Books and Self-education

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Kamo1985, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. Kamo1985

    Kamo1985 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3 1
    Good morning all,

    Just wondering what resources people use for learning about business without wasting time learning the through their own experience?

    I have a business manufacturing detergents and plastic bottles, as well as a sizeable import/export arm to the business. I feel we are now heading from being a small business to a medium sized business.

    However, i find myself too often in the situation where when im looking at how to grow the business its often an educated guess at what to do next.

    Whilst i know there is no fixed blueprint out there to get me to the next stage, i am sure there there must be resources in what things to consider, what options are possible etc.

    I find most books on the internet are either gimmicky rubbish, or related to the tech industry.
    I have looked at MBA's but not sure what the value will be against a 30-50k investment.
    Online forums seem to be the go to place to find advice from real experience, but are often thin on details for obvious reasons

    Any recommendations for books that will help a manufacturing business grow? Whether it be financial/accounting related, lean methods or sales.

    I recently read "Distribution Channels - Julian Dent" and for me this was a real eye opener in how to organise our company internally, to offer a better sales package to our clients. It also helped us be more financially lean.

    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: Kamo1985 Member since: Feb 21, 2020

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    Forget all that bollucks
    You are already there you have built a business and your looking in the wrong place in your quest to find some tools to achieve what you want .
    You know your business and market better than anybody who has had their teeth whitened and wrote a book .
    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
  3. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,415 3,367
    Find a main library with a business section - not just books but reports etc. May need to go to a big city to find one.

    Make loads of notes.

    Your own trade bodies for the type of business may know of some publications. Or people to hire for a couple of hours of talk.

    Could be there are specialised consulting companies able to help you figure out what you need to do what you envision.
    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  4. AstEver

    AstEver UKBF Regular Free Member

    144 39
    You can check the bibliography on module descriptors of MBAs courses to get a list of proper (not pop-business) books.

    The other way of getting help in business and education is to use consultants, advisors, and maybe mentors but it is not going to be easy to find good ones among the swarm of pseudo business experts skilled only in purple prose. The good ones are usually expensive.

    As for a book recommendation that may be of interest to you check 'Business Development: A Market-Oriented Perspective' by Hans Eibe Sorensen. It is an academic, yet easy read, book with realistic perspective on business.
    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: AstEver Member since: Jan 10, 2019
  5. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Legend Full Member

    10,853 4,650
    A BRILLIANT question that had me scurrying into our library looking for my fav. reads (apart from PG Wodehouse of course!) These are not ABCs on how to expand a business, but on those things that are seldom taught in business schools. Only we know how to expand our businesses, but to do that, we must learn ourselves how to see the bigger picture and study the landscape into which we will grow.

    We are all heading into a world of turmoil and change. It looks as if the dollar is steadily losing its reserve currency status. The UK economy is in the same deep doo-doo the US is in - money printing, isolationism, growing inflationary pressures, protectionism, public and private debt mountains, inept government - the list goes on and on!

    For the past two or more decades, everyone and their mothers-in-law seem to have been setting themselves up as gurus, consultants, advisors, whatever and of course, then writing some book telling the world how damn clever they are. Ignore them and ignore MBAs and other useless courses.

    (Tip - never take business or financial advice from someone who has achieved less than you have! Or as music producer Mikey Most said to some women from EMI who was criticising his productions, "If you know so bloody much, where's your Learjet. Mine's at City Airport, but where's yours?")

    So here's a reading list in no special order -

    1. A basic knowledge of economics and here Wikipedia is the best place to start! I studied the subject and none of our textbooks (waaay back in about 49BC) were as good as Wiki!

    2. "What got you here won't get you there" by Goldsmith. A funky and thought-provoking read. Basically - the skills that get you from A to B are not the skills that will get you from B to C.

    3. 'Managing Talent' by Devine and Syrett. Dry but useful.

    4. 'Good Strategy - Bad Strategy' by Richard Rumelt. Great case studies in good and bad business decisions. I used to work for the Economist Intelligence Unit and so I got their books for free and I gave this one to all my friends (under the pretense of them being promotional copies!) - it's really that good!

