What you should read (or listen to) next
There are thousands of books about running your business out there, and since I am a tried & true nerd and am obsessed with reading about what makes companies more profitable & efficient, I am sharing my list of favorites with all of you in agribusiness. All of these books have impacted my life in many ways. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Business Made Simple
Donald Miller is on a mission. He believes that too much money is wasted on business degrees, he has designed a 60 day course that he believes will give you the equivalent of a business degree in terms of knowledge and real world skills. Take this journey with Miller and improve your business!
I am honored to have been quoted on the back cover of this book as well! As a long time fan of Donald Miller, I really appreciate his wisdom and easy to apply strategies.
Building a Story Brand
Have you ever heard of a movie called Star Wars? How about the Hunger Games? Or 007? What do these movies have to do with branding? There are seven universal story points all humans respond to - great movies, and great companies use these principles to engage the consumer and lead them through a story. In Building a Story Brand you'll learn that you aren't the hero - your customer is, and if you can position yourself as the guide that helps the hero succeed, you will attain the trust, and ultimately the business of your customer.
I use these principals with every marketing message I create, whether it's for our clients or for our own company. This is mandatory reading for any business leader and marketing team.
Marketing Made Simple
Once you've read Building a Story Brand, you'll need to read this next! In Story Brand you'll learn why, and how to make a clear consistent message for your company. In Marketing Made Simple you'll learn how to apply what you've learned to all areas of your marketing. From your website, to your advertising to your email drip campaigns, you'll learn the art of crafting the right strategy for your products and services. Donald Miller also gives you the resources you need to get started on his website for free. I highly recommend these two books!
Fix This Next
I listened to this book on Audible this summer during the lockdown, while clearing about half an acre of forest on our property. There is nothing like sweating through the lockdown, burning a thousand calories an hour listening to a book like this! I was so inspired hearing what Mike Michalowicz had to say in these pages that I made HUGE business decisions because of it! The reality was that we had been doing a lot of things wrong in our companies (my partner and I), and I knew as the sweat streamed down my face and these words entered my brain that I had to work hard to fix those things, or ultimately risk losing everything we'd worked so hard for over the years. Like all of his books, Mike gives step by step, clear directions on how to fix what's going on in your company, and which things to fix first, then next, then next. If you're a business owner, or manager you need to read this (and all of Mike Michalowicz's books from the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur on).
I read this book a few years ago on my flights to and from Madison, Wisconsin for World Dairy Expo. I started it on my flight there, and was so intrigued by the idea of a company's internal procedures running like clockwork that I spent the week eating fresh (delicious) cheese curds, obsessively thinking about the implications of a company running with such precision! (I do get excited over unconventional things I admit) In the book Mike explains that it isn't necessary for us to be firefighting all the time in our companies, that we can have better lives and that a company can survive without our constant presence! Who would have thought!
This was the very first book I had read by Mike Michalowicz, after I finished I binge read his others that were available at the time - Profit First, then The Pumpkin Plan, then The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, then Surge and Fix This Next as he released them. These books have given me a solid foundation for me to not only build my own company on, but also to assist other companies in their journey to higher profitability and success. If you are an entrepreneur you need this knowledge in your head!
After I read this book, I immediately printed a picture of a purple cow, and pinned it above my computer on my office wall. I wanted to remind myself daily that everything I do needs to be remarkable.
Seth Godin tells a story of driving through the countryside and seeing a beautiful scene before him, rolling hills and green fields with cows peacefully grazing. He was struck by how remarkable and breathtaking the view was. Miles and miles later he realized that he was no longer affected by the scene, it was now boring. But, what if there was a purple cow in one of the fields? Now THAT would be remarkable!
So how do you keep your company remarkable? How do you stay fresh? Godin gives tangible ways to explore and create within your company to keep people seeing you as remarkable.
Almost a decade ago I read this book, at the time Facebook was steadily becoming mainstream, Twitter was growing rapidly. But, the idea of being able to create your own tribe was obscure at best. Seth Godin demystified the process of growing a following of loyal passionate individuals willing to go out of their way to promote your business.
We live in an era of constant communication, and the internet has eliminated the need for followers to be in the same location. People are drawn to likeminded people, they yearn for community and a tribe they belong to. Godin shows us how to build a tribe for our companies, and what to do to keep them.
Seth Godin wrote this book back in 1999, at the very beginning of the true digital age. Yet every word in this prophetic book is true today. My personal belief as a marketer, is that conveying a marketing message and distributing it to the masses is a great responsibility that we can not take lightly. We have a responsibility to not only create clear, honest messaging, but we also need to commit to refuse cramming information down the throats of the audience.
Godin clearly illustrates the difference between interruption marketing and permission marketing. The power of creating a loyal base of customers is immeasurable. Your company will benefit greatly from this shift in thinking!
The Icarus Deception
I can honestly tell you that this book is the most inspiring book I've ever read (other than the Bible I suppose). It undoubtedly changed the course of my career path and spoke to my artistic soul. I know that sounds dramatic, but as I think back to reading this book - probably in 2013 - I remember feeling freed of the restraints of what society wants us to believe business is. I realized that the corporate chains are not something that I have to carry through my life. I can perform business on my terms.
The Icarus Deception is based on the Greek Legend of Icarus, who's father made him wings but told him to not fly too high to the sun or the wax would melt and he'd fall to his death into the sea. The moral of the story being - play it safe, listen to the ones who told you the rules. Be obedient, conform. What has been largely ignored, is that he was also told to not to fly too low, because the water's surface would ruin the lift of his wings and he would be pulled into the sea. Godin reminds us that flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.
Because the safety zone has changed in our world, conformity is no longer the only road to success. Creativity and innovation is more valuable than it has ever been. Godin shows us how it’s possible to buck the rules and embrace your inner artist, and convinces us why it’s essential.