By Kevin Elliott
You are never going to know all you need to before starting your business. However, you should arm yourself as much as possible with knowledge from others who have been successful in the business world.
There is no better way to do that than reading.
I’ve read lots of business books. I’m sure you have too. Here are the two that rocked my world and completely changed the way I see it.
I wish I had read them before ever starting in business. They would have saved me a lot of trouble and money.
Positioning by Ries and Trout
If I could, I would make it a federal law that all business people must read Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout. It is that valuable.
If you want to know how our consumer minds really work—how we ACTUALLY MAKE REAL DECISIONS TO SPEND MONEY—Ries and Trout have it unlocked.
When you start a business, you must define a niche and stand out from the crowd in a hurry. People have to know why you are different and better instantly. Otherwise, you have no chance. Ries and Trout call that your “position” in the market (they coined the term “positioning”).
Too many of us entrepreneurs think we can wing this part of starting up and people will be attracted to our “quality,” our “price,” or our “branding.”
You have to take a position in the minds of your audiences. This book tells you how, step by step. Buy it, read it, live it.
Good in a Room by Stephanie Palmer
You can have the best business position in the world, but if you cannot communicate its value to people with money, you will fail.
Stephanie Palmer, the author of Good in a Room, was an executive at MGM studios where it was her job to listen to movie pitches. In her time with the studio, she heard over 3,000.
What she noticed was that many good stories never got “green lit” for production and many crap ideas did. She wondered why and started taking notes.
Palmer’s conclusion: The scripts that got made into movies were not necessarily better stories. However, the people that were pitching those stories were better at presenting than those with scripts that did not get made.
In other words, if you are “good in a room,” if you know how to present your ideas to money people, you have a higher chance of success.
Palmer took her notes, wrote this book, and became a consultant for creatives who suck at communicating their value.
Good in a Room is short and practical (she redefines the cursed “elevator speech” and even shows how to write an email). It is essential reading for entrepreneurs.
Don’t lose opportunities because you can’t use words.
Take Your Position and Communicate it Well
Every business person has favorite business texts. These are mine. The first teaches you how to make a business that is unique, the second teaches you how to tell us why.
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