The Bookworm Sez: Simple steps to success for newbies

  • “The 100: Simple Steps for Building a Winning Business” by Tom Salonek, c.2016, Agate B2, $14 / $19.95 Canada, 168 pages

Your to-do list doubled overnight.

That seems to happen once or twice a week, and it never gets any better. Tasks are finished and something else replaces them, which is what you’re told happens when you’re an entrepreneur — but if you read “The 100” by Tom Salonek, it might help you keep the list to a manageable status.

If only your business grew as quickly as your to-do list, right? When you’re running a new company, there’s always something to remember, which is where Tom Salonek can help: since starting his Minneapolis business in 1991, he’s been keeping track of things that work to make a business operate successfully.

At the top of the list is happiness.

While you’re undoubtedly putting in a lot of hours now, it’s important to have a work-life balance that makes you happy. Step away occasionally to reassess yourself, and be sure to offer the same happiness opportunities to those who work for you.

Learn the power of doing less, which is really just a method of time management. This book can help you have more effective meetings, and it can help you with employee retention. Two keys to the latter are knowing the difference between engagement and silly perqs, and giving employees a bit of scheduling autonomy.

Use this book to know exactly how to get new hires up to speed faster. Then, show them the way to strong job satisfaction through encouragement, guidance, and praise for a job well done. Hire smart, hire slow, but fire fast when you need to.

That goes for employees, as well as for vendors.

Once you’ve got your best team, ask them for input on the important aspects of your business. Hold internal town-hall sessions, and determine your business’ core values, so you can help your employees to fully embrace them.

Finally, relax. Use each point of this book individually, piecemeal, slowly. You’re in this for the long haul. Take your time to get there.

“The 100,” I have to say, is a little rough around the edges.

Author and Intertech owner Tom Salonek jumps into his list with no fanfare, save but a quick introduction that doesn’t really help set the tone of what’s to come and causing not just a little confusion. There’s a lot of repetition here, a lot of too-enthusiastic U-Rah-Rah-ing, plenty of commonsensical advice, and many things that will make established businesspeople roll their eyes.

But that’s okay. This book doesn’t seem to be for them anyhow.

The real appeal here, I think, is for business newbies who need bullet-points to guide them through the storminess of start-up. “The 100” is very methodical, it covers lots of steps in small bites, the final chapter consists of a list of helpful websites, and it’s relatively quick to read.

That all adds up to a book that seasoned businesspeople will probably find redundant in their work lives, but that entrepreneurs may need to live by for awhile. And if you lean toward that second category, then put “The 100” on your growing to-do list.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is the author of The Bookworm Sez, which is published in more than 200 newspapers and 50 magazines throughout the U.S. and Canada. Schlichenmeyer may be reached at [email protected].

03/09/2016 - 2:35pm