Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Whether you're thinking about starting a new business or growing an existing one, Ready, Fire, Aim has what you need to succeed in your entrepreneurial endeavors. In it, Masterson shares the knowledge he has gained from creating and expanding numerous businesses and outlines a focused strategy for guiding a small business through the four stages of entrepreneurial growth. Along the way, you'll learn the skills needed to succeed in this dynamic environment. Discover how to:
- Start a business from scratch and make it profitable quickly
- Keep a growing business growing
- Get other people to do almost all the hard work for you, so you are free to do the fun stuff
- Position yourself as an indispensable business builder, so you can enjoy a big share of the profits - even if you are only working part time
- Duplicate your winning strategy in several businesses so you never have to worry about "needing" any one of them.Over the course of his remarkably successful career, Masterson has developed dozens of businesses, including one still growing at $300 million. Now he shows you how to outsell your competitors by implementing innovative operational procedures to reduce costs and using the power of the Internet to reduce customer complaints and increase profits.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 10 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||February 25, 2008|
|Publisher||Gildan Media, LLC|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #3,312 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#13 in Small Businesses
#15 in Systems & Planning
#31 in Entrepreneurship (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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The two biggest ideas in the book are the importance of action (thus, the book title) and that going from zero to $100 million encompasses four distinct stages in the life of a company. Having read the Five Second Rule, 10X, and many other books, I knew the first point well. It's the second that I will focus on.
According to Masterson, each of the four stages of a business has different problems, challenges, and opportunities and requires different skills from the entrepreneur running the company. The stages are:
1. Infancy ($0-1 million in revenue)
2. Childhood ($1-10 million)
3. Adolescence ($10 million to $50 million)
4. Adulthood ($50 million to $100 million and beyond)
The stage that was the most interesting to me (because it faces many of the challenges my company, FiveFour, solves for business leaders at this level) is adolescence. Once a company grows to or near $10 million, the growth almost always comes with a new set of challenges.
At this size, there is at least one or two levels of management between the founder/CEO and the front-line workers who engage with the company's customers. Those employees do not have the benefit that existed in the first two phases of business growth - proximity to the founder/CEO. Companies that reach $10 million in revenue usually do so because the founder/CEO built a culture around taking care of the customer. With multiple levels of management, they no longer talk directly to every employee and are unable to directly impart their culture and expectations of how the customer should be cared for.
The way this usually shows up in a company is through disgruntled customers. Masterson writes: "The most important disconnect has to do with the priority you had established to make sure every customer would be handled with the utmost of care and consideration." The business is in need of a transformation. A transformation from focusing almost exclusively on customer acquisition to one that now focuses equally on customer retention. Masterson calls it customer service, but were he writing today rather than the mid-2000's, he would likely recognize that the customer experience is even more important.
The leader accomplishes this transformation by a focus on operations and training, communicating the vision, joint ventures and hiring stars and superstars. He's dead-on with that list, but a few of his methods are decidedly lacking. For example, to communicate the vision he advocates writing a monthly memo. To solve this communication gap that he has so accurately identified takes much more than a written letter once a month.
And it's behind that small defect that my larger problem with the book arises. Those memos worked for him and a client of his. That's 98% of what you get in this book: his personal experience as an entrepreneur. Masterson has no time for theory. The only time I can remember him quoting an organizational theorist was to disagree with him.
That's not a debilitating problem and it doesn't erase the good that comes from the book. After all, Masterson wrote it to impart what he learned from his entrepreneurial journey. But it is a limitation that the reader should be aware of. This book is just one source - a good one, but just one - and will need to be supplemented with other resources especially the further we get from the day it was written.
Section two of the book begins with one of the most important factors business people should know and don't. The question is, what % of time and money needs to be spent on selling vs. everything else. Masterson has the right answer. If people stop reading the book right here, they will have gotten their money's worth. Most people start a business thinking that the products and services are the focal point. There's no doubt they are crucial, but the focal point is elsewhere....
Page 57 has the most important piece of wisdom in the book...it's one of the hardest things for entrepreneur's to do, but one thing is certain, it will make or break you in business. Masterson is clear cut in his description.
The remainder of Chapter Four contains basic advice...that almost no one will follow and it will cost them their business if they don't.
Chapter Five, Masterson gives the reader his Optimum Selling Strategy. A very frank and transparent look at his personal marketing strategy and philosophy which I found thorough and easy enough to model for most of the startups I've helped with.
Next up is a discussion of writing copy. Not much is more important in business and Masterson does a nice job of laying out a solid strategy here.
As the book evolves, Masterson reveals what all those who are successful and respected in the information business know. You have to give a far more than you expect in return to succeed. There may be no greater truth.
