Rather than just recommend a single book, I’m going to recommend one of my favorite business authors and good friend John Jantsch, and the three books he has written.
The first book John wrote, “Duct Tape Marketing,” is aimed at the small business owner who wants to do his or her own marketing. In “Duct Tape Marketing,” John clearly lays out a system for any small business to greatly improve its marketing effectiveness. This book is what I would consider a foundational book, giving you lots of nuts-and-bolts, how-to ideas and processes for understanding your ideal customer, creating a targeted marketing campaign, establishing a budget and marketing calendar, implementing the campaign successfully and then following up to assess the effectiveness of the campaign. If you want to try to tackle the marketing for your business on your own, this is exactly the right book for you.
The second book John wrote is entitled “The Referral Engine” and is absolutely one of the most useful and eye-opening business books I’ve ever read. Like many of you who are reading this, my entire business is built on referrals, and I thought I understood fairly well how to get them. But after reading “The Referral Engine,” I realized how little I knew about creating a truly effective referral system that would generate consistent high-quality referrals for my business. In this superb book, John lays out a step-by-step process for getting your ideal customer to: find you, like you, trust you, buy from you, repeat buy from you—and then become a referral engine for sending you lots more ideal customers. If you depend on referrals for growing your business this is a must-read book in my opinion.
John’s newest book, “The Commitment Engine,” focuses on how to create committed long-term customers and fully engaged employees. As John said, “Have you ever encountered a business where everything felt effortless? The experience was perfect, and the products, people and brand worked together gracefully. You made an odd request; it was greeted with a smile. You went to try a new feature; it was right where it should be. You walked in, sat down and felt right at home. Businesses that run so smoothly as to seem self-managed aren’t normal. In fact, they are terribly counterintuitive, but terribly simple as it turns out.”
His strategies for creating such a company include:
- Build your company around a purpose.
- Understand that culture equals brand.
- Lead by telling great stories.
- Treat your staff as your customer.
- Serve customers you respect.
As with John’s first two books, this one is extremely well-written, with lots of examples, tools and how-to advice. I was especially fond of this book because I have long understood that the No. 1 factor of creating highly engaged, satisfied and loyal CUSTOMERS in your business is the number of highly satisfied, engaged and loyal EMPLOYEES in your business, and that an organization based on a strong, vivid and meaningful purpose is exactly the sort of organization that attracts top talent and creates wildly enthusiastic customers. If you are looking to create more commitment from your employees and customers, then “The Commitment Engine” is a great book for you.
John Spence is the author of “Awesomely Simple – Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action,” and has twice been recognized as one of the top 100 business thought leaders in America and one of the country’s leading small business influencers. John has also read more than 100 business books a year since 1989. www.johnspence.com