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With the holiday season upon us, there is no better time to relax, unwind and pick up a good book. If you are looking for some book suggestions that aren’t just entertaining, but that can actually teach you a thing or two, here are some of the best  business books to consider reading over the holidays. These books can give you some valuable lessons that you can utilize as you start 2017 off on the right foot.

1. Tools of Titans

This book by Tim Ferris a great read if you are looking for a book with straightforward tips that you can start utilizing. This book is also filled with different insights on habit forming and what habits today’s most successful titans have. This book is a great read and extraordinarily comprehensive.


This book takes a detailed look at different businesses that both succeeded and failed and why they succeeded and failed. This is an easy and entertaining read that looks at the importance of capitalizing on changing trends in order to stay relevant in the market.

3. The Richest Man in Town 

This book by Randal Jones, the founder of Worth magazine, details his “twelve commandments of wealth.” It is super straightforward and talks about the different habits he has and how they have helped him create a great deal of success. If you want to hear first hand from a very wealthy individual what it takes in order to build that wealth, this the book for you.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

9-18-2017, Forbes -- Business owners’ optimism is at its highest since February, with more than a quarter of owners saying now is a good time to expand, according to the latest survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Data from Sageworks, a financial information company, also show that sales and profitability continue to grow for privately held firms.

But as businesses hire more, invest more and grow into new areas, it’s a good idea to maintain a focus on some of the fundamentals that underpin a company’s financial performance.

“When you’re running a business, you get so busy just running the business and the operations that you sometimes lose track of finances,” says Brian Hamilton, chairman of Sageworks. “And most people who start companies are not super interested in finance, so they kind of lose track of money, which is definitely one point of running a company -- to make some money.”

Nevertheless, business owners need to know basic financial information – what the business cash flow is, how much profit is expected, what the revenue will be this quarter -- in order to not only pay bills but also expand in a way that makes financial sense. In addition, there are several common business practices to avoid so that the “good times” of this economic cycle don’t end prematurely for the business.

Here are four habits to guard against:

Extending credit automatically

Failing to manage cash is one of the most common causes of business failures, and the trouble can start when a company offers credit indiscriminately to customers and then cannot collect. Business owners may be convinced they must offer credit to everyone and on the same terms, but if they truly consider their clients individually, they may reconsider.

“When you offer credit, you are now a bank and a service or product provider rather than just a service or product provider,” Hamilton says, estimating that in many cases, businesses truly need to offer credit to only about 25 percent of customers. Grant credit when it will increase revenue and income, and vary credit terms based on the overall relationship and creditworthiness. Is now the time to review the credit policy and implement changes for 2018?
Read the rest of the article HERE.

12-15-2017, -- How many of us are unhappy with our day jobs? We dream of leaving behind the 9-to-5 and following our dreams; of leading a life where we get paid for doing what we truly want to do. That's the essence of entrepreneurship. The desire to love our work.

But how, exactly, do we do that? How do we take a hobby, like brewing craft beer, gardening or photography, and turn it into an income-producing business?

For most of us, the answer is not as simple as quitting our jobs and going for it. Instead, there are decisive steps we can follow to realize that dream . . . and still get to eat. On a regular basis.

1. Ask for honest feedback.

You're not the best judge of your work, and neither are your family and friends. You need a mentor -- an experienced professional --and honest feedback. Before you can make real money, your work has to be remarkable. Everybody has a camera, but not everybody understands lighting and framing. Even some professional photographers can't seem to capture the drama of a moment.

Certainly, no one dreams of being mediocre. That's not what dreams are about. You need to know your idea is good enough to succeed and your skills are up to the task. If possible, you need to find a community of experts willing to share knowledge and examine your work with a critical eye.

You should also consider a learning environment, where you can find an expert teacher, one-on-one feedback and fellow students to discuss the finer points of your craft. One option is Learning with Experts, an online school that helps hobbyists polish their skills under the tutelage of expert teachers in a group environment.

This option is kind of perfect: You get individual instruction and a critique of your work, plus a built-in, knowledgeable focus group.

A second option is Mogul, a worldwide platform that reaches 18 million women per week and provides personalized mentorship in the form of a 24/7 digital advice hotline. Still another option is LinkedIn, a platform that is arguably the best place to search out expert mentors and peers, alike. LinkedIn has been touted as a place to help users create a network of trusted allies.

