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Retail businesses are hitting their stride right now, with the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimating that Americans are going to spend more this holiday season than last. Consumers are anticipated to spend more than $1,000, on average, which represents a more than 4 percent increase from 2017.
With NRF believing that more than 164 million consumers were out shopping over Thanksgiving weekend, retailers are knee-deep in work to do. But that’s not the case for many businesses. B2B businesses often fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” category around this time of year. Leads decide to postpone decision-making until they have a new budget, while clients are often grappling with their own holiday rushes.
This isn’t all bad news, however. I love to take advantage of this slower period to boost my knowledge — I’m so busy during the remainder of the year that my book pile grows taller than me. But the holidays are the perfect time to gobble up others’ insights and set goals for the coming year. The best part? Unlike a smartphone, nobody will yell at you for lounging on the couch with a book.
Getting Smarter During the Slowdown
My favorite reads are ones that stretch me to reconsider how I operate my business or open my eyes to new opportunities altogether. When things are “go, go, go,” we have a tendency to keep our head down and knock work out, which isolates us and prevents us from being exposed to new perspectives.
These new perspectives not only help us see our world in different ways — and lend different interpretations to the things that happen to us — but they can also make us more resilient. Learning can help us get a fresh look at the feelings we have about stressful situations, which can make us more capable of handling them. And it’s safe to say that every business leader — in a busy season or a slow one — could use more resilience in this economy.
Here are six books to give you that new perspective:
1. “Marketing to Mindstates”by Will Leach: Speaking of busy seasons, we only find ourselves in one when we’ve done a good job of attracting our target audience. We spend most of our time approaching marketing rationally, but Leach explains that most of what happens in buyers’ heads is in their subconscious. His book aims to demystify this subconscious filter and explain how to bypass it, finding temporary moments of influence he calls “mindstates.”
2. “YouTube Secrets” by Sean Cannell and Benji Travis:Written by two massively successful YouTubers, this book explores how entrepreneurs can succeed on YouTube — either to make a living directly on the platform or to support an existing business. Covering their own decade of experience on YouTube, as well as interviews with more than 100 YouTubers, Cannell and Travis explore what profitable channels have in common.
3. “You, Inc.” by Travis Rosser: The knowledge economy is making it easy for budding entrepreneurs to leave their jobs and start courses online to earn a living. Like “YouTube Secrets,” this book highlights the different ways prospective or active entrepreneurs can transform their knowledge into revenue-driving businesses. If training teams is your entrepreneurial superpower, remote courses might represent a strong revenue stream.
4. “Buy Then Build”by Walker Deibel: According to many sources, 90 percent of startups fail, yet entrepreneurs still feel they need to start at the very beginning. Deibel feels a better strategy is to buy businesses already through the riskiest phase and grow them. The book explores how to find brokers, locate listings early, and navigate the acquisition process to bypass the starting-from-scratch period.
5. “The Connecting Leader”by Alberto Lopez Valenzuela: Lopez Valenzuela has crafted a guide to help leaders build authentic reputations with the public by being interconnected and transparent, as well as focusing on their contributions to society. As consumers gain more power in the business-consumer dynamic, it pays to analyze how some of the world’s largest companies have created value through their brands.
6. “Common Financial Sense” by Harris Nydick and Greg Makowski: This book sets out to make retirement investing obvious and simple. Nydick and Makowski tested their ideas with history grads to make sure their points and concepts were easy to understand; the book is aimed at teaching the basics of retirement planning and investing in the future. Because the book helps readers calculate what they need to save to live the retirement they want, this may also be a good recommendation for your staff.
Devoting my holiday reading list to books that will improve me as an entrepreneur and a leader can be tough — sometimes, after a hard year of work, all I want is to succumb to fluffy fare and let my brain take a rest. But I also know that this is the time when I can get a leg up on the competition going into the new year, and I have no intention of taking next year’s success for granted. You shouldn’t, either.
December 20, 2018 at 01:09PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs