“People think focus is saying yes to the things you got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas there are.” — Steve Jobs
“If you want freedom, practice discipline. The people that I know that have the most freedom in their life practice discipline.”
This list is at the end of a previous post, Review Notes from Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, but I wanted to add it here to keep it separate for reference.
Many of these top 17 books are some that I have already read. But for those that I have not, they are next on my list. If you’re interested in any of them click on their title or join Audible and listen to them. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
In addition to this list, there are a number of other great books listed in Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss. Check it out, it’s a great book.
As I have been spending some time studying new books and reviewing others that we have previously used in our Kodiak Mountain Stone Education Plan I have enjoyed learning new things and refreshing my mind with things I have been taught in the past. Tonight I was reviewing my notes from a book that I loved and we had used in one of our education meetings in the past, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money, by Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
Thou Shall Prosper is a well written book giving a practical approach to making money and creating wealth based on the principles of ancient Jewish wisdom. Lapin outlines his ten commandments of making money that Jews have used for centuries to be successful in business and finance. Whatever your faith or background, you will be able to benefit from the thoughts and ideas outlined in this book. He teaches that a person’s quest for profit and wealth is inherently moral. In our world today there’s often a negative view toward people who are trying to get ahead and make money. Just try telling someone that you’re learning what it takes to be rich, to be a multi-millionaire and watch how they react. Some will be positive and supportive but many, if not most, will look at you as greedy, selfish and maybe crazy. But the fact is that you cannot make money without benefiting other people. He says, “the only real way to achieve wealth is to attend diligently to the needs of others and to conduct oneself in an honourable and trustworthy fashion.”
The Second Commandment
Extend the Network of Your Connectedness to Many People
Today I’m going to focus on The Second Commandment where Lapin teaches the importance of networking and our replationships with people. He teaches that you need to meet a lot of people from all different areas of life. He also explains that cities offer the most opportunity for making wealth. It makes sense that you have a better chance of succeeding in business or with wealth if you go to where people are. You can have the best business in town with 100% of market share, but if there are only 500 people in your town and they are your entire market, well, you see your limitations.
Our company, Kodiak Mountain Stone, is a perfect example of this for me. We started Kodiak Mountain Stone in Cardston, Alberta, Canada and continue to have our head office located there. The support we have had from the community for our business has exceeded my expectations and I’m grateful for such tremendous support. But Cardston is a community with a population under 4,000 people. To grow our company we had to extend our reach far beyond the boundaries of Cardston. When you look at some of the cities we sell in now, if we have a very small market share of that community it could be much larger than 100% market share of Cardston. You have to be where your customers are.
As you look to expand your network you will be successful if you focus more on building genuine relationships rather than looking for people that can do something for you.
“On the face of it, this book’s Second Commandment advises you to build genuine and sincere relationships with as many people as possible with no thought of reward. Beneath the surface, it informs you that, paradoxically, reward will follow in proportion to the lack of self-interest you projected while forming the relationships in the first place.”
At Kodiak Mountain Stone I’ve stressed to my team that people want to do business with other people who they like and trust. In Thou Shall Prosper we are taught that if we succeed in business it will be because people like us. Everyone has a choice who they deal with and it’s through your actions that people will decide if they want to deal with you, and your business, or not.
Thou Shall Prosper shares a great perspective on building wealth and money. Daniel Lapin shares some excellent insight on the topic. This is a great book that I would recommend reading but I would also recommend re-reading it, making notes and reviewing them often. The ideas shared in this book will help you in your business and professional lives.
You can listen to this book free Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
I recently watched an interview Tony Robbins did with a high powered investor for Tony’s new book, MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom It was interesting to listen to how much emphasis was placed on defence. This has had me thinking about defence over the past few days since listening to the interview.
When I think of the importance of defence, my first reaction is to think of my sporting experiences. From playing to coaching defence is always stressed. Defence can win or lose a game and all good players and coaches recognize this. But how does it impact us in business?
Competition in business forces companies to constantly engage in both offensive and defensive strategies. To grow a business a company either has to take market share from a competitor or create a new market. In the case of taking market share from competitors, companies have to have their defensive strategies in place to maintain that share of the market and fight off competition.
This topic could head in so many different directions when you are talking about defensive strategies. We could continue talking about defensive strategies to protect market share from existing competitors, new competitors, big box stores coming to market, etc., etc., etc. But what has had me thinking about defensive strategies recently is market conditions.
Our company, Kodiak Mountain Stone, operates in both Canada and the US. Our head office and main business run in Alberta where we have a store in Lethbridge and one in Calgary in addition to multiple dealers in our network. Last week the Bank of Canada spoke about the economy. They addressed the low price of oil that has a big impact on Alberta. There are a lot of jobs in Alberta that are dependent on oil and low prices have a huge impact on those jobs. They also addressed the impact that the low interest rates that we have seen for a number of years have had on consumer debt levels. Then they addressed housing prices and indicated that they could be overvalued as much as 10% to 30%. There’s a lot of information there that when you analyze it, consider the potential impact they have on each other and consider the impact that they could have on the economy and directly on the industry we are involved in, it could be scary.
I like to believe that I’m an optimist and trust that things will just work out if you do your part. I also try not to spend much time watching or listening to news because the reality is that I can’t do anything about the price of oil or the fact that homes are overvalued. But in business, while we need to be optimistic, we need to be realists as well so we can prepare both our offensive and defensive strategies. And though I think that we should avoid watching or listening to as much of the news as possible, we need to be aware of what has a personal impact on us or our companies.
So what is the defensive strategy here?
Good, Better, Best
First of all I think you need to have a good handle on projections. For me, that means working close with my CFO. Having a great numbers person to work with is vital in business and I’m fortunate to have one of the best. I’m not a big believer in long term projections. When I first started in business I had to have my 1, 3, 5 and 10 year projections figured out each year. But I soon learned that the further out our projections got, the more time we were wasting. Now that I have some more business experience behind me, I know that I cannot predict accurately where we are going to be ten years from now. We can project three to five years from now but with my experience even in that time frame our company could take a complete 180. But I’m still a believer in projections and personally feel that you should be figuring out your projections for at least the next 3-5 years.
Figuring out your projections should include three scenarios. You need to figure out your good, better and best projections.
Best is where your company will be if things really go your way and your company does even better than expected.
Better refers to the scenario of what you actually think will happen.
Good could be labeled worst by a pessimist because this is the scenario when nothing goes as planned and the wheels fall off.
From a defence point of view, the Good Scenario is the most important scenario to consider. This is the scenario when nothing goes right. Sales are down, expenses are up, problems are mounting. None of us want this scenario to happen, but what if it does. This is the scenario that you must spend time analyzing. If this happens, what will you do? What will your defensive strategy be? How will you survive?
Defence wins games. Being prepared for the worse case scenario and knowing what you will do it you are faced with it is your number one defensive strategy. Once you know what that strategy will be, get out there and work as hard as you can to achieve the Better or Best scenario results.