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Be the Elephant: Build a Bigger, Better Business Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 1, 2007
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“[Kaplan’s] elephant strategy is right on the money.”—Daniel M. Snyder, Owner & Chairman of the Board, the Washington Redskins
Get big! A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Business Week bestseller, Steve Kaplan’s 2005 book Bag the Elephant helped smart businesspeople win and keep those all-important elephants—the big, make-or-break customers. Now Be the Elephant shows businesspeople how to grow their businesses and become bigger. Steve Kaplan has owned 35 businesses, sold 30 of them, and has consulted with more than 100 companies, helping them to grow. Be the Elephant combines dynamic advice, deep real-life experience, and a friendly, no-nonsense writing style to take the mystery and fear out of achieving significant business growth. Kaplan gets readers to understand, without blinkers or delusion, the exact nature of their business. He then shows how to define objectives, identify risks, and get the operation on solid footing in preparation for growth. There are tips on creating the right strategy; how to avoid the Scylla and Charybdis of business growth—grow too slow and wither, or grow too fast and lose control; how to create a timeline; develop the all-important USP—unique selling proposition; and avoid the Five Killer Mistakes that can ruin your company. The book is illustrated throughout, including, of course, the many faces of Nellie the elephant.
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A foolproof road map to success. Don't grow your business without it.
Nothing is a foolproof road map to success. That statement would have made me distrust the book from the outset.
As it was, I ordered the book from Amazon which meant I read the Amazon recommendations before the cover of the book. As you can see, I gave this a 4 star rating - so I obviously enjoyed it.
My 4 stars came from three qualities of this book.
1. It's concise - business books love to over-explain or try to micromanage their readers. Be the Elephant is less than 220 pages.
2. It provides tools - There are more than a few very helpful, simple tools for business analysis that I began using before finishing the book.
3. Website - the book is backed up by a website that has templates for the tools.
All in all, the book is built to quickly give people necessary tools to avoid failure. The tools don't guarantee success, but they go a long way to helping you avoid failure while also avoiding analysis paralysis.
So, even though I apparently don't recommend the cover quotes, the book is an excellent toolkit for small business owners.
He starts where most of us need to - the beginning - with an assessment of your current business. He provides a diagnostic tool as well as some basic analytic tools to help assess whether the company is actually READY to grow. If not, he encourages the reader to build that firm foundation first.
He then moves through the role of sales, mrketing, channel and profit analysis, risk assessment, vaule building tips and common mistakes. The whole approach is done in a writing style that any businessperson will understand and enjoy.
This book should be on your bookshelf.
I think that the book goes wrong in trying to be everything to all business owners. This is clearly a book for the beginner that has absolutely zero business experience. It would be a nice introduction to what can go wrong for an individual that is "thinking" of going into business for themselves. He mentions that you need to learn how to read the "numbers" of your business, but then there is absolutely zero explanation of what they mean. One could never look at a balance sheet and determine the next step for that business. Kaplan is all at the 50,000 foot level with no breakdown into any detail whatsoever.
However, this is not what the jacket or back cover portray. They give the impression that the statement (whether) "you run a $5 million consulting business or a three person bakery" then this book will help you. It will not. If you are running a $5 million business, you are so far past what this book has to offer that it is a waste of your time. I would not be so negative if the target market for the book would not have been portrayed as just about everyone with a small business.
If you are just beginning to look at maybe running a business or if you are contemplating joining someone in their business, then this book might give you something to think about on the negative side. However, if you are looking for help on next steps or trying to understand what to do help your current business, this will not help you in the least. You will not become the "elephant" by reading this book.