What books have you read recently?

Business owners benefit from reading great business books, here is my list of business books to be sure to read. (Please note, this blog contains affiliate links).

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Author: Stephen R. Covey

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators and parents— in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations.

4.5 of 5 Stars (4,534 Reviews)

Read more about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Personal Workbook

2. From Good to Great

Author: Jim Collins

The Challenge:

Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice.

The Study:

For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

4.5 of 5 Stars (2,128 Reviews)

Read more about Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

3. Rich Dad Poor Dad

Author: Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad, the #1 Personal Finance book of all time, tells the story of Robert Kiyosaki and his two dads—his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad—and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.

4.5 of 5 Stars (6,013 Reviews)

Read more about Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

4. Raving Fans

Author: Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles

“Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans.”

This, in a nutshell, is the advice given to a new Area Manager on his first day–in an extraordinary business book that will help everyone, in every kind of organization or business, deliver stunning customer service and achieve miraculous bottom-line results.

4.5 of 5 Stars (368 Reviews)

Read more about Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service

5. Built to Last

Author: Jim Collins & Jerry Porras

Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day — as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations. Throughout, the authors asked: “What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the comparison companies and what were the common practices these enduringly great companies followed throughout their history?”

4.5 of 5 Stars (359 Reviews)

Read more about Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business Essentials)

6. The 4-Hour Workweek

Author: Timothy Ferriss

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:

  • How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
  • How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
  • How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
  • How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
  • How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

4.5 of 5 Stars (4,818 Reviews)

Read more about The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

7. Speak and Get Results

Author: Sandy Linver

We’ve all known the “naturals”– people who can get up to speak in any business situation and make something happen. They get the budget approved, win the big account, get the group’s support at the weekly staff meeting. When the “naturals” finish speaking people believe– and act.

Now fully revised and updated, “Speak and Get Results” helps you to be a natural– helps you to get the results you want, by teaching you how to:

  • motivate your listeners to reach your result
  • choose an opening that targets your ideas
  • design visuals that support you, not sabotage you
  • use your body and your voice to express your energy, authority, and commitment
  • handle tough Q & A sessions, audience resistance, and even surprise media encounters

4.7 of 5 Stars (6 Reviews)

Read more about Speak and Get Results: Complete Guide to Speeches & Presentations Work Bus

Must Read Business Book - What books have you read recently? Business owners benefit from reading great business books, here is my list of business books to be sure to read.

*Article contains affiliate links.

As a mom of a one year old it is incredibly important that when I am working I know exactly what needs to be accomplished and I have a framework for completing the tasks at hand. I’ve always been fairly good at not procrastinating, but I won’t say excellent, at prioritizing the things I need to get done. However, working from home with my daughter has proven to be quite challenging over the course of the year! For one, you never know if the nap is going to go longer or shorter than expected. Then there is the constant distraction of her learning new skills and growing to be more independent. Many of our clients, may second guess our decision to have Mary Catherine home while I work, however one of our big goals was that she would not have to be in daycare for the first year. Trust me, now that she is 12.5 months old, we are now looking at other options!

I have found the following steps to be essential to getting high caliber work done on time.

Tip one: First prioritize your day.

The night before I always create a list of the things that need to be accomplished the following day. From this list I know what are the top priority tasks. This helps me figure out those top three things that my business would not function without and what I could potentially hand off to one of our contractors. One way to prioritize your tasks is through the Bullet Journal technique. While I haven’t implemented this, folks I know who have found it to be incredibly helpful!

Tip two: Keep track of filler tasks.

In addition to the tasks that I know need to get done on a specific day, I also know the tasks that are outstanding but don’t need to be tackled immediately. There are additionally things that need to be done every week, but the day doesn’t really matter quite as much. These items I call my filler tasks. Filler tasks work wonderfully if Mary Catherine sleeps later than expected or is happy playing by herself, but still needs me to check in on her every once in a while.

Tip three: Structure around naps.

This next tip is combining the tasks above. My day is structured where my goal during Mary Catherine’s nap  is to complete as many of the top priorities as possible. When she sleeps longer I can fill the time with filler tasks. Additionally, during other parts of the day when I can concentrate on multiple items at once, I do these filler tasks, as well.

However, at times if Mary Catherine’s naps are much shorter than usual, I’ll need to tackle my list once my husband gets home from work and finish up the top priorities from the day. The worst, as I’m sure many of you have experience, is when you have multiple days of short naps and it feels like nothing ever gets done! During these days I put away my computer and just focus on Mary Catherine and the dog – hello work on weekends!

3 tips to increase productivity as a working mom

We are often chatting with new business owners about their pricing. No, this doesn’t necessarily relate directly to marketing, however, it is important to make sure that your business aligns with the market rates and what you’re worth.

In business school we learned about various models to formulate your pricing, however in real life this can be a lot simpler then how the large corporations do it.

There are three, techniques that we often see businesses use. These include using your cost plus a margin, setting prices at the competitive rate, and just choosing a random value. Let’s look at each of these more closely to see how your business can benefit from utilizing them.