2. Get proof of concept.

"Proof of concept" is a business term used by entrepreneurs seeking funding. Even if you don't need funds to get started, securing proof of concept is not a bad idea. It helps you find out whether people will buy your product or service.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Forbes -- Both B2B and B2C companies can benefit greatly from devoting resources to initiatives that help develop customer loyalty. Gartner, a technology research firm, estimates that by 2018, B2B businesses that employ effective personalization techniques on their e-commerce websites will outsell competitors who lack this personalization by 30%.

On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their initial purchase. To increase the likelihood that your company sees, and benefits from, this repeat business, consider implementing the three measures discussed here. Each idea has been tremendously beneficial as Varsity Tutors has grown from operating in one city to several dozen.

1. Develop a positive feedback loop

One of the best ways to encourage customer loyalty is to develop a positive end-to-end user experience that makes your consumers return again and again. Your user experience begins when a potential customer first learns of your brand, and it continues through his or her use of your product or service.

Why is user experience so important? One-third of consumers cite a positive experience as a significant factor in their brand loyalty. Conversely, up to 2/3 of customers see a negative experience as a compelling reason to change brands.

Read the rest of the story here:

Forbes, 6-30-2016 -- Entrepreneurs who want to launch a new product or service are facing two problems that are continuing to grow in scale – rapidly increasing competition, and shorter life cycles in marketing.

The channels entrepreneurs and businesses were using a decade ago have changed dramatically, and the long-term effectiveness of many of them is diminishing each day as their lifespans collapse.

When Adwords launched, there were years of $0.05 and $0.10 cost-per-clicks because a lot of marketers didn’t know about the platform. And it wasn’t really that long ago that Facebook launched its ad platform, but savvy marketers jumped on board right away. Because of that, Facebook is becoming out of reach for cash-strapped and bootstrapping startups.

Add that to growing competition, and the wins feel like they’re getting harder to achieve. The SaaS market is a prime example. It’s much different now compared to even a few years ago.

You can’t just launch a basic, one-feature app and expect rapid success. You have to offer something innovative – or have an unfair advantage in order to capture attention.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Here’s something you might want to consider tattooing on your forehead: What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do, says productivity guru Tim Ferriss.

6-12-2017, Ted Talks -- To do or not to do? To try or not to try? Most people will vote no, whether they consider themselves brave or not. Uncertainty and the prospect of failure can be very scary noises in the shadows, and most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty. For years, I set goals, made resolutions to change direction — nothing came of either. I was just as insecure and scared as the rest of the world.

The simple solution came to me accidentally in 2004. At that time, I had more money than I knew what to do with — and I was completely miserable. I had no time and was working myself to death. I had started my own company, only to realize it would be nearly impossible to sell. Oops. I felt trapped and stupid at the same time. “I should be able to figure this out,” I thought. Why am I such an idiot? Why can’t I make this work? What’s wrong with me? The truth was, nothing was wrong with me.

Critical mistakes made in the company’s infancy would never let me sell it. It had some serious defects. (This turned out to be yet another self-imposed limitation and false construct — it was acquired by a private equity firm in 2009.) The question then became, “How do I free myself from this Frankenstein while making it self-sustaining? How do I pry myself from the tentacles of workaholism and the fear that it would fall to pieces without my 15-hour days? How do I escape this self-made prison?” A trip, I decided. A sabbatical year around the world. So I took the trip, right? I’ll get to that. First, I felt it prudent to dance around with my shame, embarrassment and anger for six months, all the while playing an endless loop of reasons why my cop-out fantasy trip could never work. One of my more productive periods, for sure.

One day, while envisioning how bad my future suffering would be, I hit upon a gem of an idea: Why don’t I decide exactly what my nightmare would be — the worst thing that could possibly happen as a result of my trip? Well, my business could fail while I’m overseas, obviously. A legal warning letter would accidentally not get forwarded, and I would get sued. My business would be shut down, and inventory would spoil on the shelves while I’m on some cold shore in Ireland. Crying in the rain, I imagine. My bank account would crater by 80 percent, and my car and motorcycle in storage would be stolen. I suppose someone might also spit on my head from a high-rise balcony while I’m feeding food scraps to a stray dog, which would then spook and bite me squarely on the face.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Entrepreneur -- You don’t become an entrepreneur because it’s easy or convenient. You decide to start your own business because you want your life to be meaningful, because you want to feel like your life has a purpose, because you are trying to build something bigger than yourself.

What does that feel like? How does it feel to chase -- and achieve -- your dream? How do you know that you are heading in the right direction?

Finding your purpose doesn’t always come with a parade and a champagne celebration. Sometimes it appears as a quiet, simple moment. That’s how it was for Adrian Gradinaru, co-founder of New York City-based boat rental marketplace Sailo. The website allows people to search, compare and book boats online.

Earlier this summer, Gradinaru was heading home one night this summer, walking through New York City after a long day at work, when he realized he truly was doing work that provided him a sense of purpose. “I felt this interior calm that was sort of amazing,” says Gradinaru. “It’s not about money, it’s not about profit, I feel like we are providing a service that people are actually using and they are enjoying it.”

For one of the other co-founders, that moment of clarity came in the form of a phone call.

“One of our customers called us, this was somebody we didn’t know, and they just told us that they had had the best day [of] their life. And we had created a company that provided the best day of people’s lives and that’s ultimately why we started it,” says Delphine Braas, another co-founder of Sailo.

12-20-2017, Forbes -- If you invent a great idea for a new product, others will copy you. It’s just a matter of when. That’s guaranteed. Whether your company is small or one of the largest in the world does not matter. Copycats are the norm now.

Run a successful Kickstarter campaign? Factories in China may beat you to market before you’ve shipped a single unit. Selling on Prepare to do battle with Chinese counterfeiters who steal your original photos, descriptions and even reviews.

Congratulations on your success! Copycats do not imitate products that aren’t selling.

So… how can you compete?

Will having a patent or several patents help you? Not really. Due to changes in our patent laws, it has become enormously expensive to defend one’s intellectual property in the United States.

First, take a deep breath. There are other strategies to pursue. Not only can you survive, you can succeed. But you’re going to have to be unemotional and think differently.

Early on in my career, I was under the impression that it was possible to own a creative work through patents, copyrights and trademarks. And in fact, the only right referred to explicitly in the U.S. Constitution is to our inventiveness. But it’s more than that. There’s a moral component. There’s right and wrong. We want everyone to play fairly.

They don’t.

Starting a business is not easy, that’s for sure. But I always felt that with the protection of patents, I could keep the competition at bay. That patents leveled the playing field, in other words.

That’s not reality, I’ve since learned.

I know now it’s only perceived ownership that counts. After three long years and hundreds of thousands of dollars, the infringement suit I filed in federal court came down to just two words. That’s it. When I look back, I see that I let my emotions get the best of me. With a clearer head, I could have handled the situation differently. But I felt like I had no choice. I had to fight if I wanted to license my packaging innovation to other companies in the future.

The world has changed. We read about creative people who are fighting for their rights in the news all the time, including high-end fashion designerssavvy marketers and garage inventors.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Sound impossible? Ready to start writing furious comments? Then you’re ready to have a real conversation about our industry. Throughout social media and mobile electronics publications, we have seen dozens of retailers step up their game by creating boutique stores and installation bays utilizing all the latest installation techniques catering to automotive enthusiasts. But what about the customers who buy elsewhere? How likely are they to come in to your store? 

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past ten years, you already know online sales are growing at an alarming rate and taking money out of our brick and mortar stores. Look at Radio Shack, Circuit City and Best Buy. Radio Shack is in bankruptcy, Circuit City is gone and Best Buy had to do a major restructuring of their store’s culture and core business practices. Did you know that an article in Forbes stated that Best Buy is growing by 17 percent in Q4 this year in online sales?

Let’s take an honest look in the mirror. People don’t buy from us for only three reasons. I call this the three P’s:

  1. Price: They found it somewhere at a lower price.
  2. Product: They did not see or were not shown the features they were looking for.
  3. Personality: They did not like your store or the salesperson.

Really take a moment to think about the three P’s. Have you ever wanted to buy something, and when you got to the store, something about it made you decide not to buy? These examples are about people who came into your store. What about the people we never see—the online shoppers?

The other factor to consider is that people are more comfortable sitting at home in their pajamas, reading reviews and purchasing in the security of their own homes than talking to a salesperson. The Ace up our sleeve in the 12-volt industry is that they need it installed and they need parts!

Remember, these customers are not your customers; they have already chosen to buy somewhere else. Why not try to get them into your store? The online shopper is already your best customer. Why? They already like car audio, they have a credit card and they need parts to install it. Another huge bonus of this customer is the possibility of an add-on sale—for example, a steering wheel adaptor, backup camera, sub boxes or any other product category in your store. How much would you pay to have a customer with these qualities in your store? 

