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8 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Entrepreneurial life can be extremely challenging. More than 90% of startups fail within the first five years of their inception. Every founder will encounter situations where he wouldn’t know if he is headed in the right direction. It is during such times when one needs to not only introspect for character building  but also seek inspiration to stay optimistic.

There are hundreds of great books out there that offer advice & insights about the business world. However, there is only so much time that one can spare from his busy work life and we want you to make the most of it by recommending eight books that will refine your personality and make you a better thinker and leader.

books

So let’s get started.

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People
One of the first best-selling self help books that was ever published, this book can be read by anyone but is a must for entrepreneurs. After reading this book, you will be able to make friends quickly, get your employees to start thinking the way you do, avoid conflicts at workplace and become a better visionary.

2. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Successful people always have some qualities that set them apart from the    rest of the crowd. To develop those qualities, you need to tread a carefully crafted path. Stephen Covey outlines this path for you in his book.  

This book  presents a holistic, principle-centered approach to solve personal and professional problems and was listed as one of ”The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books” by Times in 2011.

3. The Lean Startup
Today, entrepreneurs have innovative ideas but often lack the tools   necessary to build an enduring business. The book offers advice from someone who himself saw his startup fail, learnt from his mistakes and then went on to build a multi-million dollar enterprise.

The book will enlighten your mind about the 5 principles that are critical to the success of a startup and what makes a startup a ‘lean’ one.

4. Rich Dad Poor Dad
Everyone would like to become an entrepreneur after reading this book.  It is about a person who has two fathers- one rich & the other poor. Both fathers teach their kid on how to achieve success  but differ vastly in their approach.

The theme revolves around two things: a can-do-attitude and fearless entrepreneurship. The lesson is simple: if you desire to be an entrepreneur, you must take charge of your life by overcoming fear, laziness, cynicism and arrogance.

5. 80/20 Sales & Marketing
The business landscape has changed considerably over the last decade.   Instead of reaching out to everyone, a highly refined targeting of potential customers is the way forward. To bolster sales and run targeted marketing campaigns effectively,  you need to focus only on those customers who are genuinely interested in your product. The secret lies in saving 80 percent of your time by zeroing in on the 20 percent of your customers who have the highest probability of buying from you.

6. The $100 Startup
Without direction, purpose and strategy, any startup stands very little chance of succeeding. From the initial stages of starting a business to managing the growing  operations, this book will assist you at every stage. The book was written after conducting interviews and surveys with founders of real startups and hence is a must read for entrepreneurs who are thinking of starting their own business.

7. Start With Why
Great leaders inspire others by putting the Why(the purpose) before the How(the process) or the What (the product). In the book, the author uses real-world examples of great leaders to show you how they communicate and how you can adopt their mindset to inspire others.

Once you are finished reading this book, you will be equipped with the tools which will help you to lead and inspire.

8. The 4-Hour Workweek
I can’t recommend this book enough. After reading this book, your life will never be the same again. People often complain about struggling to balance their work life and not finding enough time for leisure.So if you are an entrepreneur and feel like you have been trapped in the vicious circle of life, this book will serve as a useful guide for a new and revolutionary world. It is bound to shake things up and make you do things differently.

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How To Compete With Big Companies And Win

By Jabed Hasan | October 7, 2016

You’ve probably read about the story of Goliath of Gath.

He was a giant Philistine warrior who was defeated by the young boy David, the future king of Israel.

History has shown us time and time again that it’s possible to compete and win the big guys.

MySpace was once the biggest social media site in the world and the most visited in the United States. But it lost the social media battle to Facebook.

Today, MySpace is almost dead.

Yahoo was once the #1 search engine on the web. Google is now the undisputed search engine in the world.

Recently, Yahoo was sold to Verizon for $5 billion. Forbes called it the saddest deal in the tech history.

In fact, the story goes like this:

1998: YAHOO refused to acquire Google for $1 million.

2002: YAHOO realized its mistake and offered $3 billion. Google requested $5 billion. YAHOO refused.

2008: Microsoft offered 50B to acquire YAHOO. YAHOO rejected the offer.

2016: YAHOO has been acquired for $5 billion.

The current value of Google is around $545 billion.

No big company is safe.

You can compete and win.

Apple was once a garage shop that competed with the big guys like IBM and software giant Microsoft. It won!

Apple is the world’s most valuable brand today.

Some marketing and business strategies that will help your startup (David) compete and win your established and big competitors (Goliaths).

Free PDF Download: Get access to the free checklist that will show you how to compete with big companies and win.
Go Niche. Expand Later.
Your established competitors are BIG.

Your startup is small. That’s the truth.

