Books Business Marketing

How to Grow Your Small Business: A 6-Step Plan to Help Your Business Take Off

Author: Donald Miller

My Rating: 3/5

Summary: A tactical book explaining different frameworks works that’s newish entrepreneurs can leverage to grow their small business.

My Takeaways

Think of building a business as building a plane

You want to build a business proportional to the other areas of your business similar to how you engineer a safe plane

Craft a compelling mission statement for your business that includes 3 specific economic outcomes that are measurable, timebound so the business can know if they achieved the mission and reasons why the mission is important to build connection to the business.

Humans like transformation.

Create 3 key characteristics that are more specific than core values. This guides the business and informs who to hire.

Continue to find ways to bring the mission front and center in everything you do. All hands meetings, posters, shoutouts etc

Survive and thrive for marketing messages.

Create simple messaging

Put your customer at the center of the story where they are the hero. Humans are evolved to survive and stories are the way to get your attention.

4. Create a 3 step plan.
5. Call your customer to action. Buy now button on your website is like a cash register

6. Make the hero avoid failure

Give the customers stakes. The stakes are what the customer will do if they fail to buy the product or succeed if they buy it. What negative consequences will my customers avoid.


7 Experience success. Tell them about the positive ramifications when the customer buys a product.

Start with the problem
Position your product as the solution
Offer a three step plan to alleviate any fears and transition them into a better future life. Build a bridge from the customer’s problem to your solution.

Create a sense of urgency. And the state states.

Give the customer a clear call to action with that offer they can except or reject so that they don’t have to think about next steps.

Sales isn’t about pushing, it’s about clarity.

Schedule 5 different meetings

Have 5 different business bank accounts for daily operations, taxes, profit, investing.

Books Business

Your Next 5 Moves: Master the art of Business Strategy

Author: Patrick Bet-David

My Rating: 4/5

Summary: A very tactical and practical way to think about becoming a successful entrepreneur.

My Takeaways

Great business leaders think like chess grandmasters. 

5 moves is the right amount because it’s the sweet spot for thoughtful strategy with action and thinking too many moves ahead can lead to analysis paralysis. 

The 5 Moves

  1. Master knowing yourself. 
  2. Master the ability to reason
  3. Master building the right team. 
  4. Master strategy to scale
  5. Master power plays


To be the best you can be, you must first know who you want to be, where you wish to go, and what factors should drive your decisions. Bet-David breaks this down into 3 parts:

• Knowing who you want to be (including your deepest desires, core beliefs and values) and start behaving as if you were already that person.

• Knowing where you are now, by being totally honest with yourself on your strengths/weaknesses, what motivates you, and what you truly want (not what you think you should want).

• Knowing your ideal path. Does entrepreneurship really suit you? Or are you better off striking out as an intrapreneur within your company?


To achieve success and fulfillment, you must handle thousands of problems and decisions. Hone your problem-solving skills to get better outcomes and pre-empt problems in the future. This requires that you:

• Learn how to process issues rigorously. Bet-David shares the “Investment-Time-Return formula” you can use to optimize your resources, and how to take full responsibility for your desired outcomes.

• Learn to “Solve for X”, i.e. find and address the root causes or underlying issues behind a problem or situation.


No matter how brilliant you are, you can’t do everything alone. Surround yourself with the right people who can address your weaknesses and blind spots, multiply your strengths, and help you and your business to grow.

This move probably warrants a book all by itself. Bet-David addresses several key aspects, including:

• How to hire and retain the right people. This involves attracting the right talents and advisers,  having a robust recruitment process, and developing an attractive compensation plan to retain people.

• How to build a winning culture. This involves establishing common values, principles and beliefs, translating them into concrete behaviors in your daily work, building trust, developing a succession plan, encouraging constructive conflict, and  tailoring your approach to each team member’s love languages and motivators.


There are several strategic elements that determine if your business will grow, stagnate, or even collapse. To scale up and achieve exponential growth, you must:

• Raise and use capital wisely, to generate both linear and exponential growth.

• Grow your people alongside the company. Demand the best from people, hold them accountable for their own career or life goals, role-model the expected levels of rigor and accountability, and track the key metrics in your business.


Power plays can determine if you emerge a winner or loser. Master your strategic maneuvers to beat established incumbents, frame your story, and leverage social media. This move is about:

• Finding the right levers so you can beat the giants (i.e. the huge, established market leaders in your industry) who have much more resources, experience and capital than you. Bet-David advocates using social media as a key marketing tool to engage your audience, shape your story and influence public opinion.

• Learning to negotiate, sell, and influence. This requires that you do your homework before every major meeting, build strategic partnerships, and progressively develop your negotiation skills and power

Be of value to others, in order to get value from them. (Example. Patrick visited the son in prison of a person he wanted to leverage contacts.)

Don’t be afraid to promote yourself on social media and sell yourself, because nobody else will

Successful people use pain as a motivator 

Create a clear picture of future state. 

Act consistent with your future truth. 

Act like a great company long before you become one. 

Know what drives you. Common reasons are advancement, madness (having an enemy) individuality, lifestyle, purpose 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

Create a company culture that fosters intraprenuership and creative thinking. (.I.e. Google %20rule)

Blue Ocean Strategy / New category 

Don’t try to beat competitors at their strengths since that is a losing game. 

Identify the competitive edge

Know how to process issues. Life is always throwing out issues. 

People who process info badly play the victim and don’t take responsibility, good processors take responsibility 

Deep level processors look be north the surface for the root causes, as opposed to the quick fix. 

Going silent during a crisis is the easy choice. 

Know your all in risk. 

People are curious 

Prevent problems before they become big. 

Need to develop a system for making decisions and a methodology that will increase the probability of success

5 why’s 

Think about how you can benefit others 

Have employees think like owners and structure an incentive plan so it’s a win-win for the employee and company 

Build a company with principles. (Cites Ray Dalio’s book several times)

Establish a company code

Build a company culture that not only embraces friction, but creates it (with love).

The reason to develop trust is to speed up every element of conducting your business 

Figure out indemnification so that you can’t be sued

Document everything 

Seek advice from people who know the theory, witness and application 

Build processes to scale your business 

Build speed into everything you do. 

Look for strategies to compress timeframes. 

Use data analytics 

Stay paranoid

Books Business Music

Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur

Author: Derek Sivers

My Rating: 5/5

Summary: A well written business manifesto written by the founder of CDBaby.

My Takeaways

Derek Sivers accidentally started a business and purposely tried to keep it small

When you make a business, you make a little universe where you get to control the laws. This is your utopia. 

When you make it a dream come true for yourself. You make it true for everyone 

When you’re on to a revolution it will feel like uncommon sense. 

Success come from persistently improving and inventing, not from what’s persistently doing what’s not working. 

Do everything for your customers. 

Starting small puts 100% of your energy into actually solving real problems. 

Build your business for thousands of small customers, not big customers that control you. 

Don’t be afraid to exclude people. 

There are infinite plans (music singing example)

Write clear emails to avoid thousands of confused replies. 

It’s often the tiny little details that make customers tell their friends about your business, such as the funny email. 

Add a fun human touch to how you operate your business (pizza and squid example)

Know what makes you happy. As CD Baby got bigger, Derek’s stories got less happy. 

Don’t try to please an invisible jury.