To get online shoppers in your store, you must go where the customers are—online.  Place a banner on your website stating, “Amazon Certified Installation Center” or “EBay Certified Installation Center.” Then start using Facebook Ads. Don’t show your latest specials or installations. Instead, make sure your ad states, “Bought your electronics online? We would love to help you install it. We will test the equipment and provide any parts you need to install it yourself.” (You can word this any way you like, but you get the idea.) Only spend $20 a week on this ad, but target ages 20 to 35 (this is the biggest demographic buying online). Why not state, “We install audio products purchased online.” We don’t want to scare them off, we want to help them with their purchase. Once they are in the store, we can talk to them about installing it if they don’t feel comfortable. If you can get one person off a Facebook Ad to buy parts for a head unit installation, you will make $450 off one sale! Let’s break it down:

  • Data Retention Harness                      $250
  • Backup Camera                                  $100
  • Steering Wheel Adaptor                       $100

These are reasonable expectations for one customer from a $20 ad. That means $80.00 a month in ads becomes $1,800 in sales with four, yes, four customers. Keep in mind, this customer already has the expectation to buy. After all, they are coming down to your store to buy their parts! For the math gurus out there, that’s $21,600 in sales in one year. We are not shooting for the moon here; this is a very obtainable goal.

If you don’t know how to do Facebook Ads, sign up for my monthly newsletter at and I will send you a video on how to do place ads designed for the 12-volt market in your area. As salespeople, we waste $20 a week on all sorts of stupid stuff. For $20 dollars a week, you can create a new category in your store. Imagine if you could get one of these customers to have their online product installed: $200 x 12 months is $2,400. That is $21,600 + $2,400 = $24,000 for $1,040 in advertising. The biggest, BIGGEST thing to remember is, your ads are running 24 hours a day even when you’re closed. That’s the cheapest salesperson you will ever hire. What if you ran ads that read, “Do you have any used mobile audio equipment? We would love to help you install it yourself.” Once again, this is not your customer; these are new customers, but the other type of customer already enjoys car audio, so let’s get them into your store. Show them the newest products, like Apple CarPlay! 

By catering to “online and used product” customers, with the goal of one customer a week from each of these new categories, the potential business is $48,000 for $2,080 in advertising. This is how we increase your 12-volt business by 15 percent in 45 days by creating a whole new category for your store. 

11-8-2017, -- Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks you carry out as an entrepreneur? The reality is that you can automate more than you think. By taking advantage of the right tools, you can take tasks off your plate, automate the ones that remain and either delegate or eliminate tasks altogether -- to start working smarter -- not just harder.

More times than not, a SaaS solution is available to help with these goals. Here are several that will make you and your business more productive.

1. Work on conversion-rate optimization: GrooveJar.

You're probably already driving traffic to your website but the problem may be that most of that traffic isn't converting. GrooveJar notes that most websites have a conversion rate of less than 3 percent. That means 97 percent of your traffic is leaving your site without buying. But, what if you could lower that rate and convert 4, 5 or even 6 percent of your traffic? Just think how much of an impact that would have on your bottom line.

GrooveJar is a tool that helps you optimize your conversion rate. It offers several tools that can aid in email collection, highlight social proof and promotions and determine why your customers are leaving your site without buying just to name a few.

A/B tests are a valuable tool, and an easy way to free up your time and resources as you test to see what doesn't work and what takes your conversion rate even higher.

2. Share notes and documents remotely: Evernote.

Evernote is like a digital file cabinet. Unlike what you do with the physical real thing, Evernote lets you search and find your documents in seconds. You can also share them with your team members or contractors, collaborate on projects and keep the lines of communication open. Notes can be viewed on any device from any place with internet access by using the tool's app, website and desktop download.

Every note within Evernote can also be tagged with specific keywords, so they never get lost. Some users prefer to add acronyms within the title of their notes, to categorize them. There's no right or wrong way -- only methods that suit your specific style.

Related: 7 Tools to Increase Productivity and Efficiency

If you're still relying on handwritten to-do lists, whiteboards, sticky notes and other physical or paper-based tools for productivity and collaboration, you might find it useful to move your documents to the cloud for quicker and easier access -- especially if you're working with contractors or remote workers.

3. Keep track of your team's capacity/tasks: ToDoist.

Project management can be a hassle, especially if weekly meetings are still your go-to for disseminating information and delegating responsibilities. Things almost always fall through the cracks, even if everyone on your team has the best of intentions.

That's where a tool like ToDoist comes in. If you've tried project-management systems before and failed, don't worry, ToDoist's interface is clean, simple and free of distractions. It's also straightforward to use, which means that whether your is a team of one or many, you won't need to spend hours training on it before deriving results.

Managing projects manually is a burden on you and your managers, because you have to keep track of multiple tasks assigned to multiple employees, and follow up for updates. Lengthy weekly meetings can waste time and kill productivity. Try a different approach, and put project management on virtual autopilot to relieve yourself of that duty.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Copyright - Mobile Electronics Association 2020

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