How To Be a Scientist In Your Business and Why It Helps


True confession: I was a scientist.

I say that because that's what I did two degrees in, and my early career was spent in that realm. I wouldn't describe myself that way anymore, but there is one thing about science that suited me perfectly.

I'm very curious. And my curiosity is both eclectic and broad. My innate curiosity has served me very well in business. It can serve you too.

The basis of all science is curiosity. "I wonder what would happen if... " is behind every discovery and exploration.

Business is like the experiments scientists do: you don't know what's going to happen next. You may have evidence from previous experience, or see what someone else has done. But until you try it, you won't know if it will work in your business.

That level of uncertainty can be so uncomfortable!

So let's lighten things up by taking a different approach. An approach that is based in science.

No need to turn in your comfy togs or your business attire in favor of a lab coat. This kind of experimentation can be done without all the scientist trappings.

It's also not at all as grim as the serious scientist in the photo. In fact, experimenting can be fun!


Begin by reframing your choices. Ask, "I wonder what would happen if... ", instead of, "Will this succeed or fail?".

Feels lighter already, doesn't it?

You don't have the weight of failure on you. Rather, you're simply asking a question. The answer, either way, will tell you something important.

All you're doing is conducting an experiment!


Now, ask your question: What would happen if [fill in the blank]?

What would happen if:

I reach out to this new potential customer group?

We add a pop-up on our website?

We create a process for how to handle customer complaints so that they are all addressed in the same way?

Visit the PIVOTAL resources on Creativity

Once you define your question, specify what you're going to observe and how long you'll observe.

Observations are the data that you collect that help you answer your question. These observations can be quantitative, monitoring numbers, like the response to your social media ads, or qualitative, like watching people's reactions when you talk about your core message.

You can have more than one way of collecting data. For example, you may want to track how many people lit up when you talked about a possible new offering, and how many remained neutral, as well as how many signed up.

Whatever you choose, be consistent about how you collect each kind of data.

Now start your experiment, and observe the outcomes.


Once you've conducted your experiment, it's time to analyze your observations, your data.

What are the data showing you? Look for trends. What do they mean? If you're not sure, that is the basis for your next experiment.

Don't be too quick to ignore outliers, those data that aren't what you expected and aren't aligned with the majority.

If you shared an offering idea with 10 of your customers and prospects, and 9 of them remained neutral but one responded with great enthusiasm, you may have identified a subgroup of people who would love that offering.

Your next experiments can involve learning more about this subgroup and whether they constitute a big enough group to make the investment of creating this new offering worthwhile.

Use the data you've gained to inform your decision-making or pose another question.


Here's one more thing about science that will help you in your business:

It's tempting, especially when things aren't working, to change 10 things at once. It's the scattershot approach, with the hope that something will work. Therefore, it's hard to know which one (or more) of the 10 things you changed made the difference.

One of the reasons marketing can be so frustrating is that it's often hard to project whether a marketing effort will work. That's because most marketing has many variables, things that are changeable in a way you can't control.

Instead, minimize the variables. Become more methodical. According to the scientific method, when you're conducting experiments, you only change one thing at a time. That way, when you get a different outcome, it's likely due to that one thing you changed. How clarifying that is!

It's the accumulation of data from multiple experiments that will start to fill in the story. For example, if you see a gradual increase in response over multiple social media ads as you show more videos of you talking, it suggests that people respond to seeing you and your energy.


Doing these experiments doesn't mean you can't be inspired and creative. Science is actually quite creative! Your creative ideas can be tested in one experiment at a time, to see if they have the effect you thought they would. Your creative ideas actually can achieve greater traction, because you know what's behind your success.

Keep experimenting and implementing to find out what works. As you conduct each new experiment, you move closer to clarity, which gives you an opportunity to increase your success.

Business is dynamic, ever changing. So, your experimentation will be ongoing. Using scientific principles can take some of the uncomfortable heat off of you as you experiment and explore.

Your curiosity will take you to some amazing places in your business, and you'll have more impact!

