No B.S. Business Success in the New Economy by Dan Kennedy Summary

Essential principles to succeed in business.

Key Takeaways

  1. You have to reject the entire idea of limited choices. As an entrepreneur, you need to reject every single piece of programming you’ve ever received about limited options or prerequisites for exercising certain options. Limitations, rules, industry norms—these are for other people, but not for you.
  2. The best way to get huge sales is to become an expert and then display your expertise on YouTube (or the best media platform at the time). Also, write books and newsletters.
  3. Join an entrepreneur group. You can greatly accelerate your entrepreneurial success and decrease your aloneness, and isolation-related stress by associating with other progressive entrepreneurs.
  4. Andrew Carnegie, one of America’s first from-scratch billionaires and the inspiration for the all-time bestselling book on success, Think and Grow Rich, spoke of the need for a secret sense of superiority. The sense that ordinary rules and restrictions are for ordinary people, not you.
  5. Always get rid of exceptionally troublesome or unprofitable customers.
  6. The only way to “get rich quick” is to find a sales and marketing breakthrough.
  7. So let’s get this straight from the start: the place for you to direct your time, energy, creativity, common sense, hard work, and resources is marketing.
  8. The first quantum leap from ordinary good-job-type income to big entrepreneur-type income occurs very rapidly after the business owner makes the intellectual, emotional, and actual switch from “doer” of his “thing” to “marketer” of his “thing.”
  9. The worst marketing sin you can commit is to be boring. People love to buy when it’s a pleasure to buy. When it’s interesting to buy. When the experience of buying itself is involving and rewarding.
  10. Business names: you should have a business name that makes it obvious what you do. Only giants like Apple and Amazon can get away with ambiguous names. [City you’re in] [What you do] works well.
  11. “I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.” — Richard Branson
  12. Only hire the best employee candidates. You can’t just hire anyone. You can’t hire family and friends.
  13. Always have an upsell or a cross-sell.
  14. Business is lonely and it takes a lot of work.
  15. Minimize downside risk by testing the market (asking customers) before you start.
  16. Charge 2-3x the average market price and frame yourself as a high-end brand.
  17. Build an email list.
  18. Learn to sell. Everything in life is selling, so you might as well get good at it.
  19. Never pay bills early, unless there is a financial incentive and advantage. Paying bills on the due date is a free short-term loan. Pay on time, but never early.

Notes

Some people succeed under the most improbable conditions. Some people fail even though they have everything going for them. In all cases, it’s the person making the difference. “There really are no business successes or failures; there are people successes and people failures.” — Dan Kennedy. They fail because they didn’t follow the fundamental principles of successful achievement.

“It’s amazing how people spend their lives in prisons entirely of their own making, the key dangling right there in the lock, no jailer in sight.” — Dan Kennedy

The new economy mandates a much more willing and creative approach to constant change and evolution and recurring reinvention in order to keep a business very specifically and currently relevant to the customers able and willing to support it.

A 40-year-old guy who works at a convenience store is telling Dan about how miserable his job is: “I asked him if he’d noticed that every day, twice a day he drove past the public library, a gigantic repository of help for changing your career, your finances, your life—all free. As you might guess, I might as well have been speaking Martian. If pressed, I assure you, he’d tell you he was too busy or too tired to read, or didn’t like to read, or had bad eyesight when he was in school, or some other pitiful excuse.

Successful entrepreneurs learn to be much more assertive, proactive, and creative in making decisions to change things as they prefer, to make things happen. You have to reject the entire idea of limited choices. As an entrepreneur, you need to reject every single piece of programming you’ve ever received about limited options or prerequisites for exercising certain options. Limitations, rules, industry norms—these are for other people, but not for you.

Certain options exist only for people with particular education, licenses, or certifications. Sure you can’t just up and declare yourself a heart surgeon or airplane pilot. But you can certainly be the CEO and you can certainly make as much money as you choose.

