Good small business reads #13: Better collaboration, the art of persuasion and why bigger isn’t always better

For the August good small business reads edition, I return again to wisdom from Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson, one of my favorite CEOs. In “Biggest Doesn’t Mean Best” on the American Express Open Forum for small businesses (always a source of good reading), Branson talks about the fact that while being big has many business advantages, it doesn’t by itself guarantee better products or great service. Being smaller, he points out, means you can create closer relationships with your customers. Check out the whole article for more reasons why small can be beautiful!

In Is Collaborating a Time Killer?” Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, provides four tips for making sure that the collaboration in your business actually works instead of being a time waster. How can collaboration waste time? Well, if people are endlessly talking with others about something instead of actually getting things done, then collaboration isn’t working as it should. Follow his advice to make sure the collaboration you encourage is the right kind!

In its August newsletter, the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at Wharton has an interesting interview with Richard Shell, co-author of The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas. Besides making me think that I should put this book on my reading list, the article talks about a critical skill that anyone who has an idea they want to move forward in a company needs to have – being able to perform a social network analysis that will help you identify who can be the best champion for your idea. While Shell is talking about moving ideas forward inside companies, I believe this same strategy can help you figure out how to sell your product or service better within client companies. It’s important to make sure you understand the inner workings of a client firm so you engage with the real decision makers and do not waste time with people who are not really in a position to help you move the ball forward.

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