Book Quote of the Week 036

Quote

Whatever your brand stands for, you have to deliver on the promise.  Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and deliver everything you promise.  That’s the only way you’ll ever control your brand.  And beware: brands always mean something.  If you don’t define what the brand means, a competitor will.

Richard Branson

 

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Richard Branson: Business Stripped Bare Notes & Quotes

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Notes/Quotes:
Richard Branson is someone who has always fascinated me. I love his story. I love what he’s done, how he’s done it and how he continues to do it. Following are some of the notes I took while reading one of his books, Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur.
There’s a lot of great stuff in this book. Highly recommend reading it and then reading it again. Make your own notes and occasionally refer back to them or come back here and read these notes again. There are a number of great things that you’ll be reminded of and will help spark new ideas to grow yourself and your business.
People
  • Avoid taking on someone else’s legacy
  • If you are in the mood to buy a new business – wait.  It can take a long time to change a business culture.  Are you sure you wouldn’t be better off starting one from scratch?
  • In business, someone who can stay cool and calm under pressure is an asset.
  • There’s no rule book.  the past is the past.  We can’t preserve it
  • small, compact companies are, generally better run
  • Put people together in a way that will have them bouncing ideas off each other, befriending each other, and taking care of each other, and suddenly they are coming to you, not with gripes and problems, but with solutions and great ideas.
  • Given the right conditions, exceptional people will reveal themselves
  • There’s another thing about teams: they don’t last forever
  • When the business lets you, shake things up a little
  • The best manager is someone who cares about people and who is genuinely interested and wants to bring out the best in them
  • A manager should basically be a considerate person who is as interested in the switchboard operator and the person who cleans the lavatories as he or she is in the fellow managers
  • A self-disciplined employee will have the patience to conduct routine business routinely, the talent to respond exceptionally to exceptional circumstances, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two
  • you can’t dictate attitudes from on high.  All you can do is hire the right people and empower them to sort things out as they happen.
  • If someone has paid you for something, and it goes wrong, being cagey or defensive will kill you stone dead
  • If someone has a lousy experience at your hands, they will warn people
  • If you are able to sort out your customers’ problems better than they expected, then they will be your loyal friend for life
Brand
  • Befriending one’s enemy is a good rule for business – and life
  • A brand always means something, and ultimately you can control the meaning of your brand only through what you deliver to customers
  • Turnover can be huge, but it is the profit margin that matters
  • I learned another key fact about running a business: try to have a plan B
  • Publicity is absolutely critical.  You have to get your brand out and about
  • A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a full-page ad, and a damn sight cheaper
  • it is sometimes better to follow a pioneer than be a pioneer
  • Maintaining a consistent tone in the face of rapid growth was a key requirement
  • You can’t restructure culture.  If you’ve burnt people, if you’ve killed their enthusiasm or commitment, then changing office space or putting a few more dollars in their pocket will not unduly affect the culture that exists
  • Whatever your brand stands for, you have to deliver on the promise.  Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and deliver everything you promise.  That’s the only way you’ll ever control your brand.  And beware: brands always mean something.  If you don’t define what the brand means, a competitor will.
Delivery
  • Don’t waste your precious time.  Phone calls and emails can eat your day.  Don’t let them.  No one will think less of you for getting to the point.
  • I advise every owner of a company to keep a notebook and jot down the things that need doing
  • You must never forget that every change ushers in unforeseen consequences
  • Success one day does not give you a free lunch every day thereafter
  • We’ve started, so we’ll finish
  • Never imagine that you are immune from big events.  Make your small decisions in the light of the bigger picture, and you are at least pointing your craft in the right direction to ride out any storm
  • One business mantra remains embedded in my brain – protect the downside
  • Remember to communicate, and pay attention to detail
  • Don’t be afraid of changing your bank if they are unreasonable.  Banks are not for life.  But don’t put it off till the last minute
  • Out of recession, new ideas and new business often grow
  • If you are a late entrant to the market, you need to be radically different to win over customers.
  • If you rip off the customer, then you will destroy the integrity of the brand
  • When you’re first thinking through an idea, it’s important not to get bogged down in complexity
  • You can never go too far wrong by thinking like a customer who’s new to the business
  • It’s easy – too easy, in fact – to relinquish your responsibility for your idea to experts.  This is almost always a mistake, because experts are only experts in their field.  They’re not experts in your idea.  At this stage, the only person qualified to assess your idea is you
  • You need to flesh out your own ideas.  You need to do your own research.  You need to take responsibility for how you plan to turn an idea into action
  • Keep a cool head.  You’re in business to deliver change, and if you succeed, the chances that  no one will get hurt are virtually zero.  This is the rough and tumble of business.  Be sportsmanlike, play to win, and stay friends with people wherever possible.  If you do fall out with someone, ring them a year later and take them out to dinner. Befriend your enemies.
  • Being a well funded company puts you at a tremendous advantage
 