It's hard in the short run to do this because people see themselves as working for "free." But the fact is that you are a farmer planting seeds. Masterson calls "The Hoarder" the person who wants to give others little so he has much for himself...and he dismisses the notion as insane (my word, not his).
The rest of the book is filled with useful tactics and strategies.
The book is worth far more than the price asked. One of the great things about reading a book written by someone with a...significantly large ego is that they tend to impress or try and impress you with what they know.
Fortunately Masterson does just that.
I don't know Michael personally though we've been in similar businesses for years. After reading this book a solid respect for his wisdom, intelligence and foresight has been solidified within.
I will recommend this book to all readers of Coffee with Kevin Hogan and particularly those who are thinking about going into biz for themselves.
Really well done, easy to read, perhaps life changing.
Author of The Psychology of Persuasion
The Science of Influence
Top reviews from other countries
I tried the published summary of the book and it convinced me that the author has a powerful message which I really needed to discover in full. So I bought the audio book, enjoyed it so much that I bought the hardback as well.
The book sets out to answer two big questions:
1) How do you start-up a business from scratch?
2) How do you take an established business to the next level?
It sets four different stages for the business (which I agree with) but I don't agree with the financial values quoted. I feel they are too big and generally I prefer to think about size in terms of the number of employees. I feel it's a better guide to the complexities involved in managing the business. The book goes on to look at employee numbers but I think there is an inconsistency between revenue and employees.
These levels are:
1) Infancy - just starting out - getting to $1 million in revenue
2) Childhood - the fast growth stage - from $1 million to $10 million
3) Adolescence - $10 million to $50 million
4) Maturity - $50 million to $300 million
The book focuses on the main challenge in each stage i.e. getting your first sales, adding more products to become profitable, developing systems and getting the business to run itself and continue to grow.
The book was published in 2006 and that's five years before Eric Ries published his book "The Lean Startup". Both have the united theme that the earlier you test your product idea with real customers, the better it will be.
Unlike the Ries book, this book focuses o the sales and marketing issues. It argues the entrepreneur must become the expert in selling, to such an extent that sales and marketing should take up 80% of your time. This isn't what many people want to hear but the product and service just need to be "good enough". Don't waste time on perfecting it in your eyes without selling. This is also the message from The Lean Startup where the concept of the Minimum Viable Product is explained.
With this in mind, the book explains how to develop your Optimum Selling Strategy (OSS). You just want to know how to sell your particular product in your particular market and you must not spread your learning and activities too widely on too many different marketing and selling techniques.
The Optimum Selling Strategy is based on answering four questions:
1) Where are you going to find your customers?
2) What product will you sell them first?
3) How much will you charge for it?
4) How will you convince them to buy?
This is the vital task in the first stage, infancy. Moving on to Childhood or the fast growth stage, the challenge is to identify, develop and sell more products. These two stages are were the vast majority of the text is focused. This is getting the business established and consistently profitable.
The author has interesting ideas in the Adolescence stage too but the final stage is glossed over in a few pages.
This is a great book and I recommend it very highly. I very much approve of the emphasis it puts on sales and marketing. As management guru Peter Drucker said, there is only one purpose of a business and that's to create customers. Quite simply, without customers there isn't a business.
There are some excellent marketing books available to read but too often they encourage you to try too many techniques too quickly. Once you have one method working, I certainly believe you should add a few more but getting that first method is critical.
Many of the stories from the book come from the author's experience in information marketing. He is one of the people behind the remarkably successful Agora publishing empire. However the concepts explained apply much more widely.
Paul Simister helps frustrated business owners who are stuck, get unstuck.
Without sales you do not have a business as cashflow is so important in the early stages just this first chapter alone has been an eye opener and worth the price of the book, I'm still going through but I've already paid for the price of this book a few times over already just from the information from these first few chapters alone.
Every type of business, at any stage, can benefit immensely from this book and I can't recommend it highly enough.
You'll save thousands of dollars, and precious time, avoiding the most common pitfalls, very quickly ascertain the viability of your ideas/products/services, how to upscale and expand when you find your winner.
This book is a complete attitude changer and gave me a much larger vision. Delivered with friendly humility, the reader is treated as an equal by an astounding achiever. Even if it isn't your goal to reach $100 million, or more, the blue print and principles are laid out right in front of you by a man who has done it over and over. It becomes no longer a matter of whether or not you can, but if you want to.
I have devoured dozens of books in this field, but this one is priceless. Full of practical measures that you can implement immediately, you will be thrilled that you made this purchase.
Foundational advice on building a $1million or more in revenue physical product business.
You can layer up with advice in Ready Fire Aim, with tactical marketing.