Ursula Jorch, MSc, MEd, mentors entrepreneurs starting their businesses and seasoned entrepreneurs in transition to create the business of their dreams. Her coaching programs provide knowledge, support, clarity, inspiration, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to empower you to reach your goals. Start with a free guide and other valuable info at  Photo by Lucas Vasques on Unsplash

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Business Inspiration from Marie Forleo

Be Unreasonable To Grow Your Business

How unreasonable are you?

Odd question, isn't it? I for one try to be reasonable most of the time, though my loved ones may not agree! Still, it's a worthy goal, right?

That reasonable approach doesn't always work. Sometimes, it pays to be unreasonable. On purpose.

Why? Being unreasonable in your goal setting can bring you to a whole new level in your business.

Don't just set a goal - set a 10x mega-goal.


Is this your reaction: Wha? I've got enough to do to reach the modest goals I've set.

If it is, that's the whole point. Setting modest goals may be holding you back. Big time.

Setting a mega-goal can launch you forward, waving merrily at those modest goals as you whiz by.

Here's how it works.

What would you do differently if your goal was to increase revenue 10x instead of 10%?

That's the point of 10x goals - to push the edge of ordinary, and to nudge you into thinking differently about your business.

It's true, setting nothing but 10x goals will drive you to distraction. You're best to have one or two mega-goals.

Make your mega-goal achievable by setting interim goals. The point is, your interim goals are very much informed by your mega-goal, and will be substantially different now that you're on the path to your mega-goal. It's a path that you wouldn't have taken if you hadn't set your 10x goal.

This 10x approach doesn't mean you should abandon all reason at the door. Continue to make your 10x goal, like every other goal, measurable, so you can determine if you're making progress.

Create short-term objectives that do make sense, all with your mega-goal in mind.

So how do you determine your 10x mega-goal? Simple.

Let's start with income. Say your income last year was $50,000. Your 2017 goal has been to increase revenue by 10%, to $55,000.

To get that incremental increase, you may have been planning some tweaks, some adjustments.

What if your goal was 10x rather than 10%? $500,000. Wow. That's a big leap! And it's not one you can take in one bound.

Instead, with that goal of $500,000 in revenue in mind, what would you need to start doing to get there?

Instead of improving your sales, your conversions, by a few percentage points, what would you need to do to shift that improvement by an order of magnitude?

Challenge yourself to come up with new ways to approach this heightened goal.

See how being bold opens you up to new possibilities?

And it's not just possibilities for your business. It's possibilities for you too.

So much of making more income and moving your business to a new level is changing yourself. In order to be the person who makes $500,000, you'll be different from who you are now. You'll grow.

Consider the ways you'll have to grow to be the businessperson who has a $500,000 business. What can you do, starting right now, to become that person? What would you have to learn? What skills would you have to develop? What mentoring would you need?

Having a business is so much about your own personal growth. Here's an opportunity to define for yourself where that growth is going, and how you can achieve it.

You may be tempted, if you've had a few setbacks, to be cautious in your goal setting.

Instead, be unreasonable! Mega-goals will give your business a mega-lift. Set 10x goals that will motivate you to more than you've ever imagined in your business.

Ursula Jorch, MSc, MEd, mentors entrepreneurs starting their businesses and seasoned entrepreneurs in transition to create the business of their dreams. Her coaching programs provide knowledge, support, clarity, inspiration, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to empower you to reach your goals. Start with a free guide and other valuable info at


Smart Ways to Use Your Business Card

Successful networking is "all in the cards" with these 4 strategies.

Your business card is one of the most valuable networking tools you have in your quest for increased referrals. Can you envision a reality where 20 to 30 people in your word-of-mouth marketing circle carry your cards and have them ready to hand to prospects they're actually qualifying for you? I certainly can, and am excited every time I hear someone say, "Let me give you my friend's business card; oh, and by the way, may I have him (or her) give you a call?"

