The Commonsense Entrepreneur

The Commonsense Entrepreneur
Buy the paperback at Amazon or from me

When I was a kid in Wisconsin, every little stream had a wooden bridge over it. Sometimes one of the boards would rot—but it would rot from the inside, so you didn’t know it was rotten ’til you put your foot through it.

Those of us who choose to create our own businesses are usually pretty good at what we do. You realize, though, that there are things you don’t know. So, you get help, or learn something, or if you can, avoid them.

But what about the things you don’t know you don’t know?

Anyone who tells you they have all the answers is lying. I don’t have all the answers; I just want to be sure you know what the questions are. The purpose of The Commonsense Entrepreneur is to help you ferret out the things you don’t know you don’t know, before you put your foot through the bridge.

It’s more of a “why to” than a “how to”—it deals very much with how people think, including us!

ISBN: 978-0984094004

Avoid Pitfalls & Enjoy Your Business More

The First Step in Finding the Answers is Knowing the Questions

My first business book, The Commonsense Entrepreneur, is available in paperback, as an eBook, and an audiobook.

The eBook has already received praise (“Wow! This is great!”—Derek Sivers, Founder of CD Baby) and the audiobook can’t possibly fail—it’s the complete unabridged contents of the hardbound book, read by yours truly. (Another testimonial, this time from Kristine P. Jones: “Your voice is sexy as hell.” Hey, I don’t write ’em, I just report ’em.)

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Download the first half of Chapter One, How We Think, as

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or both (zip, 10 MB)

Don’t worry, at the end of the download, I tell you how to get the rest of Chapter One free, too.

I Can Hear You Thinking:

“Don’t You Want My Email Address?”

Sure I do. Feel free to go to contact form and tell me who you are and how much you love the book, or me, or whatever. But, no, you don’t have to give me anything to download the free chapter. Free means without cost. Sharing your contact information is a cost, and I don’t deserve that payment until I’ve earned it by providing real value.

Of course, if you absolutely love Chapter One of The Commonsense Entreprenuer I want you to come back and buy the paperback, the eBook, or the audiobook. (In fact, if you buy the paperback, you can download the other two formats immediately, while we’re getting your book ready to ship.)

What’s in it for You?

When I was a kid in Wisconsin, every little stream had a wooden bridge over it. Sometimes one of the boards would rot—but it would rot from the inside, so you didn’t know it was rotten ’til you put your foot through it.

Those of us who choose to create our own businesses are usually pretty good at what we do. You realize, though, that there are things you don’t know. So, you get help, or learn something, or if you can, avoid them.

But what about the things you don’t know you don’t know?

Anyone who tells you they have all the answers is lying. I don’t have all the answers; I just want to be sure you know what the questions are. The purpose of The Commonsense Entrepreneur is to help you ferret out the things you don’t know you don’t know, before you put your foot through the bridge.

It’s more of a ‘why to’ than a ‘how to’—it deals very much with how people think, including us!

Table of Contents

Here’s a look at the kind of stuff this book is packed with.