Here comes the biggest mistake most startup founders make:

They want to act big.

You shouldn’t act big because your capital and resources aren’t as much as that of your competitors.

But there’s a smart way to crush your big competitors:

Focus. Specialize. Niche.

These are the keys.

When Facebook started out, they didn’t compete directly with MySpace.

They didn’t act big like MySpace. They can’t.

Facebook acted small. Very small.

Back when it launched, it focused on Harvard students.

It captured Harvard.

Then it moved to other campuses until it has captured every one of them.

It all started from somewhere.

Remember:

Focus. Specialize. Niche.

Amazon is the world’s biggest online retailer with 74.1% market share.

But that wasn’t how it started.

Amazon started as a bookstore.

Back in 1997, Barnes & Noble sued Amazon for claiming to be “the world’s biggest bookstore.”

Today, Amazon is the biggest online retailer.

That’s the power of starting from a niche. That’s the power of focus. That’s the power of specialization.

Selling a large number of different products will be a nightmare. You’ll be trying too hard to appear big when, in fact, you’re so small.

Save yourself the stress. You won’t win when you compete this way.

Compete smart.

Drop any product that doesn’t contribute to growth.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was struggling and almost at the edge of collapsing.

Apple had 20+ product lines at the time.

Jobs cut that number to 4.

So Apple focused on 4 great products:

A consumer desktop
A consumer notebook
A pro desktop
And A pro notebook
He was proved right.

Apple turned profitable and went to become the most valuable brand in the world under Jobs’ leadership. That’s the power of going niche and focus.

Scott Gerber, the founder of Sizzle It! wrote on the Entrepreneur Magazine:

“In 2004, my partners and I launched a typical “do everything” video production company.

After years of under-performing, I transformed the company into a single product specialist.

While the vast majority of video production companies still tout their large service rosters, Sizzle it! has carved out a niche as the only company that specializes in sizzle reels–stylized 3-to-5 minute product videos commonly used by PR and marketing professionals.

Result; Sizzle It! has emerged as a go-to company for sizzle reels and benefits from top keyword visibility on all major search engines.”
There are thousands of T-Shirt stores both online and offline. But Threadless is different.

Threadless is a user-generated T-Shirt and apparel website that determines its product line based on the results of online design competitions.

Though the management doesn’t disclose revenues, it was estimated that the company makes $30 million sales per year and a 30% profit margin.

In 2008, Threadless was featured on the cover of Inc. as “The Most Innovative Small Company in America.”

Being everything to everyone is impossible. You have to be one thing. Do one thing extremely well.

One thing the world could associate your startup with.

You can’t be all over the map claiming you do all things well. That will only hurt you more and give more power to the established companies.

Smaller is bigger in business. It’s highly focused. It gives you the chance to win against the bigger guys.

A niche is a targetable part of the market.

When you go niche, you’re a specialist providing a product or service that focuses on a specific need a group of individuals or companies have. Your big competitors shouldn’t be meeting that need.

If your big competitors are meeting that need, then it’s not a niche.

For example, Google is the world’s biggest search engine. It’s for everyone.

How about a search engine for kids?

That looks like a niche. This is just an example.

Creating a search engine for kids is a real challenge.

The point here is to differentiate yourself so small that your biggest competitors won’t feel like you’re taking the majority of their market share away.

Before they know it, you’ve already taken a big chunk that you’re almost ready to expand.

By then, they won’t see you as another small startup, but a real competitor.

Niche marketing is really easier.

Your positioning and branding will make attracting people easier.

People with similar interests behave the same way and are attracted to similar things. Your customers will be the one doing the majority of the marketing for you instead of the other way round.

Getting repeat business would also be easier because you can deliver a better product and service that’s based on the customer needs.

Build And Leverage Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is how you sell when your product is completely unknown.

When you’ve worked hard to build a personal brand, it’ll lend trust and authority to any product and company you create.

For example, Ramit Sethi has worked hard for years to build his personal brand.

Today any product he creates sells fast.

It’s because people know him.

It’s because they trust him.

His online courses such as Earn1k, Zero To Launch, and the Fitelligent were all successful.

Building a personal brand is now more important than ever. It’s your key to driving growth for your small company.

In the early stages of your company, people are more interested in you than what your company has to offer them.

When you’ve built a personal brand, selling your product becomes easier.

It’ll also be easier to get other people on board to market your product.

It’s because you’ve built a relationship with them through your personal brand.

You may begin wondering what a personal brand is and why it’s really important?

Your personal brand is how others see you.

It’s important that people have a positive view of you.

In addition to that, the relationship you have with people is very important.

You should engage people on a personal level. That’s how you develop a great relationship with them.

