October 21, 2014

Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur

Wouldn’t it be great to have an entrepreneur’s handbook?   In it, you would find all kinds of sage advice and guidance about what it takes to run a successful business.   If something like this is on your wish list, then you need to pick up Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur: Big Ideas on Success for the Small Business Owner.

I received Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur: Big Ideas on Success for the Small Business Owner from the author.  And I have to admit that it looked a little daunting because it looked somewhat academic.  But once I got into it, I could see that it wasn’t academic at all.  In fact, it’s a great book to be reading this time of year as you start planning and refocusing your efforts in areas that will benefit your business the most.

About the Author

Kevin Maki, Ph.D., has spent more than 25 years studying the factors associated with entrepreneurial success.  He’s the author or co-author of five books and hundreds of articles on topics in entrepreneurship.  Not only this, but he is also the founder and Chief Science Officer of Provident Clinical Research and Consulting Inc., a company specializing in the design and conduct of clinical research on food and pharmaceutical products.

I think it’s interesting that an expert in coronary heart disease is also an entrepreneurial expert.  I wonder if it’s safe to say that reading Tipping the Odds is good for your entrepreneurial health?

Inside the Book

There are two main sections of the book.  The first is called “The Big Ideas.”  This is the cornerstone information every entrepreneur should have at his or her fingertips. The meat of the book starts with Chapter 2: Loyalty, The Key to Running a SLEEC Business.

S= Sales and Marketing
L= Loyal
E= Engaged
E= Employees
C= Customers/Clients

The third chapter is focused on “Attitudes and Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs.”  This is really my favorite chapter because so much of our success as small business owners starts with what we think and what we believe about what’s possible.  Maki does a masterful job of getting to the point in each paragraph.

Take the paragraph called “Set goals for results and activities.” Maki references the movie “21,” where a team of brainy MIT students uses a card counting system to win.  Instead of wishing each other good luck, they would instead say “good fluctuations” when they headed out to play.  They knew that if they applied their system consistently, they would have an advantage and win in the long run, even if there were losses along the way.

Here is a quick fly-by of what you’ll find in the “Big Ideas” chapters:

  • Pareto Principle: Using 80/20 thinking to achieve more with less effort
  • Avoiding common mistakes that lead to failure such as lack of direction, insufficient sales, poor quality, impatience, greed, poor cost control and more.
  • Marketing and sales ideas such as generating leads, Internet marketing and more.
  • Maximizing lifetime customer value is perhaps the second most useful chapter in this book because it puts the focus on delivering value to your ideal customers.  Until you figure that combination out, sales and marketing will be expensive and frustrating.
  • How management promotes employee engagement and enthusiasm shows you how focusing on employee engagement and enthusiasm will result in happier and more profitable customers and a more profitable business.

These “Big Idea” chapters are a terrific resource for entrepreneurs and business owners at any stage of their business life cycle.  Their advice and insight will help even the most experienced entrepreneur come up with new and exciting ways to take a business to the next level.

See the Big Ideas in Practice

The second section of the book contains case studies and profiles of successful entrepreneurs from every level and from businesses of all sizes. Section Two is written in an interview format; Kevin Maki asks questions and the entrepreneurs answer them. In this section:

  • Learn how Vlado Lenoch and his family worked their way from farming to maintenance to real estate investors and finally hotel owners.  No MBAs were required as part of this success story.
  • Meet Bill Child, a young man who didn’t let his age or inexperience stop him from taking over his father-in-law’s business after a sudden death.

There are several other wonderful interviews and stories here. You’ll be inspired and motivated by them–and ready to rock and roll in the next year.

Why You Should Read Tipping the Odds — Even if You’re NOT a Business Owner

There is one underlying lesson in Tipping the Odds: we are all business owners.  Employees and managers are critical players in the overall success of the business.  In an economy where every person and every resource is essential, this is a book that everyone in your organization needs to have close at hand.

Tipping the Odds is the scrappy entrepreneur’s best resource for succeeding today.

6 Comments ▼

Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

6 Reactions

  1. Ivana,

    This sounds like a really good book.

    Let’s increase our chances of success, huh?

    The Franchise King

  2. Ivana, With all the books that you have reviewed, could pick one that would be a a good companion to Tipping the Odds for the Entrepreneur?

  3. @Martin – wow, that’s a tough question — a companion to Tipping the Odds. You know I sort of see Tipping the Odds as an overview book. It covers LOTS of different topics about entrepreneurship.

    So I’m tempted to say that there wouldn’t be a single companion – rather, I would recommend you use TIpping the Odds as a compendium, them pick more targeted books where you need more detail or information.

    Say you decided to focus on Referrals – then you might use “The Referral Engine” as a companion to one of the sections on sales and marketing.

  4. @Joel – I’m all for increasing chances of success. You know, the more I read, the more I’m clear about how important focus is. This year, I’m looking to increase my chances of success by simply focusing on the goals I’ve set out to accomplish and NOT getting distracted by shiny strategies.

  5. Ivana,

    Thanks for your reply. I am reading The Referral Engine right now.

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