The business card is the most powerful single business tool--dollar for dollar--you can invest in. It's compact, energy-efficient, low-cost, low-tech, and keeps working for you hours, weeks and even years after it leaves your hands!

Some of the things your business card does is:

  • Tell people your name and the name of your business
  • Provide prospects with a way to contact you
  • Give others a taste of your work, style and personality
  • It can be so unusual or attractive or strange or charming or funny that it sticks in the memory like a great radio or television ad
  • It can be reused, as it passes from person to person, giving the same message to each person who comes in contact with it

The two main functions of your card are to gain business from the person you give it to and to get your name out to other people with whom the first person comes in contact with via referrals. With that in mind, let's take a look at the most effective ways to use your business cards. (For a complete look at how to make an effective business card, read It's in the Cards).

Make Your Cards Accessible in Every Situation
In short, don't leave home without them! It's a great idea to keep a small box of your cards in your glove box, just in case you find yourself in a situation where you need more than you've carried in your pocket or purse. In addition to my jacket pocket, I tuck them away in my briefcase, wallet and computer bag, just to make sure I never run out.

Keep an eye on your supply. The time to reorder is before you're in danger of running out.

In addition to being sure you have your cards on hand, be sure that your networking partners always have your cards. Check with them regularly to see if they need more, and be ready to provide them with whatever quantity they say they need in order to promote you.

Seek Situations to Exchange Business Cards
There are many opportunities in which you can pass on your card to prospective clients and customers as well as referral sources you wish to develop. Some are obvious; others are not. Whenever you have a one-on-one meeting with someone new or someone you haven't seen for a while, give her your business card. At mixers and social events, be sure you have plenty of cards when you go in. These are good places to extend the reach of your network.

Conventions and trade shows are another great venue for exchanging business cards. The vendors at the trade shows are anxious for you to take their card--don't make that a one-way street. Be sure you give them your card as well.

When you visit a non-competing business that might attract the same people you would like to have as customers, ask if you may leave a supply of cards to be handed out or made available. In most cases, a business that's complementary to your own is always looking for a networking partner. An example would be a sports nutritionist leaving a stack of cards at a martial arts studio. Be creative and consider even bringing your own cardholder to leave out.

International meetings and events can provide an opportunity to give out your business cards. Consider having your card printed double-sided, with English on one side and the language of the host country of the event on the other side.

Contacts at a Distance
Whenever you communicate with someone in writing, send a card if it's appropriate to the occasion. Enclose several cards in every packet of sales material you mail out. Along with your thank-you note to the businessperson whose referral brought you a major contract, include a business card to replace the one she gave away, plus several more.

After any telephone call in which business was discussed, follow up with a letter outlining the main points of your discussion and include one or more of your cards. E-mail is a great way to follow up, but a letter will actually allow you to include your business cards.

Special Tricks of the Trade
When giving out your card, hand-write something on one copy, such as your cell-phone number, a secondary e-mail address, etc. This will give that particular card a greater chance of being held onto. Be sure you give a couple of "clean" cards to that person, as well, and ask your new friend to pass one on to a potential customer.

After you get someone's card and have ended your time with her, make notes on the back of the card to jog your memory about something special that'll help you remember her. Don't do that in front of her, or you run the risk of making the impression that you are "forgetful." If you need to record information immediately during your discussion, such as telephone numbers or other data not on the card, use one of your own cards. You don't want her to think you view her card as scrap paper upon which to take notes.

At a restaurant, leave your card with the tip and write a personal thank-you note on the back or pay the highway toll for the Mercedes behind you, and leave your card for the driver!

The main thing when handing out your card is to keep in mind what an effective tool it can be. Take maximum advantage of its full potential. And never, ever, be caught out without it. And if you need a referral to a great graphic designer and printer, contact me--I have just the card for you!

Dr. Ivan Misner is's "Networking" columnist and a New York Times bestselling author. He's also the founder and chairman of BNI, the world's largest referral organization with thousands of chapters in dozens of countries around the world. His latest book: Business Networking and Sex: Not What You Think.


