The plight of the close to 20 million small business owners in America is often discussed: crushed by giant competitors like Wal-Mart, oppressed by government regulation and paperwork, struggling to make it from day to day. The picture of the small business owner as it's most often painted is pitiable.
That's not the picture consultant Gene Marks paints in Outfoxing the Small Business Owner. He sees small business owners (the successful ones, at least) as sly, crafty foxes, operating under the radar by their own unique set of rules.
What's more, he admires these foxes' caginess, at the same time as he shows readers how to tap into them as a market, detailing all the ways you need to be crafty to wring the most you can from your relationships with them - while they, in turn, are wringing the most that they can from you.
Donald would approve
Getting another person sacked from their job for your own advancement is an unconscionable act of malice - but getting another firm sacked from an engagement is just good business, particularly if you can do it without leaving any fingerprints. Coincidentally, there's a book out now on just this topic called, with refreshing honesty, How to Get Your Competition Fired (without Saying Anything Bad about Them).
Author and sales guru Randy Schwantz details the six steps of what he calls "the Wedge," a psychological sales strategy that will make loyal clients break with their current service firms and join up with you, while also showing you how to make your clients Wedge-proof.
John Wiley & Sons
Brian Tracy is a much-sought-after personal and professional development coach; as much as we here at New Products need professional development, we really can't afford that kind of thing. What we can do, though, is read his books. It may not be the same as having Tracy come down here and set us straight in person, but his TurboCoach, co-authored with Campbell Fraser, offers a collection of tools and exercises to help losers like us identify what we have to do to excel.
Annual meeting guide
The annual meetings of public companies range in atmosphere and style from the friendly carnival of Berkshire Hathaway's "Woodstock for Capitalists," to the dull-as-dishwater, stripped-down Soviet-style presentation, to the slick travelling dog-and-pony show - but what they all have in common are the rules set by the incorporating states, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the stock exchanges as to what must take place at the meeting.
These have changed recently, so the release of a new edition of Bowne Financial Print's Preparing for Your 2005 Annual Meeting Guidebook is timely. Updated by lawyers from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, it contains information on shareholder proposals and communications, recent nomination and election rules, disclosure of proxy voting policies and more. Best of all, it's free.
Price: Free at Bowne offices, or for download from Web site.
Bowne Financial Print
A journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step, but you still need to take all the subsequent steps, and know where you're going, and make sure you have all the supplies you need along the way. The same holds true for moving your firm from its present pathetic state to the glorious position you have imagined for it, and the "Strategic Benchmarking for Value" Model presented in Driving Your Company's Value can help you.
The book teaches you how to analyze your current state, define the state you wish to reach, develop the strategic benchmarks you need to hit along the way, and align your strategies, objectives, personnel, compensation practices and value drivers towards reaching that thousandth mile.
John Wiley & Sons
Financial aid aid
With all the talk about Social Security, people are worried about how they'll retire in the future. They shouldn't bother worrying - because they're going to have to pay for their children's college first, and that's likely to kill them.
In terms of life goals for financial planning, paying for college is right up there, and so your clients - and you - can use all the help there is. Well worth a look is 101 Tips for Maximizing College Financial Aid, by Alice Orzechowski, which explains the financial aid process in depth. A CPA and frequent speaker on the subject, Orzechowski provides planning strategies for getting as much financial aid as possible, with discussions on 529 plans and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, as well as line-by-line guidance on completing the FAFSA form.
Financial Education Institute
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