By May 15, 2013 Read More →

The UnStoppables: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial Power (Book Review)

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What do we learn about entrepreneurship when a chairman of a multibillion-dollar tech company, a few Navy SEALs, some Israeli innovators, and a branding expert come together?

We learn the power that makes people UnStoppable.

And, the power needs to be tapped, not taught – it’s already inside of us.

Whether you want to be an entrepreneur, or just act like one, Bill Schley can show you how in his book, The Unstoppables: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial Power.

This books puts lessons from the world’s greatest masters on fear, risk, failure, and innovation-on-the-fly, right at your fingertips.  And, you can use the six rule sets that make entrepreneurs succeed, whether you are a start-up or a big company … or a start-up within a big company.

It’s all the things you don’t learn in school, about how to be an entrepreneur.  As the inside of the cover says, “Entrepreneurs are the foundation of our economy — they’re making the jobs and inventing the markets of the future.  But, the essence of entrepreneurship isn’t taught in business schools or text-books.  So we went on a journey to find it.”

If you’re ready to join the journey, let’s dig in …

What’s In It For You?

Here is a sampling of some of the challenges that The UnStoppables helps you with:

  • Learn what it takes to accomplish your greatest goals
  • Learn the ‘No Matter What’ mindset of Navy SEALs to keep going
  • How to ship your ideas with speed and agility to customers that care
  • How to deal with fear, failure, and risk when starting new ventures
  • How to identify and articulate your unique difference in a rapid and compelling way
  • How to create simpler, but more effective business plans
  • How to create high-performance teams with inspiring missions
  • How to sell with precision and skill

Chapters at a Glance

  • Chapter 1 – Who is an Entrepreneur and What Do They Do, Really?
  • Chapter 2 – Accelerated Proficiency
  • Chapter 3 – Emotional Mechanics: What Only Neuroscientists, Your Friends in the SEALs, and the Israeli Army Will Tell You
  • Chapter 4 – How To Master Emotional Mechanics Like the Experts
  • Chapter 5 – School of Everything You Need to Know (in an Hour)
  • Chapter 6 – The Big Picture in an Hour: Ideas, People, and Execution
  • Chapter 7 – Big Picture (Continued): People and Execution
  • Chapter 8 – The UnStoppable Six: how to Run a Billion-Dollar Business or a Start-Up the Rackspace Way (in about an Hour)
  • Chapter 9 – Everything You Need to Know about Your Unique Difference (in about an Hour)
  • Chapter 10 – Everything You Need to Know about True Teams (in an Hour)
  • Chapter 11 – Everything You Need to Know about Succeeding with Customers (in about an Hour)
  • Chapter 12 – Everything You Need to Know about Making Yourself Famous (in about an Hour)
  • Chapter 13 – Everything You Need to Know about Creating Revenue, a.k.a. Selling (in about an Hour)
  • Chapter 14 – Everything You Need to Know about Perfecting Your First Product (in about an hour)
  • Chapter 15 – Entrepreneur Country and the E-Companies

Key Features

Here are some of the key features of The UnStoppables:

  • Concrete examples.  Schley provides plenty of concrete examples that are easy to relate to and with real names that you’ll recognize.
  • Conversational.  The book is written in a very easy to follow and conversational way.  It’s as if Schley is across the table, sharing his wealth of insight with you as openly, freely, and quickly as he can.
  • Deep.   The book dives deep.  By focusing on essentials and the most effective techniques, the book surfaces deep experience in an approachable way.
  • Fast-paced.   The book is fast paced and covers a lot of ground quickly.   Again, by focusing on the essentials, it helps keep the book lean, while diving deep.
  • Results-driven.   It’s a no-nonsense book with a heavy emphasis on driving results.

Here is a sampling of some of my favorite nuggets from the book …

A Quest for the Essence of Entrepreneurship

It’s not just a book.  It’s part of a quest to double the number of entrepreneurs.  Graham Weston (author of the Foreword), writes:

“The Unstoppables isn’t just a book.  It’s the product of a quest — a shared quest by author Bill Schley and me to discover the keys to entrepreneurship and to share them with people all over America.  Our goal is to double the number of entrepreneurs in our country — starting with you, our readers.  And if you choose the entrepreneurial path, we want to double your chances of success.  Those are the goals behind every chapter and every page of Bill’s book.”

The Entrepreneurial Way

The entrepreneurial way is to balance what customers and employees want.  Schley writes:

“That means growing cultures of learning, innovation, problem-solving, mission focus, true teams, and market savvy – as contrasted with a culture built around bureaucracy, conformity, and control by fear.  Entrepreneurial companies are dedicated to giving people first what they want most – including their own employees.  Customers want good and fair value from a trusted relationship.  Employees want to be value members of a winning team on an inspiring mission.  Striving constantly to provide both is the entrepreneurial way.”

Entrepreneur or Optimizer: Which One are You?

Given the choice, which do you prefer — “change the business” or “run the business”?   Schley writes:

“The fact is that any successful organization – especially one that scales into a big, sophisticated operation – needs the strengths, talents and skills of both Optimizers and Entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs get things moving; they innovate, energize, and promote change.  Optimizers bring the consistency and quality control that big companies and mass markets demand.”

