This guide is packed with tips to help entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small business owners or managers.
I’ve read over 100 books in the last year and want to share everything I’ve learned so it can help others achieve their goals and success.
Who’s This Post For?
•Small businesses, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs looking for marketing takeaways.
•Marketers and business managers hoping to increase productivity and clarify their message.
74 Actionable Tips and Takeaways from Over 30 Books
1. Cultivate all relationships. Follow what companies have been up to and mention their accomplishments or news when you reach out again.
Follow up is key to a successful business. It always helps to have a reason to reach out. This could be an award, an announcement the company made, or a helpful resource that would benefit them.
2. Efficiency is useless if you spend it on the wrong things.
It’s a big mistake to do something that can be eliminated more efficiently.
3. Define a short to-do list. Pick 2 mission critical tasks to do for the day.
Do those first in the day. We have the most willpower in the morning. Don’t put off the most important tasks until the end of the day. Get the important tasks done first.
4. If the doctor told you to only work 2 hours a week, what would you do?
How would you spend your time? Make sure you’re prioritizing your key tasks.
Tim Ferris, the 4-hour workweek.
5. Task switching drains energy, energy is a finite resource.
Multitasking is a lie. Trying to juggle multiple things at once (switching from email, to writing documents, to organizing our desk) will drain your energy and kill your productivity.
6. Pick one task and focus like crazy until it’s done.
While it can be good to take very short breaks every hour, focusing on completing a task with laser focus can lead to enormous gains in productivity.
We tend to see roadblocks or projects and initiatives as failures. The entire process is a part of the road to success. Our failures and experiences will ultimately lead to success.
8. 20 percent of the things you do give you 80 percent of the results. And 1 percent gives you 50 percent of results.
This is the very famous Pareto Principle.It holds true in nature, economics, and a many other areas.
9. Find referral partners, especially people who don’t feel like they’re directly competing with you.
10. Host events and workshops.
11. People buy from those that:
•Are similar to them.
•Pay them compliments.
•Cooperate toward mutual goals.
12. Don’t propose coffee or lunch in initial cold e-mail, earn their time when prospecting.
Wait for a people to send a positive signal before going for the ask. You want people to show interest and to earn their time before asking for a commitment like coffee or lunch.
13. Let people know I help businesses or customers with these types of issues all the time.
Give people confidence that you’ve solved problems similar to theirs in the past.
14. Ask people why it’s not a good fit right now. Try to get honest feedback on why people say no.
This will help you understand what is working and what is not working in the future. It will also help you figure out the best type of clients to reach out to. Understanding who is the most likely to do business with you as well as the message which elicits a positive response is key.
15. Devote at least 4 hours a week to new client prospecting.
Prospecting is often is pushed off or isn’t high on the priority list. Make sure it gets done and is a high priority.
16. Try before you buy is effective if you can implement it.
If there is any way that you can allow people to have a free trial, do it. People can be hesitant to use their money toward a product or service they’ve never tried before.
17. Payment plans can allow new opportunities to work with people.
When you have a high ticket product or service, payment plans are a must. People often can’t drop thousands of dollars all at once, but they may be able to handle $500 a month.
18. A big challenge is getting people to do what they need to do in order to get the most out of your service.
People need to use a treadmill to actually get results with it. What resources can you provide for people to help them actually achieve results?
19. Having an operations manual is important.
This should document how different processes are done and overall standard operating procedures. This is not only helpful for employees to follow, the process of putting it into writing makes it run smoother.
20. The mission of your company is very important.
A mission statement is incredibly valuable. If your business has a common mission that people believe in, a mission that excites and motivates your employees, you’ll have a much higher chance of success. Many are vague and generic. Make it specific and meaningful.
The ultimate goal is to create a business that can run itself. Creating effective systems and procedures makes things run smoothly and effectively. You don’t want everyone to rely on you to approve every little thing.
22. If you take on toxic customers, you’ll generate polluted revenue.
Not all money is created equal. If you have customers sucking away all your time, money, resources, and sanity, it will impact your growth.
23. Your business may be plagued by vampires.
They consume a disproportioned amount of resources compared with your average consumer. They always need to talk to the CEO, aren’t satisfied with existing resources, they suck the blood out of a business.
24. Think of the last referral you gave your friend for a movie or restaurant. Were you giving your friend a recommendation as a favor to the movie director or restaurant owner? You just wanted to help your friend.
Giving referrals make you look and feel good. Find a way to cultivate this when getting referrals. A good referral helps out both parties.
25. A proper, low-pressure way to ask for referrals:
Tell people: Most of our new business comes from referrals. This means rather than paying for advertising to get new clients, we pass the cost savings directly to you. We typically get about 3 referrals from each new client.When we’re finished working together and you’re 100 percent satisfied with the work we’ve done, I’d really appreciate it if you could keep in mind 3 or more people who we could also help.
