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Book Summary: EntreLeadership – 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom – Written by Dave Ramsey
Dave is a bestselling author and financial consultant. His ideas are simple in thought and harsh in reality, but that’s why they’re so good. Some examples are debt repayment, if you don’t have money don’t buy it and the most famous “the borrower is the slave of the lender”. EntreLeadership is a combination of entrepreneurship and leadership in action.
Why is this important to me?
I always want to ask this question as if I were sitting in your place. Will this summary be useful to you if you read it again? I’m a big fan of mash ups, which means combining concepts to achieve a “bigger/better” result. Successful mixes include: Ray Charles – combination of Gospel and R&B, Kid Rock – combination of Rock & Roll, Country and Rap. Mash ups are hugely successful and that’s why millions of people carry around a combination phone, computer, camera in a device called an iPhone.
Entrepreneur is a term applied to a person who is willing to help start a new business or venture and accept full responsibility for the outcome.
Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which a person can gain help and support from others in accomplishing a common task”
EntreLeadership is full of great information on starting a business. This is Dave’s album of experiences and lessons. We can learn a lot from this book. Remember that leveraging associations and learning from others is more important to accelerating success. I will introduce four concepts and give them a twist because it has helped me in my business.
1. Passionate Action – Passion is by far the most important energetic force in any endeavor. Without passion, the business will die. The easiest way to put this into perspective is marriage. If there is no passion in the marriage or the relationship, over time it will die. We have to act to move things forward. Action and execution is what separates winners from losers. George S. Patton said – “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.”
2. Decisions – Decision making is a skill that must be mastered. Any decision is better than no decision. Many people become paralyzed when an important decision has to be made. There are several skills in decision-making, but here are some things that will help you:
1. Assess the worst-case scenario – If you can handle the worst-case scenario and the benefits outweigh the costs, do it.
2. Trust your instincts – Red flags are there for a reason. I can tell you from personal experience that I didn’t follow my instincts when buying a particular business. I knew the previous owner was a nightmare and closed the deal anyway. It was a big mistake. My gut told me no and my head got caught up in the perceived numbers. Not following your “informed instinct” equals bad decisions.
3. Decision Tree – People tend to think that decisions exist in a vacuum. It doesn’t because one decision will lead to the next decision. When you frame it that way, it becomes more manageable.
4. Outs – If you play poker you understand the power of letting yourself outs. Having outs (or options) after the decision makes things much easier. In poker, if you decide to go all-in and need one card to win, that’s a bad decision, but if you have 12 card options to win, that’s a good decision. This is the essence of having “outs”.
3. Sales – Generating profitable income is the most important task of any business. So, when you make the decision to start your business, you should do it on a part-time basis without quitting your job. The fastest way to grow the business is to ensure that a market exists and you can generate revenue. I’ve seen countless failures because people focus on setting up the business, office, and equipment to get started, but they forget about the customer part. This leads to bankruptcy. You can scale the infrastructure after you start generating profitable revenue. Until then, you must sell and market to prove that the business is viable. A quick note, you can do market testing with Google without spending any money on the product. It’s a great way to prove that people will buy your products and that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on prototypes and production to do so. Do the market research first, then ramp up.
4. Money – “The loan is the slave of the lender” according to Dave and he is absolutely right. When the tides come in, you know exactly who’s naked because too much debt and spending kills business. In 2008, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, Merrill Lynch was sold in a weekend, and Bear Stearns was bailed out. This all happened because the management was incompetent and didn’t know how to handle the debt. Money hides mistakes. It should be a goal that every week you get out of your business without owing any money. For the small business owner, this gives you “outs” and the flexibility to ride the market waves.
EntreLeadership is a good book that provides a workable roadmap for the small business owner. Part of the book talks about adding people. It can be the scariest thing a business owner can do. Remember that if you hire people who are more qualified than you, your business can reach heights beyond what you thought. Quality people with the right direction and leadership make great companies.
I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to incorporate it into your daily routine until it becomes a habit. Habits are formed in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is ACTION. If you have an idea and need some extra cash, put in the hours and start a home business. Small businesses represent 3 million new jobs per year. Start now, but don’t quit your job until your business can support your lifestyle.
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