Working well with others


A 20-year study at Stanford University examined the career paths of thousands of executives to determine the qualities they had developed that enabled them to move ahead rapidly. Researchers concluded that there were two primary skills that were indispensable for men and women who were promoted to positions of great responsibility.

The first was the ability to function well in a crisis. It was the ability of the executive to keep his or her cool when the company or the department faced serious challenges or setbacks. It was the ability to calmly analyze the facts, gather information, reach conclusions, make decisions, and then mobilize other people to respond effectively and solve the problem.

The second skill these fast-trackers had developed was the ability to use their knowledge and talents to contribute to the success of a group of people in accomplishing a specific, common goal. In other words, they knew how to function well as a member of a team.

In this sense, you and your spouse are a team. When you volunteer in any charitable organization, all the people you work with are members of a team. If you have a social circle and you plan activities together, you are functioning as a team. And, of course, you and your coworkers make up a team.

Over the last few decades, the concept of teamwork in business has been evolving.

We came out of World War II with a strict "command and control" mentality. Most of the heads of American corporations, large and small, had been military officers, of various ranks, during the war. They brought their training into the workplace. Their approach to management was the pyramid style, with the president at the top, the senior executives below him, the junior executives below them, and so on - all the way down to the workers and support staff who made up the base of the pyramid. The orders traveled in one direction: downward. Information filtered up slowly. People were expected to do their job, collect their paycheck, and be satisfied.

However, with the advent of the computer age and, thus, the increasing complexity of even the smallest business operation, this management approach is changing. Just about every employee now has critical skills and knowledge that contribute to the overall success of a business.

For example, in our office, our receptionist has been promoted to the position of "front-office manager." Some years ago, when I started in business, the job of the receptionist was to answer the telephone and direct the callers to the appropriate people. Today, however, her job is far more complicated.

Since she is the first contact most customers have with our business, her personality and temperament are extremely important. The prospective client who telephones begins forming an impression of us the instant the telephone is answered. Then, because we do so many things, she must tactfully ascertain exactly how the caller may be best served and who to direct the call to. She also handles requests for further information and follow-up phone calls.

Her ability to handle these calls effectively, to direct calls to the right people, to take accurate messages, and to act as the core person in a network of communications, makes her job so important that it is essential for her to sit in on all staff meetings and be aware of everything that is going on.

Your job, too, probably requires you to know a lot about what is going on in the rest of the company. And the fastest and most accurate way of keeping current is to develop and maintain a network of contacts, an informal team of people within your workplace who keep you informed and who you keep informed in turn.

The old methods of command and control now exist only at old-line companies, many of which are fighting for their very survival. Today, men and women want to thoroughly understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. People are no longer satisfied to be cogs in a big machine. They want to have an integral role in achieving goals that they participated in setting in the first place.

If you want to achieve anything of consequence in business, you need the help and cooperation of lots of people. Your main objective should be to structure everything you do in such a way that, because you are constantly cooperating and working well with others, they are continually open to helping you achieve your goals as well.

Remember, in all your interactions with your team, to be supportive and helpful. The best team players I have ever seen are those whose comments to the other members of the team are in the form of suggestions on how things can be done better. The best team members are always offering to help other people after the meeting to get on top of some aspect of their work. This focus on collaboration and cooperation is seen by everybody and marks you as a person to be both liked and respected.

Many men and women have kicked their careers into the stratosphere by taking on a small responsibility and doing such a good job with it that they came to the attention of important people both inside and outside their organizations.

Author:  Brian Tracy


Get Your Head In The Clouds: The Benefits of Cloud Technology For Small Businesses

Cloud storage is seen by many as a modern convenience that is helpful only on a personal level for dealing with multiple computers. This is false in both regards.

The concept of cloud computing was actually created in 1969 by prominent inventor J. Licklider, while mainstream integration of the product was completed in the late 90’s and early 00’s by and Amazon. Clearly, this idea has been tried and tested through the trial of history.