If you want to know some techniques to reach existing customers using video, check out my post here.
26. Attend trade shows and conferences.
If you can’t afford to attend, you can always stay at the same hotel where the conference is happening.
27. What is the main benefit of your product or service in one page? One paragraph? One sentence?
Don’t just list features. What result will your customers achieve?
28. Do bills and deposits at the same time twice a month.
It’s easy to fall behind. It’s important to put this process in the calendar. It needs to be a part of your routine.
29. Things tend to take 10 times the effort that we think they will. We have to increase our effort, not decrease the target.
We are incredibly bad at estimating how long it will take to accomplish a goal. Especially if it’s something brand new, we need to focus like crazy and expect we’ll face new challenges.
30. Continue to make specific goals. Write down everything that you need to do to meet that goal.
Getting goals in writing is incredibly important. Making a list of specific steps that will help us reach the goal makes the process so much easier and less intimidating.
31. People buy why you do what you do as much as what you do.
What’s your company’s greater mission, greater cause, greater ambitions. People will be much more willing to get behind a company with a mission is to build 100,000 homes in Africa, versus a more general housing company or charity.
Clarify why you do what you do, and find a compelling, story driven way to convey this to your target market.
32. We win hearts before minds.
People buy emotionally and then justify logically. Without emotional convincing someone and making them feel, its hard to convince people.
34. See if you can have on an uninterrupted hour of brainstorming every few days.
Focus hard, no distractions or obligations. Spend time on the big picture. Look into 100 options before deciding on one and then focus on that one hard.
35. Sleep is crucial, for productivity, for creativity, for vision.
We may think that we’re able to accomplish more when we get 4 hours of sleep, yet study after study shows it doesn’t lead to accomplishing more. By getting a good night’s sleep we can be more creative.
36. Make sure to get testimonials from your biggest and best clients.
Testimonials are great for generating business. Getting testimonials from your largest clients shows a higher level of authority and trust.
37. This is what I charge. Are you okay with that?
Not everyone can afford your services. Not everyone is a great fit. Don’t write up an official quote and bid until you’ve established the correct price range.
38. If we did this and hit it out of the ballpark, what else could we do for you?
You can often sell more to your happiest customers and clients. There’s often many amazing services that you can provide.
39. Find out where your clients’ needs and your genius intersect
Spend as much time on the work that you’re the very best at. Try to find where their needs overlap with your skills and passion.
40. Tell the client that no amount of research you can do can give you their level of experience and knowledge. Let them know you’d love to learn about it from them.
While it’s good to do a bit of homework before meeting with a potential customer, you don’t need to go crazy.
One is one of the riskiest numbers for a business. Relying too heavily on one client could mean the business dies if that client goes away.
42. Always be aware of sales, cash flow, and incoming leads.
These are 3 of the most important Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Keep up and be aware since they are the most crucial for success.
43. Be careful, your business can quickly become something you don’t know or like. It can be hard to correct course.
Make sure you build a business that you want to be in. It’s easy for the company culture to derail and it’s hard to correct the course afterwards. Make sure you attract the type of client and projects that fit with your vision of the future.
44. It’s better to have 7 failures and 3 successes than 0 failures and 0 successes.
There is no path to success without failure.
45. It often takes 8-10 years to make an “overnight success”.
We never see the challenges and the struggles that people go through to achieve success. It always appears like they came out of nowhere and got lucky.
46. Look at 2-3 star Amazon reviews for a lot of content on peoples’ frustrations and challenges with various products.
Reviews can help you figure out needs in the market and areas where your product or service can excel. One star or five star may be fake or biased. However, 2-3 star reviews tend to be the most honest and informative.
48. Of all forms of motivation, the most powerful is progress.
Seeing tangible process is important. That’s why it’s valuable to include tasks that you can actually finish in your to do list.
49. Frequently close your eyes and ask yourself…What’s important RIGHT NOW?”
It’s easy to get caught in the busy work. We need to prioritize the aspects that are the most crucial to our success.
50. Working out can mean increased productivity.
Busy people often say “I don’t have time to exercise”. What if 20 minutes could lead to increased productivity throughout the day.
51. Carefully plan for things that can’t be controlled. Plan for market downturn.
It’s easy to assume things will continue on the same path. If our company is growing, we’ll assume that it will continue to grow. However, we need to plan ahead and make a rainy day fund. A market downturn or other events completely out of our control can easily wreck a business.
52. Create ideas that can spread.
What kind of ideas can impact many people? Find something that can easily be shared online. What ideas do you have that can get the most people excited.
53. We need a core number of super fans; people who love and recommend our products so often that they are like free salespeople.
Kevin Kelly’s article 1,000 true fans is a must read. It demonstrates the way to build a business off 1,000 true fans.