The UnStoppable Six

The UnStoppable Six is a rule set for guiding your entrepreneurial success.  It consists of three strategic  items and three tactical items:

The Strategic Three

  1. Difference
  2. Team
  3. Customers
The Tactical Three

  1. Famous
  2. Product
  3. Revenue

 

Use the the UnStoppable Six to Build Better Business Plans

The UnStoppable Six provide a framework for guiding your business plans.  Ask simple, but highly effective questions:

  1. What is our unique difference?
  2. Who is our team?
  3. Who are our customers?
  4. How do we get famous?
  5. What’s our Minimum Viable Product?
  6. How will we get revenue?

What Customers Teach You

Customers teach us how to be better.   Schley writes:

“Customers might as well be air and water; your business has no life without them.  Success is something you must learn from them because only they can teach it to you, through what they need, where their pain and pleasure are, how they want to be sold to, what kind of relationships they want to have with a company in your category, and so forth.  Customers hold the answers to all your most important questions about your product, service, and brand.  The Wonderful Paradox is that the secret of getting what you want is to think most about what they want.”

Don’t Be a Commodity

Your strategic advantage is how you differentiate.  Otherwise, you’re just a commodity.  Schley writes:

“Without a difference, you forfeit the big strategic advantage you should have as a nimble, creative, problem-solving entrepreneur.  You’re now a commodity and that means you no longer have customers, you have counterparties.  You’ve conceded that they can buy something of equal value from any of your competitors.  And when that happens, your only hope is to have the lowest price.  You’re like gasoline: a legal definition, not a differentiated product, and certainly not a true brand.  It’s a brutal position to be in if you want to control your own fate and rise above the pack.”

4-Line Elevator Pitches

Pitching products successfully is simple if you keep it simple and address the right questions with skill.  Schley writes:

  1. What’s it called?
  2. What does it do?
  3. Why do I need it?
  4. Why should I believe you?

Here’s an example they provide for Home ATM:

  1. It’s called Home ATM;
  2. It’s home banking on your computer that works just like an ATM;
  3. It’s so easy to use, like an ATM, it doesn’t need a manual; and
  4. Eight top banks have found they can now have an ATM in every home.

Define Your Ultimate “Why”

Remind yourself “Why” you do what you do on a daily basis through a simple two-word rallying cry.  It’s how you frame your difference that matters.  Schley writes:

“The frame, worded as a Micro-Script, helped Rackspace get famous on the outside.  But just as important, it made them feel famous on the inside.  As Graham Weston explains, ‘Once we came up with the phrase Fanatical Service, we had a rallying cry, a set of words to stand for, an identity that every teammate could be a part of.  Every Racker could tell you in two words that our mission was and why we came to work every single day: we were here to bring our customers Fanatical Support and all the good things it implied.’”

Plot Your Basic Plan

Keep your plan rooted in the basics and grounded in reality.  Schley writes:

“As an entrepreneurial founder, you’ll need to think ahead and plot your basic plan: (1) Who is going to buy from you (that is, who is your target market)? (2) How much do you need to sell them to cover your basic costs? (3) How much money, development, and time will you need to get yourself to market so selling can actually begin?”

Your Business Plan Should Fit on the Back of a Business Card

Don’t lose sight of the essence of your business plan.  Less is more, and it’s more effective, if you hone right in on what actually counts.  Schley writes:

“Don’t make your plan complicated.  Don Valentine, one of the founders of Sequoia Capital, the famous VC firm, once said, ‘Your business plan should be able to fit on the back of a business card.’  He was exaggerating slightly, but he made his point.  Don Valentine had just been pitched too many business plans that were six months in the making and took hours to present, but couldn’t clearly answer the basic questions, ‘What is it? Why do I need it? Who’s going to buy it? How much cash do we need to get started/ And how much time, money, and staff will it take for us to break even?’”

Breaking Even is the Goal Line

The authors say your mission from day one is to focus on reachingyour revenue moment.

“Breaking even is the goal line.  Crossing it is the magic moment when your business becomes a living thing.  It’s the moment the plane flies, the aspiring surfer stands up straight on the board, and the homing pigeon makes it home.  It means having enough customers buying from you to sustain a business that sells enough to cover all of its costs, including yours and your teammates’, day after day, month after month.  It is the first great milestone in any UnStoppable company’s success.”

Small, Super-Powered Teams

Small teams make big things happen.  Schley writes:

“Teams can be any size, of course, but for our purposes, we’ll be talking about a default team size of four — the primary functional unit that the SEALs and Israelis use in operations, based on decades of experience and team research that shows there is an inherent work-able balance and proficiency in this number.  A four person SEAL fire team includes a commander and three specialists.  Not coincidentally, this is a common number for many of the most successful founder teams we see in start-ups today.  It’s not a mandate, just a good solid model.  After all, the Beatles were the Fab Four.  Do you need any better or more enduring model of creative global success?”

The 30-60-90 Rule

Want a simple formula to keep execution on track?  Use the 30-60-90 rule.  Schley writes:

“The 30-60-90 Rule forces Entrepreneurs to act by imposing real, numerical deadlines for getting things out there and into customer’s hands where it belongs.”

  1. By Day 30, Build It.
  2. By Day 60, Validate with Customers.
  3. By Day 90, Release Version 1.0 — the Public Beta.

The Secret is “Or”

Don’t kill your product through bloat or feature creep.  Schley writes:

“We also tell entrepreneurs to change their mind-set from ‘and’ to ‘or’ because choosing the big focus of your product  is usually a choice of this versus that, a series of sacrifices, not a pileup of additives that annoys most customers. We tell them, ‘And’ doesn’t scale.  The secret is ‘Or.’”

Get the Book

The UnStoppables: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial Power, by Bill Schley is available on Amazon:

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