Cloud technology can also be incredibly helpful for both individuals and small businesses. In fact, 64% of small businesses already use at least one piece of cloud-based software according to a survey taken by BCSG.


The most important effect that implementing cloud technology can have on your small business is increasing your efficiency. No matter what business you are involved in, whether it is a legal advice service, reseller, or even software development, using cloud storage for your files will increase efficiency.

Cloud storage increases your capability to work as a team on documents and files. Collaboration is made much easier of every person working on a project can easily change a document, and the rest can easily track what changes have been made and potentially reverse them if needed.

Additionally, cloud storage of files enables you to easily outsource tasks to freelance workers or give your employees the ability to work from home when necessary. This will increase your productivity and help with any morale problems.


Investment in cloud technology will also help you to reduce costs for your small business. Global IT spending is predicted to reach over $3.5 trillion by 2017, and a large part of this is produced as result of every business having its own dedicated IT system and help team.

You can avoid this inherently inefficient practice by using cloud technology for your business. There is no shortage of services dedicated to providing small businesses with cloud technology, especially cloud storage, and giving you support alongside.

This availability gives you an opportunity to minimise your IT costs, while retaining a similar level of support and make your business more efficient. Even in a simple event like moving offices, you will reduce moving costs by minimising physical servers that you need to transport.

Disaster Prevention

Cloud storage for your files can also provide you with stable storage for you data, especially in the face of potential disaster. 4.6 million data loss episodes are estimated to occur every year in the United States alone, and without comprehensive backups for your files any of these incidents could cripple your small business.

If you use cloud storage for your small business, it is easy to recover from any major data loss incident. This includes simple computer failure and physical disasters such as fires or flooding. All of this, for a fraction of the cost of having a physical backup and higher levels of convenience.

Overall, it is clearly a good idea for your small business to invest in cloud technology. It will give your business a level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness that cannot be otherwise achieved, alongside cheap yet good quality data protection on external servers.

Article by Jackie Photo by lionel abrial on Unsplash


Upgrade Your Business With a Mobile-Friendly Website

We all know that times are a-changin’. That means many things for your business, and keeping it modern and up to date is absolutely critical for long-term success, especially when considering the harrowing fact that 90% of new businesses do not stay afloat. One of the most significant developments to take into account is how we actually view websites. A very significant shift took place recently, when mobile web usage overtook desktops for the first time and now nearly half of consumers will not revisit a website if it doesn’t load properly on their mobile devices.

Google has repeatedly warned website-owners of this change, and now even offers a test where you can see if your website is mobile-friendly. If you do not pass the Google test, implement the following tips to make your business website mobile-friendly, and therefore both accessible and relevant.

Responsive or Adaptive

Before stepping into the future of mobile-friendly design, first consider if you want a responsive or adaptive web design. The former is when your website “responds” to the device it is being viewed on, and then adjusts accordingly. The latter is when you create different website designs to accommodate different devices. While there are pros and cons to either option, most mobile-friendly websites incorporate responsive design. Make your choice.

Mobile-Friendly Templates

Regardless of how many interesting features your website may have, none of them are relevant if people cannot actually access them. It makes sense to start with the basics, which is your overall website template. No matter when you first launched your business site, there are so many designs available now that are created specifically to provide practical usability for mobile access, and the best part is, you never have to abandon desktop users, as the designs are meant to look great on any viewing platform! Upgrading your design template may even result in a fresher looking overall website too, which is always a plus!

Use High-Resolution Images

It’s not only the scale of a website that’s affected by the use of mobile devices - fortunately or perhaps unfortunately, so is picture quality. Just as you can now see a world of difference when watching television in HD, the same applies to photos on newer phone models. Considering the rise of high-definition screens, pictures you use on any professional website must be extremely high-resolution to avoid appearing pixelated or blurry, and therefore unprofessional, on mobile devices.

Never Settle

Never stop refining your website. There are so many add-ons and features being developed constantly, and by using and incorporating them, you can keep giving your website mini makeovers. Becoming mobile-friendly is the new standard. Keeping your website hip and modern is an ongoing process.