Your cost plus a margin

The process here is to figure out the costs of all components of your product or service and add a percent margin over this cost. if you are a dropship store or retail store this is often figured out for you. The wholesale business will often tell you a MAP pricing or minimal pricing that you can sell the product at or the typical MRSP.

If you have a product take a look at the sourcing costs, packaging costs, shipping costs, and admin costs. Add these all up and then increase the price to have a margin of between 30% and 50%.

For a service-based business, you can use a similar frame of thought. Except, rather than adding up the cost of the product, you’ll be adding up the time that it takes to complete all of the different requirements with in a proposal and multiply by your hourly rate. The first step here is to write a list of everything, and I mean everything, that you do for a given client with in that package. When we double checked our calculations for packages this way, we include things ranging from adding the SEO to a blog post, to adding Twitter followers, and costs that we incur with advertising expenses. Our team even built a tool that we utilize that takes into consideration the other pricing models, as well. For any new client, we build the proposal off at this template.

We are currently in the process of building this tool for other service based businesses as well! Please contact me if you are interested in learning more.

The next obvious question here is how do you figure out your hourly rate. You will want to calculate this a few ways. First is figuring out how much you’d like to make every year and how many “billable” hours you expect (or would like) to work each week. How does that hourly rate look? A little high? What about all the other hours you will work prospecting, marketing, and in business development?

If the hourly rate number is within your industry standards or low, rethink the assumptions that you made. Do you really want to set your goal that low? We also always recommend brainstorming other ways that you can bring income into your business that doesn’t require your time and energy.

Competitive pricing

Competitive pricing is taking the same prices that your competitors use for their business. It’s often an easy way to get started, however, it can also tie you down. Before you simply choose the same price as your competitor, think about your brand. Do you want to be the lowest cost alternative and maybe get more volume? Or do you want to be seen as a luxury good or service?

The same product can be sold at many very different price points depending on how you position your marketing and your brand. Being mindful of this when you first roll out a service will help you with optimizing your marketing strategy and type of client.

Before simply researching what rate the others are charging, first decide if you want to position yourself as low-end or high-end.

Choosing a Random Number

You know your industry, so you may have a gut reaction or sense of what you should charge for your product or service. While I don’t recommend choosing a random number without doing research to back up your decision, often times you will be in the right ballpark. Just work your way back through to make sure you won’t be losing money in the long run!

What’s Missing?

None of these methods include the value You bring to the table. Sure you can build that into any of the techniques, but it often is overlooked. We once were hired to fill out keywords, meta titles, and meta descriptions for a site with over 40,000 listings that needed to be cataloged. I was to create the initial batch and teach their intern how to complete the remaining 39,900. The page content was all in a spreadsheet, so I created a variety of IF functions and a legend to combine different characteristics of the page to automatically create the SEO information directly on the sheet. An hour getting the formulas working properly and teaching the intern how to replicate the functions saved the company an estimated 100+ hours. In hindsight, I should have learned more about their project and charged based on the value I was bringing to the table.

How did you decide to set your pricing structure?

setting your pricing for business

1. Avada | Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme by ThemeFusion
$60

avada theme for photography

Sometimes it is overwhelming having so many different ways to customize this theme! WooCommerce, as expected, works great with the Avada theme and offers many different ways to view products and collections.

2. X | The Theme by THEMECO
$65

X Theme for Photographers

Any business should consider the X Theme. Which wonderful support, if you have any questions, this theme has someone the quickly answer them. Take a look and see for yourself how the X Theme can transform your eCommerce store!

3. Enfold – Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme by Kriesi
$60

Enfold theme for photography

We’ve been in love with Enfold for a while now, and for eCommerce, this theme continues to outperform others. The new layout editor offers demo designs you can upload and it is incredibly simple to update specific elements in the theme options. I don’t think we will ever grow tired of how easily Enfold integrates with WooCommerce.

4. uDesign – Responsive WordPress Theme by AndonDesign
$59

uDesign WordPress Theme

uDesign offers WooCommerce integration for easy eCommerce set up. It’s a wonderful theme for high-end SEO, mobile friendly design, and over 2,000 fonts to choose from for extreme branding and customization!

5. Flatsome | Multi-Purpose Responsive WooCommerce Theme by UX-themes
$59

Flastsome WordPress theme ecommerce

Like the other themes listed for eCommerce, Flatsome allows for incredible customizations, is responsive, and offers fast page-load speeds. If there is a demo your like, you can copy these page layouts to customize in one click, which make it easy to get up and running quickly.

What about other CMS platforms?

And, of course, please take a look at Shopify. Shopify truly is an incredible interface built with eCommerce in mind. The back end is structured a little differently from WordPress, but you will quickly learn to love the interface! Unlike using WordPress and WooCommerce, Shopify can handle payments on your behalf or run through PayPal, Amazon, or other merchant accounts. It is a breeze to keep your store running with Shopify.