Meet a lot of people.

Help a lot of people.

Share your knowledge and ideas with them.

The relationships you build through this will be valuable for your startup. It could mean going from point A to Point B.

It could mean getting that big client that will move your company up on the ladder.

You Have to Give to Receive
Are you ready to get massive customers for your company?

You have to give and help a lot of people.

Think about what you can offer others more than what you can get from them.

In his words, here’s how Sujan Patel is giving to promote his company:

“One of the first things I did was begin to host some dinners for marketers and entrepreneurs.

I simply wanted to get people together to share knowledge and ideas. I certainly had no intention of selling or pushing my products on them.

I made a point of holding these dinners in various locations around the world. The idea was that I would appear more successful than I was at the time, that I was jet-setting around the world for business meetings.

This was all part of the bigger building-a-brand-to-sell plan.”
So, start giving.

Start writing a lot of high-quality blog posts.

Start appearing on podcasts that will have you.

Start hosting dinners with professionals in your industries and those related.

Start offering one-on-one consultations with potential customers.

Start doing webinars. This can be highly rewarding for your startup.

Just continue helping people, and the selling part will naturally take care of itself.

When you create a lot of helpful contents online, people will start finding your website on search engines. This means another avenue to promote your company.

Content is the fuel of social media too.

Giving in the form of high-quality contents is a great way to gain an advantage over your established competitors.

When you apply this advice, you’ll find that your startup will succeed pretty much faster.

Have An Awesome Customer Service
Customer service is a brilliant way to compete with the big guys.

For example, Zappos built a billion-dollar empire on their ability to deliver an excellent customer service alone.

In fact, delivering an excellent customer service is Zappos main company values.

There are thousands of negative customer service stories on the web, but only a very few people (if they ever existed) can say a bad thing about Zappos.

Here’s one of the amazing statements coming directly from the CEO.

“We believe that the speed at which a customer receives an online purchase plays a very important role in how that customer thinks about shopping online again in the future, so at Zappos.com, we have put a lot of focus on making sure the items get delivered to our customers as quickly as possible.

In order to do that, we warehouse everything that we sell, and unlike most other online retailers, we don’t make an item available for sale unless it is physically present in our warehouse.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.
Speed is one of the keys to delivering an excellent customer service.

STELLAservice conducted a response time report in 2011 and found that the average email response time for the to 100 Internet companies was 17 hours.

Frost reported that 41% of consumers surveyed listed being put on hold as their biggest frustration.

So make sure you don’t leave customers waiting.

No company is perfect. You’ll have some unsatisfied customers.

How you deal with tough customers can have a big negative or positive impact on your reputation.

Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes if the blame is on you.

And sometimes, the blame might be on the customer, but that doesn’t mean the customer is bad.

One unhappy customer can lead to 5 lost customers.

Even Amazon care about its customers.

“In 2007, an Amazon customer ordered a new PlayStation for his son for Christmas.

When the shipping company delivered the parcel, the customer was away and had a neighbor sign for the package.

The neighbor left the package outside the customer’s house (in which it soon disappeared).

When the customer realized what had happened, he was left in complete shock.

Even though Amazon was not to blame for this mistake, they were quick to resolve this by not only sending a new PlayStation in time for Christmas, but did not charge for the extra shipping.”
A recent survey found that 68% of consumers would react by telling family and friends about a bad experience by posting it on a social network.

And as each Facebook profile has an average of 229 friends, the reach of this experience can quickly reach thousands.

There is great value in ensuring you deliver a positive customer service.

RightNow Technologies 2011 Customer Experience Report found that 86% of U.S. adults are willing to pay more for a better customer experience and 73% of U.S. adults said a friendly customer service made them fall in love with a brand.

Not only will brands get happy, loyal customers but will see increased business.

Improving your customer service is the key to competing with the big companies.

Can’t wait to win your big competitors?

Start applying these tips today.  http://www.mountnow.com/compete-big-companies-win/#

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

My Message To The Next Generation Of Africans

Bill Gates
Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
I was 9 years old when Nelson Mandela was sent to prison on Robben Island. As a boy, I learned about him in school, and I remember seeing reports about the anti-Apartheid movement on the evening news. Decades later, I got to meet him and work with him. In person he was even more inspiring than I had imagined. His humility and courage left an impression that I will never forget.

So it was a special honor to be invited to give the Nelson Mandela Lecture in Pretoria, South Africa. I eagerly accepted the invitation and quickly began working on my remarks.

I decided to share my optimism about Africa’s future—to explain why I think the continent has the potential to change faster in the next generation than any continent ever has.