  1. A Note on Listening, Libations and Locations
  2. Introduction
    1. Mentoring AID
    2. Napoleon Called; Your Bridge is Ready
      1. What’s a Miniature World Conqueror to Do?
    3. I’m Not Going to Teach You a Thing
  3. Chapter One: How We Think
    1. I’m Unique, Just Like Everyone Else
    2. Relationships
    3. What Do They Want?
      1. There is no Reality; Only Perception
      2. It’s Work
      3. The Most Beautiful Sound
      4. Emotional Bank Accounts
      5. Communication Mirroring
      6. I See What You’re Saying
    4. Persuasion
      1. More Carrot, Less Stick
      2. Why Choose Lose/Lose?
      3. Compromise = Waste
      4. If I Could Change Your Mind
      5. More Carrot, Less Stick (Part II)
    5. Decisions, Decisions
      1. Too Many Choices
      2. The Meal Deal
      3. Not Enough Perceived Difference
      4. Not Enough Perceived Choices
      5. No One Likes Surprises
  4. Chapter Two: Personal Habits
    1. Manners Matter
      1. He Started It!
      2. Arguments Cannot Be Won
      3. Your Default Setting
      4. Manners Still Matter
    2. It’s Still Golden
    3. The Best Policy
    4. Hard to Earn, Easy to Lose
    5. Tactful, Not Tacky
    6. See You at Nine
      1. Don’t Aggravate Lateness
      2. I Hear You Knocking
      3. Why We’re Like This
    7. Social Skills
      1. Speech
      2. Yes, Sir; No, Ma’am
      3. There’s No Such Thing as Too Little Profanity
      4. Say It Loud, Say It Clear
      5. Phone
      6. Voice Mail
      7. Email
      8. Appearance
        1. There is no Reality; Only Perception, Part II
        2. Clothes
        3. My Shirt is My Opinion
        4. Modesty
        5. Non-Clothing Attire
    8. Cleanliness
      1. Your Person
      2. Your Environment
  5. Chapter Three: Getting Things Done
    1. To Tell or Not To Tell?
    2. The Short Answer is There’s No Short Answer
    3. Tools and Habits You Will Need
      1. Reading Well, and Often
      2. Writing Well
      3. Math is Critical. It Can Even Be Fun. Honest.
        1. Sometimes Math isn’t About Numbers
        2. I Know a Guy
        3. How Many? How Long? How Often?
        4. Let Me Count the Ways
        5. Independent Subsequence and the Gambler’s Fallacy
        6. How Accurate is That Measurement?
        7. Don’t Average Averages
    4. Habits and Persistence
      1. If it Doesn’t Cost You Your Life it isn’t a Quest
      2. Don’t Be a Quitter—Unless You Know How
    5. Planning
      1. The Steps of Progress
        1. Define
        2. Measure
        3. Analyze
        4. Improve
        5. Control
      2. Don’t Overdo It
    6. Priorities
      1. Don’t Sort Your To-Do List
      2. First Things First
      3. Big Things First
      4. On Time, Low Cost, Top Quality: Pick Two?
      5. Don’t Wait for Perfect
      6. Time and Motion Economy
      7. Time Management Matrix
      8. Quadrant Two
      9. A System for Getting Things Done
    7. Performing
      1. Efficient with Machines, Effective with People
      2. Do Something!
      3. The Journey of a Thousand Miles
      4. Give Away Power to Maximize Power
      5. Asking for Help is Always an Option
      6. A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place
  6. Chapter Four: Marketing
    1. Who To
      1. Use a Pole, Not a Net
      2. Birds of a Feather, Part I
      3. I Want You as My Customer!
      4. Interested Influential Indoctrinators
      5. Why You Want Fewer Customers
      6. More Golden Rule
      7. Cutting Edge & Perfection Can Be Your Enemy
    2. Why To
      1. Peacock Feathers
      2. I Don’t See What You’re Saying
      3. People Don’t Buy What They Need, They Buy What They Want
      4. If You Can’t Be #1, Be the New #1
      5. Adding the Free Prize
      6. Getting a Foot in the Door
      7. Green. Greener. There is No Greenest.
      8. Lack of Loyalty in the Workplace: The Good News & the Bad News
    3. How To
      1. Promise Big; Overdeliver
      2. Abstract is Out
      3. Bam!
      4. Nobody Wants Boring
      5. Tell Me a Story
      6. Try a Bite
      7. The Four Rules of Advertising (Don’t Stop After #3!)
      8. Marketing is Like Dating
      9. Talking to Friends is Better Than Talking to Strangers
      10. Levels of Permission
      11. Creation and Innovation
      12. It’s Not About You
      13. Marketing in Thirds
      14. Being the Best in the World in a Smaller World
      15. Keep It Simple
      16. More Tries Equals More Successes
      17. They’re Not Mistakes, They’re Learning Opportunities
      18. Your Greatest Challenge
  7. Chapter Five: Operations Strategy
    1. Why To
      1. Usually Bee, but Sometimes Fly
      2. By Your Bootstraps
      3. Humility
      4. Napoleon Bridges
      5. Customer-Centric Thinking
      6. Cooperative vs. Individualist
      7. Eight Attributes of Excellence
      8. Birds of a Feather, Part II
      9. Embraceable Change
      10. Change, Constant Change
      11. Fearful Power
      12. Simplicity
      13. Adaptability
      14. Entrepreneurial Drive
    2. How To
      1. Mission Control (Vision, Too)
      2. Find a Mentor
      3. Use Freelancers
      4. Think Small
      5. Chunk
      6. Built-In Change
  8. Chapter Six: Business Operations
    1. Staffing
      1. Why Hiring the Right People Matters
      2. It’s Not About Mechanics
      3. Skills, Knowledge, and Talent
      4. How Talent is Formed
      5. Who to Hire
      6. The Opposite of Hiring
      7. Why Bad Employees Should Be Fired
    2. Managing People
      1. This is not Your Father’s Management
      2. Respect for the Individual
      3. Responsibility and Authority
    3. Managing Money
      1. Pay Attention
      2. Keeping Honest People Honest
  9. Chapter Seven: Customer Service
    1. What Do You Expect?
    2. Close to You
    3. Earning Tips
    4. Amazon.com Can’t Live Without Me
    5. Everyone is not Equal
    6. What Do They Want? (Redux)
    7. Practical Efficiency as it Effects Customers
      1. They’re Always On Your Mind
      2. Are You Sure That’s What They Want?
  10. Further Resources
    1. Recommended Websites
    2. Recommended Reading List