Learning from Mistakes and Setbacks
  • Never do anything that means you can’t sleep at night
  • You can’t protect yourself against the unexpected, so you need to keep your house in as good an order as you can.  If disaster strikes, you don’t want to find yourself doing twelve things at once and misprioritising them in public.  It’s vital, therefore, that you take control of your internal business risks – the ones you can influence.
  • I think it is counterproductive to be ruthless.  You’ve got to treat people as you would yourself, or better
  • You definitely should get the best people around you when confronted with a serious problem.  Don’t try to deal with it all by yourself.  Don’t be afraid to seek help and advice.
  • If you drive down the retail price fast enough when you are the dominant player, you never allow anyone else to catch up because they can’t make enough money.  It requires the dominant player to be brave, because it can mean cannibalizing your existing sales by dropping the retail price.  (i.e. Apple and the iPod)
  • Protect your reputation.  Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
  • If you’re hurt, lick your wounds and get up again.  If you’ve given it your absolute best, it’s time to move forward.
Innovation
  • The best, most solid way out of a crisis in a changing market is through experiment and adaption.
  • Innovation is what you get wen you capitalize on luck, when you get up from behind your desk and go and see where ideas and people lead you.
Entrepreneurs and Leadership
  • True leadership must include the ability to distinguish between real and apparent danger.
  • You need to understand the challenges to your enterprise and face up to them.  Equally, you have to resist the temptation to overreact at the first sign of trouble.
  • Every business plan should include: “This company will have lots and lots of parties and social get-togethers.”
  • The creator’s job is to find someone with expertise who understands the vision and is prepared to follow the path.
  • If you can keep the business relatively small, people will know each other within the organisation and feel like part of the team.
  • Decent leadership is about explaining clearly and unemotionally why a decision has been taken.
  • Failure is not giving things a go in the first place.
  • Only a fool never changes his mind.
  • DON’T BRING ME YOUR PROBLEMS – BRING ME THE SOLUTIONS
Social Responsibility
  • It is possible to turn a profit while making the world a better place.
  • What can you do to make a difference?
  • One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it.  If you do that, you will double the danger.  But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.  Never run away from anything.  Never! – Sir Winston Churchill
  • Don’t forget to listen
Epilogue
  • It is important to look for one’s strengths – to try to excel at what you’re good at.
  • What you’re bad at actually doesn’t interest people, and it certainly shouldn’t interest you.
  • So don’t let your limits knock your self-confidence
  • Success for me is whether you have created something that you can be really proud of.

Get this book and others from Richard Branson HERE, or Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks and listen to his first two books for free!

The Aladdin Factor – Go For It!

