benefits, commissions, and so on. All great info, but it's tough to make it exciting to read.
And then we get to the rope. And wonderful story about raising kids (and employees!) and a lovely visual representation. I'm not going to spoil it for you, though!
And then there's the concluding paragraphs of the entire book. Probably my favorite part, because it acknowledges the multi-faceted approach to putting the book together. Which, of you remember, is kinda how I started this whole post. So I love that Dave nods to the reader and the fact that it was a hodge-podge of all things business. Well done, Dave. Excellent read.
A note about the Book Club process: I'm always looking for good reads, and I'm a non-fiction kind of guy. There are two things I want you, the reader, to do: 1) Let's chat in the comments below about if you liked the book, want to read it, or have any other insights, and 2) tell me if you know of a book that should make my reading list. Thanks, Patrick