Here’s a little jolt: one of the highest-paid marketing consultants and coaches working only with restaurant owners who I helped start in business, a man who is paid millions of dollars a year from those owners for his advice, has never worked in, managed, or owned a restaurant. For four years, I had the largest business training company serving dentists and chiropractors, working with over 10,000 doctors, but I am neither a DC nor DDS. The current owner of one of the most successful independent movie studios, who has prospered by bringing comic book characters to the big screen, in partnership with giants like Warner Brothers, did not work as script writer, camera man, grip, film editor, or actor, did not go to film school, did not apprentice in Hollywood before starting his movie production company. He owned a chain of dry cleaning stores. He liked comic books. And he proved adept at raising money from investors. The man who created one of the world’s largest ad agencies from scratch was a door-to-door salesman and a short order cook. Traditional qualifications matter if entering and trying to climb a ladder controlled by others inside a corporate organization but they do not matter at all in the entrepreneurial arena. Not at all. Only what you decide and do matters.

Read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Read Earl Nightingale's books.

Some people think and talk in terms of “trying” a business or “trying” out the entrepreneurial experience. Before achieving major success in business myself, I went through considerable agony, corporate and personal bankruptcy, stress, embarrassment, humiliation, and near-starvation. If I’d been just “trying,” just taking a test drive, I’d have quit. And make no mistake about it; my experience is the norm among ultimately successful entrepreneurs.

If the average person followed a successful person around for a week they would immediately see why they are successful—they work a lot. The average person would then say, “I’d never do all that work.” Not that they couldn’t, that they wouldn’t. That’s why only about 5% of the entire US population earns over $250,000 a year. Not for lack of opportunity. Simply because they decide not to. Any other explanation is nonsense.

You have to cut down time spent with people who are not supportive of your entrepreneurial Time spend hanging around fearful people, doubtful people, skeptical people, people not themselves committed to successful achievement, can impair your ability to succeed.

You should join an entrepreneur group, coaching group, and peer advisory groups, so you have regular contact and share ideas and information with like-minded entrepreneurs who validate, support, and encourage you.

You can greatly accelerate your entrepreneurial success and decrease your aloneness, and isolation-related stress by associating with other progressive entrepreneurs.

Non-entrepreneurs have a lot of biases against entrepreneurs like

  • Accusation: you’re a workaholic
  • Preception: You’re a wild eyed risk taker, a gambler.

“I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.” — Richard Branson

Average people think business is risky but, in reality, you can minimize downside risk in business and every career choice has its risks. “The person who follows the old model of staying in a good job with a good company for 40 years pays the price in boredom, frustration, and quiet desperation of unfulfilled, untested potential. Today, people who try to stay with that model often pay an even higher price: after many years of service, a merger, acquisition, down-sizing, bankruptcy, or even disappearance of an entire industry puts long-time employees out on the street. They must tackle a dynamic, tough job market with outdated skills and face the future without the financial security they believed was guaranteed to them for their loyalty and longevity. Entrusting your success to others in corporate bureaucracies is increasingly risky business.”

**Andrew Carnegie, one of America’s first from-scratch billionaires and the inspiration for the all-time bestselling book on success, Think and Grow Rich, spoke of the need for a secret sense of superiority. The sense that ordinary rules and restrictions are for ordinary people, not you.

The only indispensable person in your business is you.

Always get rid of exceptionally troublesome or unprofitable customers.

Business names: you should have a business name that makes it obvious what you do. Only giants like Apple and Amazon can get away with ambiguous names. [City you’re in] [What you do] works well.

You have to consider very specific language choices in naming businesses, or in describing them. Consider these three: 9-11 Emergency Chiropractic Clinic. ... Family Chiropractic Clinic. ... Health & Longevity Chiropractic Clinic. In all three, fundamentally the same services are provided. But they would clearly attract different types of patients with different priorities.

The entrepreneur works to develop these 6 competencies:

  1. Develop appealing products, services, and offers.
  2. Affordably acquire customers.
  3. Manage for maximum profit.
  4. Retain customers and maximize revenue from each customer.
  5. Develop value and equity.
  6. Meet personal goals: health, knowledge, relationships.

If given a shoe store, the small-business owner will manage and promote that shoe store well. But ten years from now, it will still be a shoe store. Give that same shoe store to a true entrepreneur and, ten years from now you probably won’t recognize it!

