Today we will talk about where to learn how to run a business.

First I’m going to share with you the very best business books that I read that helped me build an INC 5000 company from home. Next I’m going to share with you what I learned by giving a business guru a hundred thousand dollars for six hours of his time. Lastly, I will share with you what I would do differently if I was starting out right now.

First of all, I want to help you out with something: you don’t have to know everything to get started. I definitely did not. There were so many things. I didn’t know and to be honest, I don’t know that I should have known them. The big mistake that I see people make is they get into this learner mode and they never get into doing mode. Believe me, you can spend the next 20 years of your life and only scratch the surface of the business things that you could know…or you could learn some concepts go start a business or implement it into an existing business and learn along the way while you build that business. You’re going to learn a lot more in the streets, a lot more in the business than you ever will from different books and things and so I just want to put you at ease. I would not get in that practice of learn learn learn learn learn learn, plan to do. Instead do learn, do, learn, plan to do, learn, learn, do, learn, that’s how it works. A lot of the things that I learned from different people running different businesses didn’t work for mine but I’m glad I tried it. I’m glad because I learned different lessons than I wouldn’t have, had I not at least tried. 

What are the best books to read?

Let me break down three books that I would suggest if you’re wanting to run a small business. Number one is The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. This is such a fantastic book. I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with Mr. Gerber, spend a couple hours with him and just wow! Razor sharp. Such a sharp guy. So let me give you the concept of The E-Myth (this should not take away from you getting the book, because I would definitely get the book. If you’re reading this post for this topic, you should get it.) The concept is the entrepreneur myth.

Who typically starts a business? Well usually there’s a specialist, a tactician, a strategist that they’re working for someone and they look at their boss and they think “what a knucklehead, I could do a better job.” They go from being the specialist at whatever they’re doing, whether it’s advertising or drafting or graphics or whatever and they think, I could do better than that guy, let me go start my business. What they don’t understand is as soon as you start a business you now have a lot of different roles. You’re not just the specialist anymore, you’re the visionary, you’re the disciplinarian, you’re the budget person, you’re all kinds of different hats that you may not be used to or you may not have expertise in or any kind of knowledge about at all. So what usually happens is the specialist goes from the job or the boss they didn’t like, working 40, 50 hours a week to going over here still doing the specialist job but they’re doing it 80 hours a week making less money per hour and they’re frustrated and that business very rarely lasts.

Michael helps you navigate that concept. He helps you navigate, what should you be prepared for in business? Being the visionary leader. Not letting your strength be your weakness because if you’re a business owner and you’re also the specialist, it’s very common that your strength is your weakness. You want to be the graphic person because you do it better than everybody else. Well hard to run a business if you’re in the nitty-gritty. You need to be delegating, you need to be letting 15 other graphic designers that may not be as good as you go do their thing. It’s a very powerful book and whether you’re in network marketing or you’re starting your own business, highly recommend it.

The second book (which was very influential and very helpful to me and it’s a little controversial… I’m just going to throw it out there) is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. She was born in Russia and saw her dad’s business get seized by communists. I think that that played a role in how she viewed producers and how she viewed businessmen. When I read this book (and it’s a very large book, it’s like 1100 pages) I read it in four days, because I literally couldn’t put it down. It was language I had never heard before. It was thoughts that I had but I’d never seen anyone echo back some of these thoughts. Very very powerful. Now it’s controversial because it is definitely not pro-big government and she labels out all the reasons why it’s a bad idea to have big government. Quite frankly we are seeing a lot of the things that she wrote about in the 50s come true today because of big government.

Why would I suggest this as a business owner? Well as a business owner you can, especially if you’re just starting, you can fall prey to people trying to pull you down and trying to make you feel bad if you start to run a successful business and she details a lot of that in her book. Highly recommend it. It’s something that if you go and read reviews online, a lot of those reviews they never read the actual book, they just don’t like the concept of being challenged. Highly recommend the book, it was fantastic and you will be absolutely amazed that it was written in the 50s because some of the pages could be pulled out of today’s headlines, highly recommend it.