    5. 'Ogilvy on Advertising' by David Ogilvy. The advertiser's bible. It is worth the sticker-price for Chapter Four alone! (How to run an advertising agency) That chapter also tells one how to run ANY company!

    6. 'Making Ads Pay' by John Caples. A dated look at direct mailing ads and what actually works and sells stuff - so ideal for today's online direct marketing world! Even if you do not want to write ad copy, this book will tell you why some ads work, whereas some others that look much more 'creative' and artistic do not.

    7. 'Negotiation - an A-Z Guide' by Gavin Kennedy. Keywords for negotiating are unfortunately laid out alphabetically, but it is worth reading despite that. Johnson's Brexit team failed to read this book, so that's why the UK got the deal it got. In a nutshell, preparation is everything when negotiating.

    8. 'The Ten Faces of Innovation' by Tom Kelley. A really interesting and fun series of examples of business people who have created great businesses by coming up with new ways of doing things - one of my very fav. books!

    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  6. billybob99

    billybob99 UKBF Regular Free Member

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    The dictionary is a good one.
    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: billybob99 Member since: Apr 23, 2013
  7. atmosbob

    atmosbob UKBF Ace Free Member

    4,675 1,118
    I agree with Jeremy. There are no good business books otherwise everyone would be a sucsessfull business.

    I have found that mind expanding books are better at giving a broad perspective.

    Just one you will remember for years afterwards. Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Written in the 1930s it explains Trumps popularity. Will make you question why things are the way they are.
    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: atmosbob Member since: Oct 26, 2009
  8. Kamo1985

    Kamo1985 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3 1
    Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply.

    For me also, the Toyota Way was also ground breaking for me, and probably saved me a few years of wasting time on wasteful business set up.

    From Good to Great by Jim Collins using case studies is a very high value book in my opinion.

    The amount of 'motivational books' is almost criminal, pages of just nothingness, pow, wow, crush this that and the other. Get out of here...

    I'll check out everyones tips, if there are anymore recommendations ill keep coming back and maybe its useful for other members who wanna brush up too :)

    Im also surprised there isn't a practical business channel which teaches people the things which are above the basics of businesses, how to fine tune your business etc. Bizarre in my opinion.
    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: Kamo1985 Member since: Feb 21, 2020
  9. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Legend Full Member

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    I am creating one on YouTube, but it's early days. Very basic stuff only so far - your question has got me thinking, how did I do it? I think everybody is different because every business is different.

    That said, the basics of delegation and scaling are the same.

    I'll have to put my thinking-cap on!
    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
  10. Kamo1985

    Kamo1985 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    3 1
    I guess youve seen the Valuetainment channel, fairly good, but a bit basic. The rest just seem to be top 10 this or top 10 that, bullet point BS, looking for clicks and likes. Good Luck
    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: Kamo1985 Member since: Feb 21, 2020
  11. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Legend Full Member

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    I've done a few vids (link in sig) but so far it has only been ultra-basic business-101. I started my first proper business - a music instruments shop - back in the late 70s, so I've been at this game for a long time. I noticed that most start-ups fail to understand most of the basics and so I dealt with that first. What goes into a business plan. What makes for a viable business. Where do business ideas come from (not done yet) and so on.

    How to expand a good business is a hurdle I have only had to jump over once in my life - and to be honest, only a select few reach that stage and even fewer get to the stages that come after that.

    The key is always to get the right people on board. I sold my business and started a lifestyle business that is now ready to go to the next stage (Deja vu all over again!) although we are in a holding pattern because of C19 right now. As I am 70, this is annoying - not many years left before I die of some ghastly illness that will annoy my wife, wither my bones and make my kids wealthy!

    (So far, I am totally healthy, but hey! We all gotta go sometime!)

    How to go from small to medium is one of the hardest jumps to make and you have asked one of the best questions ever on this forum - well, better than how to open a chip shop during the lock-down and "Should I buy a knitting franchise?"
    Posted: Jan 16, 2021 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013