The first breakthrough is in thinking bigger and bolder rather than small and incremental. You won’t experience a big, fast financial breakthrough if you aren’t looking for one.

Then you need to know where to look. These kind of gigantic, fast [revenue] leaps come from only one place: sales and marketing breakthroughs.

  • You’ll only “get rich quick” if you can find a sales and marketing breakthrough.

So let’s get this straight from the start: the place for you to direct your time, energy, creativity, common sense, hard work, and resources is marketing.

In fact, the first quantum leap from ordinary good-job-type income to big entrepreneur-type income occurs very rapidly after the business owner makes the intellectual, emotional, and actual switch from “doer” of his “thing” to “marketer” of his “thing.”

Read Outrageous Marketing. You don’t need to keep thinking of new outrageous things to do, just find some outrageous things to do consistently, like how James Altucher wears a lab coat and uses a waiter’s pad to take notes. You can write a handwritten note and put it in someone’s mailbox, for instance.

The worst marketing sin you can commit is to be boring. People love to buy when it’s a pleasure to buy. When it’s interesting to buy. When the experience of buying itself is involving and rewarding.

“This crosses all demographic boundaries and applies whether you market to consumers or B2B. Boring is boring. Leap-out-at-you, outrageous, fun, and interesting is what it is. People are people, in the boardroom on the 50th floor or in the living room, on the floor.”

The entrepreneur’s responsibility and opportunity is to create breakthrough ideas that foster exciting, positive relationships between the company and its customers. This chapter gives you the very best ways I know to create those kinds of breakthrough ideas.

Breakthrough Strategy #1: Find a Market Niche and Exploit It.

You can’t just hire anyone. Only hire the best.

Never pay bills early, unless there is financial incentive and advantage. Pay on time, but never early.

Always have an upsell or a cross-sell. The upsell could be a product that goes with the product they just bought or a service that removes a hassle from the service they just bought. You could sell a monthly childcare subscription, for instance, and then upsell to pick the kid up for an additional monthly charge.

In some businesses, it makes sense to give your employees bonuses if they sell an upsell for you. A restaurant could, for instance, give their waiters a bonus if they sell a premium dessert.

“Over the years I’ve often been asked how I managed to keep up with all my different businesses. It puzzled many people. But one of the things they didn’t see is how my businesses and activities fit together, so that I viewed it as managing one synergistic conglomerate rather than wrestling with an assortment of different ventures.”

There are 3 strategies to make BIG money even as a small business owner.

Strategy 1

You want to develop and control an effective promotional platform, and think in terms of owning that, not just owning a business.

It can be local or global, niched or broad, facilitated predominately online or offline. But it should be multi-media, reaching an organized audience of customers as well as new, potential customers, ready for your use to roll out a new product or service or promotion. You want to be a mini-media mogul with your own media conglomerate.

  • Make YouTube, blog, newsletter, and TikTok audiences.

Strategy 2

Think synergistically.

When you layer one business on another, and another on top of that, or create horizontal product or service extensions, it should all work together in closed loops, feeding on and feeding back to the main business. Be very wary of unrelated, nonsynergistic  involvements’ distractions, diffusion of resources and energy, and trade-offs, producing dollars in one place but costing them in another.”

  • If you set this up correctly, you can get major tax benefits. Read the book Tax-Free Wealth for more info.

Strategy 3

Give yourself something other than your business to promote.

When you set out to directly promote a business, media wants you to buy advertising—they’re not eager to give it to you for free in the form of publicity. Much of the public is immediately resistant to your outreach and messages, viewing you as just another salesman arriving at their doorstep.

I’ll first use myself as example. I have written and had published 13 books. As the author of a book, a great many doorways to customers and clients have welcome mats in front of them. Radio program hosts, industry advisors and associations conducting tele-seminars, trade journals and mainstream magazines are all happy to interview me or get content from me they can use. If I simply want to directly promote Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle™ Membership, many of these doorways slam shut.

  • Write a book, write a blog, write a report, have an event, a cause, or do something else noteworthy.