It doesn’t matter what your website is about - a restaurant, a bakery, a tailor shop or a business blog, if you want it to remain successful in this ever-changing world, you must adapt to stay relevant. With the constant increase of mobile users, make sure to follow the above steps in order to upgrade both your website and your business.

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash,   Article by Jackie

Analyticals don’t rule (But they do ask questions)



Pivotal analyticals don't rule


Two questions.

Question #1: When was the last time you sat down and listed all the things that people suspect or misunderstand about your organization?

Question #2: Do you depend on statistics to make your case? Maybe you're keen to send out an annual appeal letter lavishly buttered with service stats? "Our dedicated staff of eight plus our 27 volunteers delivered 1,892 evening meals to 1,230 addresses in six counties, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year." The McDonald's approach: 22 trillion served.

If your answer to the first question is "never," and your answer to the second question is "certainly," then it's time you learned more about "the Analytical," one of the four personality types you'll encounter in every audience - in every brain, in fact, including your own.

[The other three personalities? The Amiable. The Bottom-Liner. The Expressive. More about these in upcoming newsletters. Let me just say this: speaking to all four personality types is ESSENTIAL to successful communications. But I digress.]

The Analytical is an information glutton who feasts on documentation and statistical evidence. Sounds good? Not really. Because the other thing you should know about the Analytical is this: he/she is bad at making decisions.

My point? I have two.

First: Don't waste too much time on Analyticals. Analyticals represent just 25% of your audience - and they're the 25% who can't make up their minds. (There is one important exception to this rule: answering objections. See below.)

Second: If you hope statistics will persuade people to give your organization money, prepare to be disappointed. Statistics are weak persuaders. They aim for the head, not the heart, and leave donors cold.

Focus on the other three personality types. They are 75% of your audience. They are just fine at making decisions. But - warning - they will NOT be moved by a wall of statistics. Statistics are unemotional (not good for the Amiable), abstract (not good for the Expressive), and too easily misinterpreted (not good for the Bottom-Liner).

But let's return to the Analytical and the issue of answering objections.

Here's how the Analytical part of your mind thinks.

A recent survey asked donors to guess how much charities spend on administration (salaries, fundraising, etc.). Donors were extremely pessimistic. They guessed that 60% of every dollar they gave went to administration. I was amazed: even though these donors were willing to give their hard-earned money, they remained more than a little cynical about the good intentions (or efficiency, anyway) of the charities they supported. Guilty until proven innocent, was the essence. Imagine what these donors might give, if they knew that the charity actually only spent 15% on administration and 85% on changing the world for the better?

Why were they so sceptical? Has everyone lost their faith in the basic honesty of others? Nope. (Well, actually they have, according to the research in a bestseller called BOWLING ALONE. But that's another discussion, best savoured with beer.)

Doubts and objections are just garden-variety human nature at work. You don't think our species became so grotesquely successful by being gullible, do you? Doubt played - and continues to play - a vital role in species survival.

Be prepared. Any communications - your newsletter, Web site, brochure, and certainly your fundraising appeals - will awaken the Analytical response in readers, especially in people who don't know you well.

And the Analytical part of your audience comes well-stocked with suspicions and doubts (read: misconceptions) about your organization.

How much of every dollar that is donated to a food bank actually ends up feeding the hungry? Is that self-satisfied community foundation really just a club for rich folks? Do all the fancy theories behind a charter school truly cause kids to learn better? Does that in-prison counselling service end up coddling criminals? Are zoos really just "animal prisons" by another name? You get the idea. Your only defence is to answer objections early and often.

HINT: One of the best ways I know to get doubting Analyticals on your side is with testimonial. The Jewish Rehabilitation Center for Aged of the North Shore (MA), a nursing home, fills the margins of its brochure with reassuring soundbites like, "We never considered anyplace else for our parents." The National Parks Conservation Association (DC), which raises some of its income through guided tours, runs in its catalogue signed notes from recent customers: "I probably learned more on this trip than any I've ever been on. The guides were exceptional, patient, even-tempered, knowledgeable and FUN."