Last book that I would suggest it’s called Scaling Up by Vern Harnish. Vern is the CEO of the gazelles corporation. I will warn you. This is a pretty dry book. Sorry, Vern. Sorry if you’re reading this post. It’s a pretty dry book but man, does it give you some step-by-step things to do. I’ll give you two quick concepts from it. Number one, he says the role of a leader is to make things easy. When I first heard that I’m like make it easy? Isn’t it be a role model or be inspirational? If you think about it, if you’re wanting to lead people, if you just made it easier for them to follow you or to do their job or to fulfill what they need to do…then pretty good advice actually. The second thing that I got from his book is the concept of team huddles. We used to always have communication issues in our company where this person didn’t know what this person was doing, this person had an issue that no one was responding to. So we implemented Monday through Friday team huddles. Every day at one o’clock, all of our our team (we have people in California, Canada, New York…all over) come together and have a five to six minute call and we know who’s working on what and are there any issues in any department. We do it in a very structured format which Vern teaches in that book. It was very, very helpful.

Let’s hear from you.

I would love to hear from you. What’s a business book that you have read already and how did it impact you? I would love to hear. I’m always looking for new suggestions. Have you read any of the three that I already mentioned? I would love to hear that too, drop it in the comments.

I gave a business guru a hundred thousand dollars?

Who and why did I give a business guru a hundred thousand dollars for six hours of their time? If you told me that a decade ago…. By the way 13, 14 years ago, I had lost it all with the real estate market crash. I was actually in foreclosure. If you told me back then, “hey, there will be a time where you give someone a hundred grand for six hours of their time.” I’m like, “uh-huh, right..” but let me tell you it was totally worth it. So, I gave Mr. Grant Cardone a hundred thousand dollars for six hours of his time. In hour one, in hour one, he gave me a different way to look at how we run our events. We do one big annual event every year and last year we had 6,900 people registered so it was awesome. It was so cool. He gave me a way to think about my events that was totally different than the direction that I was going and that first hour added a million dollars to my business that year and every year since. The reason I’m sharing this with you is as you’re on this road to learn how to run a business, it may make a lot of sense for you to save a ton of time and just hire someone or get a coach, get a mentor. That’s certainly what I’ve done to to learn a lot of shortcuts and to learn a lot from other people’s mistakes. I know that yes, everything is on YouTube and yes, there’s tons of free information out there and you know what? Sometimes free can be the most expensive option because they don’t tell use all the lessons in one hour. I got a completely different direction that to date has probably added maybe a total of four million dollars. Don’t be so nervous to invest in yourself and invest in your knowledge because that is the highest return of anything I’ve ever done.

What I would do differently.

Here’s the two things that I would do differently if I was starting out right now. Number one, I would be a lot better at tracking expenses and tracking productivity. You know for the majority of my business career, I have been the rose-colored glasses it’ll all work out and you know what? It did for a really long time and then we had a year where revenue was not where it needed to be and after some digging, we realized that we had ridiculous expenses that we didn’t even need. We had overstaffed, over committed and had all these different marketing things and different automation things that we weren’t even using that we were paying thousands and thousands of dollars a month to have. That’s something that I definitely would be better at or have someone in your team that’s good at tracking, track for you.

The second thing that I would do if I had to start over is and this is more on the personal side but it impacts the business and that is meditation. You hear me talk a lot about it here and on my YouTube channel, but that’s something that has totally eased my mind, calmed me down, made me a better person. A better dad, a better husband, better business person, have more ideas, so that’s something I would highly suggest you learn more about how to do. I am a big fan of Dr. Joe Dispenza. He spoke at our last event, he’s incredible. If you’re going to go that route, you’re wanting to learn meditation, definitely look him up. I’m not the meditation guru, I just follow the meditation guru which is Dr. Joe Dispenza.

Let us help you.

All right. I hope that this was helpful. If you would like more personalized help we actually have a free strategy call that you can opt into, here’s the link, If you’re just starting with your business, if you’re not really sure what your niche is or what the right approach is feel free to fill that out and one of our people will get with you. They’ll do a strategy session with you. There’s no obligation to purchase anything. We’ll certainly make you an offer, I promise but there’s no obligation. We will give you some guidance based on your specific situation and where you are and where you want to go. Click the link above and we would love to help you out.

Ray Higdon

Play Bigger. Make An Impact.

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