Archive for the ‘Business and Finance Books’ Category

Saving Money With Strangers

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 by

Today I saw a lot of people lined up to buy these sushi meals for lunch and this place had a big sign saying buy one item and get the other one for half price. I guess from a business side they are trying to generate more sales this way. As it turned out,not many customers take advantage of the deal and simply buy one item.

That’s what was kind of funny I thought as there was a line up of person after person just buying one item. If you think about it, if all these people just randomly paired up and bought the item together they can both walk away from just buying one item where both of them would get to save some money as a result. Is it too weird to ask a complete stranger to do something like that though?

Thinking for myself, if I was in that line up and someone proposed the idea to me I would think that it would be a smart idea. This kind of thing would probably be so much easier if people could find a way to ask without asking directly. For example, just having like a cell phone app where people indicate if anyone else is in the area and wants to group shop save money to just notify them.

Profits Aren’t Everything They Are The Only Thing – Final Thoughts

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 by

When I first read this book my expectation was that there would be a lot of tough love advice where the author tries to tell you the unpopular things you need to do in a business to be financially successful. Example, items like how you have to sacrifice a lot of personal activities and not trusting people.

While the book did have a lot of points like these, there are a lot of moments where Cloutier’s advice seems so vastly different and controversial that it definitely caught my attention. For example, saying how you shouldn’t pay your vendors on time is still a bit of a shocker to me. In some funny ways though I was actually expecting more of that as all of the edification and hype literature about this book kept emphasizing how it was supposed to be very hard-hitting.

The book does focus mainly on ways to help turn a business around and so you can expect to read a lot of doom and gloom stories with ways to get you out of that cycle. It’s definitely not the happy go lucky approach that a lot of other books use.

I personally don’t think that most the advice is too significant for people who run a small business where the operation revolves around say just yourself. I say this because there is a lot of preaching about employees and how you should deal with them in terms of pay and discipline. Nowadays a solo operation business is probably more common such as people having their own online auction business or say people who make tens of thousands through affiliate marketing.

But if you are a business that does millions in sales with a traditional company type of setup a lot of the advice seems perfectly sensible. For example, putting people on a pay for performance plan makes sense as opposed to just paying people to show up and not worry about results. Especially if your business is unprofitable for whatever reason this type of advice seems like the smart thing to do.

Is this book useful for people who are not like a large corporation? It is, but at the same time I would have to say there are probably better books out there if you are a solo or dual team operation. Like most business type of books the key emphasis is your mentality when it comes to money and how you do things.

The impression I walked away with after reading this book is that it serves people best who are in that “bankruptcy” type of scenario. This will help to give you that kick in the butt and slap to the face to make you do what is necessary to turn things around. Basically, focus on your profits and do what is necessary to improve that.

Profits Aren’t Everything They Are The Only Thing – Chapter 15

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 by

So this is the last chapter titled “It’s Not the Economy, Stupid, It’s You.” I guess almost every business and finance book that has been written over the past year or so references something about the economy issues. Cloutier uses this chapter to mostly call out people that want to use the economy as an excuse for their failing businesses as it seems like a cop out.

With that, he references past chapters as well as all of the advice he has given thus far to show that your results are because of your efforts and not some outside factor. For example, even if the economy died you should have had some kind of plan to anticipate these kinds of circumstances to adapt to it.

It’s one of those sheepish mentalities that he is trying to get you to avoid such as how if one person sees another slacking off they think it is okay. Reminds me of all those ridiculous bailout packages that I keep hearing on the news where one company asks for one then all of a sudden every other company in the world needs it too.

In the end he just urges you to take action and not to give up as many people have followed his strategies to see success. Was a pretty short chapter overall. That’s it for the book too. Time to wrap my head around everything that I read and to give my final thoughts.

Profits Aren’t Everything They Are The Only Thing – Chapter 14

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 by

Looks like book is coming to an end as this is the second last chapter titled “Teamwork Is Vastly Overrated.” It’s kind of similar to the other points I read in the other chapters where Cloutier emphasizes that employees and your business structure should be follow a military type of setup. Basically, you are like the leader and they are just soldiers.

He essentially focuses specifically in this chapter on those issues. He is going for the polar opposite advice as opposed to what most people would give you about establishing a happy and productive work environment through a teamwork mentality. I’m sure everyone has heard the phrases such as there is no “I” in teamwork and that everyone should be treated as if they are the same.

Throughout this chapter he gives so many examples on how relying on a “team” to get things done can be disastrous where it’s like there is no leader and everyone is doing their own thing. He also notes that he feels employees actually want to be delegated as they want to know what is expected from them while following a strong structure. So you as the small business owner should always have a full hands on approach in controlling everyone. People shouldn’t be answering to you and not amongst themselves.

Another fallback of a team, especially in a small business, is he mentions how a team is only as strong as its weakest link. With that in mind, Cloutier goes back to how you have to have a system that rewards and punishes people individually based on results. He even goes as far as implying if an employee wants personal growth he/she should just go to a seminar on their own time.

Cloutier’s advice really is on the far side compared to others I must say. One more chapter to go.

Profits Aren’t Everything They Are The Only Thing – Chapter 13

Monday, October 26th, 2009 by

The chapter title was “Give Up Golf, Retreats, Off-Sites, and Trade Shows.” Cloutier sure bashes golf a lot in this chapter where he feels for the most part it just costs business owners a lot of time and money. Example, factoring in how much you have to spend on memberships as well as looking at how much business you really brought in as a direct result of being on the golf course. From what he mentions, most people bring in nothing unless you are rubbing shoulders with a very well known billionaire.

Although the chapter does seem to dive into other forms of activities that people claim they do to increase business such as conventions, trade shows and seminars where he gives his reasons why he thinks they can be bad. He used Tony Robbins’ seminars as an example where he felt that it was a little perplexing how people spend tens of thousands of dollars and time worshipping a person as if it was a cult when they could be focusing on their business.

I guess it comes down to realistic goal and planning. If you play golf specifically in hopes that you will meet your next billionaire customer or that attending a seminar is the answer to your wealth and productivity issues then that is just like the lottery mentality I’d say. I would treat things like that more for fun and growth personally.

I was a little confused about the trade show part though as to me it depends on what type of industry you are in. Example, I can’t see why it wouldn’t be a good way for like manufacturers to meet other potential companies and customers to either buy or sell its products.