It’s 2007. With the holiday slowdown in December I had time to look at the status of my business operations. I’ve decided that it is time for a change. There are 3 aspects of my business that I looked at:

  1. Lead generation / networking
  2. Sales
  3. business structure

It is interesting how things workout. I received a letter in the mail from a business broker. A business broker is like a real estate agent. They can help buy or sell a business. I was thinking that it might be worth while to look into buying a business with complementary services and customer base. I called the the broker, James Janota, to make an appointment.

We talked for a few hours about what I wanted to do and what I was expecting to get out of the deal. We decided that what I needed was capital. He had the name of a banker and suggested that I meet with her to discuss options.

Maybe a week goes by and I get call from Cary Carson, the banker. As you might expect we talked for a bit. It looked like with the plans I have and some of the things I’d like to do, a business line of credit would help me float some of the expense at a lower interest rate than a credit card would. In addition, she suggested that I should talk to a business coach to help focus my plans. I resisted. My idea of business coach was someone well versed in all aspects of how a business should be run, ideally. I imagined that I would be shelling out a lot of money for suggestions that would cost me more money to implement. Ultimately chose to open my mind to the idea and at least talk. His name is Don Stephen.

Don and I talked. He asked many pointed questions about my business, do I have a marketing plan, do I have an exit plan… etc. Exit plan? We talked more. By the time we were well into our conversion I noticed that he wasn’t trying to sell me on his services. By the end of the conversation I had set an appointment with him to talk more about what he had to offer and to buy a copy of a book called, “The Business Coach” by Bradley Sugars for fifteen dollars. I could have bought it online for less but figured that it was as good a reason to meet with Don as any.

We met a few days later at a coffee shop. I had my fifteen dollars in hand when Don told me that the book was a gift since I agreed to meet with him to discuss is services further. Now, I did some of my own homework on “The Business Coach” by Bradley Sugars. I found a testimonial from Al Ries, “What Tony Robbins has done in personal motivation, Brad Sugars has done in business coaching…” Basically I was sold. We continued to talk.

I had one of those “Ah Ha!” moments, when Don was talking about using the chamber of commerce to network. At first I was like, “What networking?” ( Networking is one of those things that people talk about, think they understand and then do not do it because they do not understand what is meant by networking. ) Then he explained that the idea of networking at the chamber is not to walk out of the room with an order or an appointment. When you are networking you are letting other people get to know you and what you have to offer. You are building a relationship so when they need what you have they call you or when you call on them they will take your call. Maybe this is obvious to everyone else but at the time I had to say “Ah Ha!” I was never explained to me. Marriage and babies have bits of information that are also omitted by those that have been there, like the famous, “Your life is going to change.” No one ever said that it was going to be like this. It was never qualified, ever.

So Don goes on to say that the coaching franchise that he is a part of has issue a new book for them to read, “The Little Black Book of Connections” by Jeffery Gitomer. So I write it down. I’m thinking that if someone in his organization thinks enough of this book to issue it to their members then I should be looking at it too. It is difficult for me to find someone to suggest good business books. Not many people read them that I associate with.

So we wrap up our meeting. I thank him for the book and take off for the book store. Once there, I make a B-line for the business book shelf. What do you know “The Little Black Book of Connections” by Jeffery Gitomer is on the shelf cover facing out. Guess what? It is a little Black clothe covered book. Next to it was another book by Jeffery Gitomer, “The Little Red Book of Selling”. Yup, it is a little Red clothe covered book. I bought both.

So now I’m getting a crash course in how to structure and measure by businesses performance. I’m getting indoctrinated in the art of networking and finally I’m learning about how to sell or I should say, “Create a buying environment.” By no means am I saying that three book will make me an expert in any of these topics, but it will make a difference in how I attract new business and operate my business.

All this would never have come together if I had not kept an open mind to listen to what others around me had to say. These were complete strangers. Why was I able to get so much information from complete strangers? It’s actually in, “The Little Red Book of Selling”. They were all genuinely giving value first and not pressing for a sale now. It builds trust. It builds relationships.

This is what motivated me to take a closer look at my business. It is also what motivated me to look at what others are doing. It could have taken me years to learn the lessons these three books have to offer in a few hours of reading. As I complete each of these books I will write about my experiences and what I have gleaned from their writings. I hope that you follow along and make good use of this information.

For those interested:

  1. James Janota of Great Lakes Business Brokers 630-719-1300
  2. Don Stephen of Action International Business coaching 630-839-9136
  3. Cary Carson Fifth Third Bank Business Banking 630-955-2274

Please let them know where you heard about them.

  1. “The Business Coach” by Bradley Sugars
  2. “The Little Black Book of Connections” by Jeffery Gitomer
  3. “The Little Red Book of Selling” by Jeffery Gitomer