Consumers and businesses are more skeptical than ever. Absolutely nothing about your online presence, advertising, or posts should remind people of a scam.
55. Productivity should not equal self-worth.
We are more than our productivity. While it’s important to be productive to grow our business, our productivity shouldn’t be tied to self-worth.
56. What’s keeping people from copying my idea?
Does my idea have an element people can’t copy? Is there a way to get a patent.
57. Subscribe to mailing lists of people in your niche.
What do they send? What’s their upsell? When do they offer it?
What are the top books and Kindle books in your sector/niche?
58. Paint a picture in your messaging. Get them to picture the phone ringing off the hook with ideal clients.
Get people to imagine what it’s like to have the result you’ll achieve for them.
59. It often takes 7 touch points to make a sale.
60. The more successful you become the more criticism you’ll receive.
Every successful person receives a ton of criticism. It’s only those without following and interest in their business that receive no criticism.
61. Show that you have the interests of the customer in mind.
Truly care about your customers and their success. Place an emphasis on their needs and their desired outcomes. Be sure to convey what end results you can do for THEM in your sales and outreach.
62. Demonstrate that you’re a trusted expert.
If someone looks up your business, what will they see? What’s your reputation like? Both in your community and online. Your reputation is one of your most important assets.
63. Ask yourself, “What are my competitors doing right?”
You can often learn from your competition. The successful competitors in particular will be doing many things well.
64. What will I need to do today to lead my industry in 5 years?
Have the big vision in mind. Have a plan for becoming a leader.
65. Consumers want a sense of belonging. In what ways can you contribute to this?
Is it possible to create membership groups or communities? Is there an identity around your product? Think how well Apple cultivates this.
Not all clients are created equal. It’s not just important to find clients, you need to find the RIGHT clients for your business. There are times to turn down work.
67. Care for your body and your mind. Exercise, meditate, and do yoga.
We can get more done when we recharge and find energy. Taking care of yourself leads to getting more work done.
68. Our most scarce resource is focus.
We can achieve the greatest things when we’re able to dedicate an incredible amount of focus and attention. Make sure you have time to focus on the most important things in your business.
69. Tools change, tactics change, strategy is forever.
Online marketing, social media marketing, PPC ads, TV commercials; the specific tools and tactics are constantly in flux. However, overall strategy lasts. Human needs and desires stay the same. The tactics may change, but at its core, helping people solve their problems and generating value for them is still at the heart of running a successful business.
70. Try to meet or reach out to 8 people every day.
The greater your connections and network, the more opportunities you have to meet people and new businesses. This could be connections online or in person, but make sure you are constantly connecting with new people.
71. Hire people who genuinely want to do the things you’re offering.
It can be challenging to motivate someone to do a job they don’t want to do. If you can find people who care about your mission, it will be easier to motivate them. Play to peoples’ strengths.
72. Being the CEO can make you seem like a smaller company.
Sometimes, being the CEO can make you appear too small. You can be the director of sales, or the director of marketing when you meet with people.
73. What can you do better than anyone else?
Spend a great deal of time playing to your strengths.
74. Which opportunities could provide 10x the growth?
Think big. There are opportunities or clients that could lead to an incredible change in your business.
Conclusion: You now know so many tips to help you as an entrepreneur, Solopreneur, or Small Business.
Knowing and not doing is the same as not knowing. Now that you have all these tips to help you as a soloprenuer, entrepreneur or small business, I recommend bookmarking this page, so this information is always at your fingertips. I review this guide frequently and it’s led to significant progress and growth in my business. I believe it can do the same for your business.
This guide is one of many, take a look at the others below:
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
2. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
3. Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You
4. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
5. The 1‑Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand-Out From the Crowd
– Allan Dib
6. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
7. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
-Al Ries and Jack Trout
8. Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People
9. No B.S. Guide to Brand-Building by Direct Response: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Plan to Creating and Profiting from a Powerful Brand Without Buying It
10. No B.S. Ruthless Management of People and Profits
11. Zero to One
–Blake Masters and Peter Thiel
12. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine
13. The Art of War
14. The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-by-step Guide to Writing Copy that Sells
15. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
-Chip Heath and Dan Heath
16. Permission Marketing
17. This is Marketing
18. Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
19. How to Write a Good Advertisement
-Victor O. Schwab
20. The 10X Rule
21. DotComSecrets The Underground Playbook For Growing Your Company Online
22. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business
-Clayton M. Christensen
23. Passive Income Ideas: 50 Ways to Make Money Online Analyzed
– Michael Ezeanaka
24. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
25. Blue Ocean Strategy
-Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim
26. The Thank You Economy
27. Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money
28. The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself
29. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
30. Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy – And How to Make Them Work for You
-Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary
31. The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future