It’s because Africa is the world’s youngest continent, and youth can go hand in hand with a special dynamism. I was 20 years old when Paul Allen and I started Microsoft. The entrepreneurs driving startup booms in Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi are just as young, and the thousands of businesses they’re creating are already changing lives across the continent. The potential will only grow as the digital revolution brings more advances in artificial intelligence and robotics.

But positive change across Africa won’t happen automatically. The real returns will come only if Africans can unleash this talent for innovation in all of the continent’s growing population. That depends on whether all of its young people are given the opportunity to thrive.

It is still an open question, and it is the crux of my speech, which I gave today at the University of Pretoria. It was an honor to give this lecture, and I’m grateful to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the university for inviting me.

The first time I spoke with Nelson Mandela was in 1994, when he called to ask me to help fund South Africa’s first multi-racial election. It’s not every day that Nelson Mandela calls, so I remember it well. I was running Microsoft at the time and thinking about software most of my waking hours. But I admired Nelson Mandela, I knew the election was historic, and I did what I could to help.

I had been to Africa for the first time just the year before, when my wife, Melinda, and I travelled in East Africa on vacation. Obviously, we knew parts of Africa were very poor, but being on the continent turned what had been an abstraction into an injustice we could not ignore.

Faced with such glaring inequity, we started thinking about how we could use our resources to make a difference. Within a few years, we established our foundation. It was when I started coming to Africa regularly for the foundation that I came to know Nelson Mandela personally. He was both an advisor and an inspiration.

One topic that Nelson Mandela came back to over and over again in his lifetime was the power of youth. I agree with Mandela about young people, and that is one reason I’m optimistic about the future of Africa. Demographically, Africa is the world’s youngest continent, and its youth can be the source of a special dynamism.

Economists talk about the demographic dividend and the potential for Africa’s burgeoning youth population to accelerate economic growth. But for me, the most important thing about young people is the way their minds work. Young people are better than old people at driving innovation, because they are not locked in by the limits of the past. I was 19 when I founded Microsoft. Steve Jobs was 21 when he started Apple. Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he created Facebook.

So I’m inspired by the young African entrepreneurs driving startup booms in the Silicon Savannahs from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Lagos and Nairobi.

The real returns, though, will come if we can multiply this talent for innovation by the whole of Africa’s growing youth population. To make that a reality, all of Africa’s young people must have the opportunity to thrive.

If we invest in the right things—if we make sure the basic needs of Africa’s young people are taken care of—then they can change the future and life on this continent will improve faster than it ever has.

In my view, there are four things that will determine Africa’s future: health and nutrition, education, economic opportunity, and good governance.

When people aren’t healthy, they can’t turn their attention to things like education, working and raising a family. Conversely, when health improves, life improves by every measure.

I’m especially concerned about HIV. Africa’s youngest generation are entering the age when they are most at risk of HIV. We need to get more out of the HIV prevention methods we have now –while developing better solutions like an effective vaccine and easier-to-use medicines that people are more likely to use consistently.

Nutrition is another critical area of focus for Africa. Malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies rob millions of the continent’s children of their physical and cognitive potential. Fortunately, there are cost-effective solutions like making sure mothers breastfeed their infants, enriching cooking oil, sugar, and flour with important vitamins and minerals, and breeding staple crops to maximize their nutritional content. We need to make sure the people most at risk know about and have access to these solutions.

Second, we need new thinking and new tools to make sure a high-quality education is available to every child. Educational technology using mobile phones has the potential to help students build foundational skills while giving teachers better feedback and support at the touch of a button. Governments also need to invest in high-quality public universities for the largest number of qualified students to launch the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, educators, and government leaders.

Third, we need to create economic opportunities to channel the energy and ideas of Africa’s youth. Through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program, countries have a framework for transforming agriculture from a struggle for survival into a thriving business opportunity. But the investment needs to follow, so that young Africans have the means to create the thriving agriculture they envision.

Africa also needs more electrical power to increase productivity. In East Africa especially, governments should invest in hydro and geothermal sources of energy, which are both reliable and renewable, as soon as possible. The immediate priority is for governments to get tougher about managing their electrical grids so they’re producing as much power as possible.

Fourth, countries can benefit from enhancing fiscal governance. Advances in digital technology is one way that governments can deliver services more efficiently.

It’s clear to everyone how big and complicated the challenges are. But Africa has proven its resilience and ingenuity time and again, and there are millions of people, especially young people, who are eager to get to work.

The future depends on the people of Africa working together to lay a foundation so that Africa’s young people have the opportunities they deserve. This is the future that Nelson Mandela dreamed of and it’s the future that the youth of Africa deserve.

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e