Tag Archives: personal development

Personal Development & Business Start Up Reading

There are a number of books that I have been reading over the past year-and-a-half that have made a significant impact on my thinking and how I view what I do, what I say, the decisions I make each day etc. These were all recommended to me personally by friends and other people I have met at business meetings etc (NB. All book titles are linked to The Book Depository, what I consider to be the best online bookstore; most prices are heavily discounted and all delivery worldwide is free. I always use The Book Depository: I have never been disappointed and I always use them in favour of Amazon, especially because of the postage I save).

Creativity, Change & Innovation Titles

The Element by Sir Ken Robinson – In all great people there is a spark, an element which enables them to reach their full potential and become world leaders in their field. If we can tap into our element we can reach our full potential too.

Out of Our Minds by Sir Ken Robinson – Creativity is at the heart of talent and success and there is a ‘war’ for talent. Yet just about every education system around the world focuses on only part of intelligence; the intellect. This book is quite deep and very thorough. It explores the need for creative people, both now and in the future, and the need to engage our emotions, not just our reasoning ability as we help people to reach their creative potential.

The Heart of Change by Dan S Cohen – Dan Cohen looks at the process of change and how to manage it effectively so that we take people with us, on our side, rather than alienating them and forming enemies within our own companies. A number of real-life stories provide case-studies on how change has been effectively managed in a range of different situations.

The Ten Faces of innovation by Tom Kelley – Available in Hardback and Softback editions, this book by the General Manager of the World famous design company, IDEO. He explores the strategies they use to foster original thinking and addresses how to overcome the ‘devil’s advocates’ in our organisations.

Personal Development & Enhancement Titles

I Want to Make a Difference by Tim Drake – How to make a positive difference in your own life and the lives of others by changing your mindset. Making life better for your family, friends, colleagues and customers.

S.U.M.O Shut Up Move On by Paul McGee– Paul investigates how we can move from the pont of wishing to achieving. By taking responsibility for our life we can change our attitude, learn to seize opportunities and even respond to adverse conditions with a positive attitude. humorous and pointed all in one go.

Starting Your Own Business Titles

Anyone Can Do It by Sahar & Bobby Hashemi– The founders of Coffee Republic tell how they moved from day jobs to risking everything as they set-up the UK’s first New York style coffee house and how that expanded to become a top brand with over 100 outlets around the UK and employing over 1000 staff. The story as it was … warts and all.

The Small Business Start-Up Workbook by Cheryl B Rickman– This book leads you through the thoughts, processes and activities required to conceive and start your own business; step-by-step. As the title suggests, this is a workbook and therefore, it contains activities to undertake and checks to help ensure that all necessary bases are covered. Very practical, thorough and well thought-out.

Spare Room Start Up by Emma Jones – This is a really practical help on how to start up your own business ‘in your spare room’ i.e., working from home. Emma uses 3 key themes; business, lifestyle and technology to provide a base on which to build a home business, from scratch and at low cost. Well organised, easy to read, easy to pick-up where you left off.

Start Your Business Week by Week by Steve Parks– The attraction of this book is that Steve Parks breaks down the process of starting a business into week-size chunks, thereby making it accessible and less daunting. Checklists, tasks, targets and useful contacts all help to set-up your own business over a six-month period.

The White Ladder Diaries by Ros Jay– Journalist Ros Jay gives insight into how she set-up White Ladder Publishing with an emotional, touchy-feely quality. The book provides plenty of helpful advice and helps you learn from Ros’s mistakes, providing a diary of the lead-up to the first day of trading and beyond.

Setting Up and Running a Limited Company by Robert Browning – Tackling more specific issues surrounding establishing and running a limited company, this book answers many of the questions you need to ask in order to meet the specific requirements relating to a limited company. Appointment of Directors, accounts, shareholders, meetings, minutes and more; the book takes some of the fear out of these formal procedures providing practical help and advice.

The Financial Times Guide to Business Start Up 2009 by Sara Williams– Formerly ‘The TSB Small Business Guide’ this book has sold well over 1-million copies to entrepreneurs and business owners. A comprehensive guide to starting your own business this is a highly detailed book with lots of useful contacts and advice. Also works as an ongoing business reference book.

I hope these provide you with hours of reading and the help you need to get yourself and your business up-and-running, and to keep you up-and-running.

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False Economy

Our biggest asset is Our people.’

So boasts many a company.  But how much do they really engage with that statement.   Is it just another trite cliche, there to impress those on the outside?

One of the best indicators for how much a company really thinks about its people and how much it values them is how much it actually invests in them, demonstrated clearly by size of the budget assigned to continue their development, even when times are tough.

I have friends in a number of large, ‘innovative’, ‘people-focussed’ organisations whose first axed budget was for training and development.  All too often I’m told, ‘Stuart, there is no training budget this year. It’s been cut in the current economic climate.’

To me that really says, ‘As a company we don’t really value our people.’

We talk much about investing in people, supporting our staff, being people-focussed when in fact we’re anything but!

The most valuable commodities when times are hard are creative and innovative ideas which can only come from our people, not our products.   Those creative ideas not only help a company survive and save money in the hard times, they are the gateway to future expansion and success.

As one business author wrote, ‘Those companies with a survival mentality will die.’

It is those companies that really invest in their people who will reap the rewards, survive and thrive.

Perhaps some of our companies would benefit more from a cut in management during hard times so that the money they save can be invested in those who can change fortunes.

And perhaps then they would actually believe that their biggest asset is their people.