I received the book…Use What You Have, Get What You Want by Jack Nadel a few weeks ago. It is one of those short books, filled with many pages of insights, from a person who has achieved substantial success in life. The book is made up of 100 basic ideas that the author has learned and experienced personally, during the course of his life.
The last three weeks has been an exceptionally busy period for me, yet, I found it enjoyable to open up this book and read the basic ideas in the book. Most of the ideas are not ground breaking. They are not meant to be. Most of the best advice that I have ever received, is being able to take complex problems and explain them through simple solutions. This book does that in many ways. With every one of the basic ideas, the author has written a little about the base premise and attached a personal story to give it context. Listed below are five of my favorite ideas from the book:
1. Sell it before you commit to making it or doing it: This is something that I have recently started to put into practice, far more than I ever used to. This is part of a customer validation process and requires business validation, by ensuring the product/service they are building actually has a customer who is willing to pay for it. I have made the mistake of assuming demand without doing the necessary groundwork, it never ends well.
2. Don’t fall in love with your idea: This one really stood out for me. When I read the accompanying story it made a lot of sense. As entrepreneurs, we do become obsessed with our ideas and businesses to the point that it blinds us from seeing the actual reality. Keeping a realistic perspective and taking in feedback is critical to maintain an even keel. This one idea, was by far the one which had the greatest level of impact on my thinking.
3. If you can’t explain your product or service in 30 seconds, you probably can’t sell it: This is another litmus test that many of us fail to take into account when we construct our business ideas. The ability to articulate your vision into simple and concise words, cannot be discounted. One must be able to communicate the basic premise behind the idea in a matter of seconds. This can be done through frames of reference or simple language.
4. Leave something on the table: This negotiating technique was quite revealing. I was taught to negotiate your way to maximize your personal upside on every deal one does. Leaving something on the table however, sounds like a way to maximize your overall upside. This is what I really like about this book, the fact that it makes you think about the simple facts that one often glazes over subconsciously, without paying them much attention.
5. Money attracts good people, but prides makes them great: This is another great point in the book. I have personally seen this many a time in my own experience. Giving the people that one works with, the opportunity to shine and be recognized for the work they do, does wonders for their motivation levels. Yet, many times these people are not given this opportunity, which is a reason companies lose key people and end up wondering what they did wrong.
In conclusion, I liked the book. It is a very easy read, one that provides a lot of bite sized nuggets of advice, which could be helpful to just about anyone in business, regardless of the stage of their work . If you have read the book, I would like to hear your feedback and perhaps the one idea that you took away from the book.