It’s hard to believe it took three people to write a book as short as this one.
But apparently, it did. The One Minute Entrepreneur, written by a team headed by motivational speaker Ken Blanchard, author of the classic The One Minute Manager, dispenses inspirational wisdom on the keys to creating, nurturing and sustaining a business. Most people who launch a small business fail within 10 years, according to the trio. An aim of this book is to offer a simple map to success. The counsel is pithy, but, hey, we’re talking one-minute advice, sure to make a perfect graduation gift for a time-pressed new graduate with an entrepreneurial bent.
Why such short-hand? We found “the gems in life did not come from long diatribes, but rather short, meaningful insights,” they write.
The trio present tips long bandied about by renowned business leaders and self-help gurus. The authors dutifully acknowledge they have “continued to learn wonderful insights about life and work from great speakers and authors” such as Peter Drucker and Stephen Covey to Rabbi Harold Kushner, Zig Ziglar and Suze Orman. This offering is also a valentine to their entrepreneurial mentors, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones and Sheldon Bowles.
The advice is relayed via a fictional parable of how one young entrepreneur, Jud McCarley, starts a speaking business, grows it to great success, then nearly loses it all — his marriage included.
McCarley recognizes his impending disaster in the nick of time and turns things around with help from his mentors. Ah, the age-old story of redemption.
The story begins as Jud pays his post-college dues at the knee of his chosen mentor, earning less than his peers but diligently learning the craft needed to build a foundation for starting his own company. Once the doors open, he must navigate the financial pains of growing, and grasp the intricacies of customer service and developing loyal and creative employees. Finally, he must confront his own inflated ego and how it is destroying his dream and his marriage.
A simple tale. But, as always, it never hurts to be reminded of the pitfalls on the path to success, or to reach a new generation with a message of hope. Here are some of their insights. (No wincing, please.):
•Don’t ever underestimate the importance of whom you choose to be with.
•You can get everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.
•There are vast opportunities in selling when you’re selling something you believe in.
•Visualize your desired outcome ahead of time.
•Identify what you are passionate about doing. Look to do more of it. If nobody will pay you to do what you love, you have a hobby, not a career.
•If you don’t do what you love, you’ll never work hard enough to be the best.
•Never let your expenses outstrip your revenue.
•Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for your people.
•Work to balance your business life with the rest of your life.
•Continually seek the wisdom of your mentors.
•Pass on the prosperity from your passion. You’ll never be successful unless you help others. Helping others does not just involve financial gains from prosperity, but also includes sharing your time and talent.
Motivational messages aside, this book’s underlying intent is “to help people discover their entrepreneurial strengths,” according to the authors. Through their protagonist, Jud, they unveil the 20 key attributes of a successful entrepreneur: Resourceful, visionary, optimistic, strategic and team-oriented, to list a handful.
Each of these attributes can be found in every successful entrepreneur to some degree. And for those lessons, readers will need to head to the trio’s website, http://www.estrengths.com/, and take an online assessment to see how they measure up on the key attributes. Then, learn how to work on the ones they’re lacking to add to their arsenal.
As Jud McCarley explains: “It’s not always easy, and it’s important for people to know that being an entrepreneur is about committing to success one step at a time.”
The One Minute Entrepreneur: The Secret to Creating and Sustaining a Successful Business by Ken Blanchard; Don Hutson and Ethan Willis; Currency/Doubleday, 139 pages, $19.95.