Readers’ Comments

Small Gems with Profound Impact all Wrapped Up in Universal Appeal

During the reading of this book I have experienced going from . . . someone wanting to learn how to start and run a business through varied, imagined, complex processes, preparing to dot all my i’s and cross all my t’s before ever even THINKING of moving in that direction to . . . . . someone who is MOVING, learning and applying uncomplicated, clear, concise and yes, (I have to say it) commonsense principles that propel you to reach your destination.

—Photo Girl

Great book on running a small business!

If you are an entrepreneur or if you run a small business, you should definitely take a look at this book. It contains tons of useful information and thought-provoking anecdotes. This book can be thought of as a compilation of things every business owner and manager absolutely must know to be successful. Joel’s commonsense approach to business, coupled with his approachable, readable style make this an easy, enjoyable read. Check it out!

—T. Berarducci

Real Talk and Real Help for Entrepreneurs

As entrepreneurs we need to focus on obtaining new customers and well….obtaining new customers. How to keep the ones you have, impress the new ones and build your business is all extra and very time consuming.

Joel has made plain the necessary business concepts which allow the busy business person to absorb and execute with little effort the needed information to keep a business not just growing, but thriving.

This is the one guide every entrepreneur should have.

—Yolanda Richardson

A Must Read by Canfield

True to it’s title, this book offers a ton of commonsense business information. Unfortunately, many business people and entrepreneurs don’t seem to be exercising the commonsense found here – thus the need for this book. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or already in business – this book is a “must read”. Canfield takes you on a journey exploring solid business practices and this isn’t a journey you’ll want to miss. It’s possible that you might already be applying some of these practices in your business today and if so, that’s great. But it’s also very likely that you’ll find a lot of gold nuggets to help you on the path to your goals. I did.

—Ed Welch

Great Speaker–Book is Great Review

Canfield is a great speaker with a very personable speaking style, so I got his book as well. I am always looking for the key points to success, and this is a summary of many. It is a bunch of brief examples of what we should know in business, great as an introduction to successful thinking or a review. The book conveys his combination of easy-going speaking style with some hand drawn illustrations to liven up the book. I wanted to take a look at it again before posting this review, but I recommended it to a friend and he has it…

—Kevin Harville

A Goldilocks Book — It’s “Just Right”!

I don’t write many reviews, but I think this book deserves one because it’s not your average business book.

I don’t read a lot of business books. Heck, I don’t usually like business books! To me they generally come off as either too sugary in their attempt to be inspirational or as too self-gratifying and pretentious. This book is refreshingly different. It’s “just right”.

This is a clever book. The author takes a very light hand guiding readers into successful business behaviors or, (for those of us who have been around a while), gently goading us into remembering those behaviors that led to success.

That is a difficult line to walk. To be forceful enough to suggest behavioral inprovements yet without being confrontational. This book handles that extremely well.

Joel has a refreshing homespun style that comes across as genuine and sincere. He’s written a ‘comfort’ business book. Buy the book. Read it with a slice of pie. You will enjoy them both.

—Ronald A. Luther

One of the top 5 business books I’ve ever read!

I read tons of business books. One could even say I’m something of a business book junkie. That said, it’s no ordinary thing when I say that a book has landed in my top 5 of all time! Canfield’s clever writing style and straightforward, no-nonsense approach make this book not only a delight to read but a necessary addition to the library of anyone who wants to be in business for him- or herself.

From dealing with employees and customers to making critical decisions about your operation, Canfield covers all the bases. This is the quintessential ‘why to’ book for doing business in the 21st century and beyond.

Enjoy!

—Jerry Kennedy