Scared man isolated over white.
Cold calls can be tough. Yes, there are some of you out there that it’s no big deal and you don’t even think twice about it, but for a lot of people, including me, cold calls can be tough. Just the thought of the call begins a narrative of stories in your mind. Who do I ask for when I call? What if they say no? What will I say?
Maybe it’s easier to just not make the call and save yourself the stress and embarrassment, right?  Well, not in the life of an entrepreneur or someone in any type of sales position.
I recently was in this position while I was trying to make some major decisions for one of our companies. I had thought through some scenarios and the idea came to me that there might be an opportunity to collaborate with one of our competitors to create a win-win for both of us. But my thoughts tried to sabotage the idea. “I don’t even know who to talk to. Do I just call their toll free number and ask for the boss? What if they think it’s a dumb idea?”
Any time that I’m in a situation like this I think of a book that really changed my life as an entrepreneur. The Aladdin Factor by Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield. The principle they teach that I find most helpful in this type of situation is to basically not care what the other side thinks of you when, if the worse scenario in your mind happens, nothing in your life changes.

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If you make the call and get a NO. Nothing has changed in your life. You didn’t have whatever you were asking for before. You asked and you don’t have it now. So nothing has changed by asking, so who cares. Sure, if you don’t have “it” right now, you. still don’t have “it” if you don’t ask and nothing has changed in that situation either. But if you don’t ask at all, you are not giving the opportunity for a YES. So go ahead and make that call.
Back. to my story. I made the call and told the lady who answered that I didn’t know who I should ask for but explained why I was calling.  Turns out that it was a great action to take. The deal we are working to put together is nothing like I had imagined when I was first making the call.  In fact it is significantly different.  But in the end it’s looking like it will be better for both of us and I’m having an opportunity to work with some great business people that I would have never known if I didn’t make the call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anticipation

Success Requires Persistence

One of Henrie Ford’s most inspiring stories comes from when he decided that he wanted to produce his famous V-8 motor. The design was put on paper but all of his engineers agreed that it was impossible to cast an eight cylinder engine block in one piece. To this, Ford said, “produce it anyway.” So his engineers went to work. Months passed by with no success. Soon it had been a full year and the engineers answer to Ford was that it was still “Impossible.”
 napoleon_hill_persistence
He told his engineers to stay on the job no matter how long it took. He wanted it and he was going to have it! Then one day as if by a stroke of magic, they discovered the secret and Ford had his V-8 motor.
There is so much to be learned from this story. One lesson could be about desire. Henry Ford knew exactly what he wanted and he was determined to get it. But I want to talk about Persistence.

per·sist·ence
pərˈsistəns/
firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Henry Ford knew exactly what he wanted and he wasn’t’ going to stop until he had it. In Napoleon Hill’s book, Think & Grow Rich , Persistence is the Eighth Step Towards Riches. He says that the “lack of persistence is one of the major causes of failure.” “Without persistence, you will be defeated, even before you start. With persistence you will win.”
 
To be successful we need to know exactly what we want and have a plan to attain it. We have to be willing to learn from our failures along the way and adjust our plan. But most of all, we need persistence. Without persistence, when we are faced with defeat we will quite. With persistence, we will pick ourselves up and keep on trying. And Win!

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Create Your Own Path

A few days ago we were recording and Entrepreneur Next Door podcast with Steve Christensen from Novo Watch. I had asked him a question about his entrepreneurial journey and he made the comment that from a young age he wanted to create his own path.
novo-watch
Whether you are an entrepreneur or are working for someone else, I think that this is something great that everyone should aspire for. Use your skills and talents to create the path that you want to take. Life is way too short to be doing things that you don’t want to be doing. Figure out what it is that you want and create the path to get there.
As an employer, I know that these are the types of employees that I would like to have working with me. Those that know what they want and are working to make it happen. If that means for them to get to where they want to end up my company is only a stepping stone and they will eventually have to move on, I will fully support that. Of course I would never want to lose a great employee. But I’d rather have someone that is great and ends up moving on because of their personal goals and aspirations that did great things with us while we were together than have a life-long employee without any drive that is just showing up each day to punch the clock and get through the day.
What path are you on? Comment below.
Good luck!
Watch for this and other great podcast at www.enextdoor.co