Got testimonial? Use it.


Author:  Tom Ahern for  When You Need a Great Case for Support.  For capital campaigns of note. “Tom Ahern … is one of the country’s most sought-after creators of fund-raising messages.” Download his new eBook here


Create Your Own MBA Program

Pivotal university mba


Many small business owners are typically self-taught in the ways that make them successful. Most small business owners do not have an MBA, which actually is a good thing. Formal business education, specifically the typical MBA program, is geared more toward the large corporate environment and not the small business environment that agency owners operate in.

So, how would one design a two-year MBA program for the small business agency owner? The program is based on a trimester system and the students are required to read a book a month for two years. There will be six areas of study, with a bonus session to allow a concentration for the insurance industry. By the end of these two years, students will have the right information to operate a small business and be successful.

The key purpose of this program is to accelerate through the learning curve. Much of the information the students will learn has been around for a while and it works. Successful business owners do not re-invent the wheel. They take a proven idea and adapt it. This cuts out the time and expense of having to learn it on their own.

1. The first trimester focuses on understanding one self and others. What skills and knowledge are needed to be successful? All of these books are classics and three of them have been around for over 75 years. In order to be a great business owner, one needs to understand themself, as well as understand how best to relate to other people.

· 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Steve Covey

· How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

· Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

· The Richest Man In Babylon by George S. Classen

2. The second trimester is an introduction to business and the philosophy of business. Most small business owners got into their business because they were good at what they did. Michael Gerber created the mantra of "Work on the business and not in the business," so his book is a must read. The other books will round out one's understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur and small business owner.

· The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

· Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It... and Why the Rest Don't by Verne Harnish

· Rework by Jason Fried

· The Personal MBA: Master the Art of businesss By Josh Kaufman

3. Sales and marketing is covered in the third trimester. The books in this session will go from the big picture of sales and marketing to the nitty-gritty details of how to do it. Sales people will like the books by Schley and Holmes and the marketing folks will hone in on the books by Heath and Gladwell.

· Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Don't by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

· The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

· The Micro-Script Rules: It's not what people hear. It's what they repeat... by Bill Schley

· The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

4. Welcome to year two! The fourth trimester is all about management and leadership. Satisfied employees are critical to the success of a business. Some people are natural leaders while others can be great leaders with some training. The material and ideas in these books are practical and easy to learn.

· The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spenser Johnson

· The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams

· The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell

· Drive by Daniel Pink

5. The fifth trimester focuses on an area that business owners easily get or perpetually struggle with - economics and business financials. Even if it is a turn off for some small business owners, it is still important that the basics are understood. Accounting is a subject that does not translate well to books, so that subject will be covered using online videos. There are many free videos that will cover both the basics and the details of accounting.

· Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy and Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell

· Financial Intelligence A Manager's Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean by Karen Berman and Joe Knight

· Various online videos on accounting

6. Now that the business is running, what is next? A successful business is not static; it undergoes constant change and improvement. The sixth trimester introduces philosophy of change and techniques on how to re-think the business operations.

· Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

· Who Moved My Cheese by Spenser Johnson

· What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

· First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt W. Coffman

Congratulations! Reading these 23 books will provide information more valuable to the small business owner than taught in most MBA programs! Graduates of this program now have the skills and knowledge to be even better business owners. Some graduates might want to continue on to a concentration within their industry.

Formal education can be valuable. However, the stereotypical small business owner has neither the time nor patience to attend an MBA program. There is so much good information that all business owners can easily have a customized "MBA Program." So, crack open a book, turn on a kindle or plug in some ear buds, school is in session!

Bill Schoeffler is a business consultant and coach with 20 years of experience working with small business owners and individuals. Bill's unique background includes engineering, financial analysis, and inter-personal skills.

He can be reached at (707) 324-5531 or You can find out more at