Book Review: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

March 3, 2009

tpeLooking for a book that can help you jump start your business idea?  Well I’ve got one for you.  For the second time since its release, I just read The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Michael Michalowicz.

Many of you may have noticed this book already on my Recommended Reading list, but after going back through it a second time, it was clear that I needed to expand on that recommendation.

Why is this book so valuable? It is rare that an author gives out such real, to the point advice in their first book, if ever.  What I mean by that is, instead of dishing out the usual dose of vague inspirational advice, Mike dives right into real businesses.  From his own experiences, and the experience of others he has worked with, Mike lays out the fundamental approaches to any small business strategy.

From financing to marketing, from organizational structure to idea generation, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur is filled with real life stories and suggestions that will help you get a clear vision of how to run your company.  This works for those entrepreneurs in the idea stage as well as a small business owner running a successful company.

The book is written in the most basic conversational tone, which makes it a quick read, and drives home the various tips that the author makes.  It is easy to pick up on important points, and even easier to apply those points to your own business or idea.  And unlike the average business book which harps on the same point over and over, making it easy to lose interest or lose focus, this book continues to throw new ideas at you with every page turn.

I love a book that inspires you to take notes in the margins, stop in the middle of a page because you just had an idea, and can be used as a reference after the initial reading.  For me, this book did all three of those things.  I would recommend it to anyone with dreams or a vision of starting their own business, or anyone who is interested in the subject of startups and small business in general.

To order the book from Amazon, click here.  To find out more about the book and its author, Michael Michalowicz, check out his website at http://www.toiletpaperentrepreneur.com, or connect with him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/TPEntrepreneur.

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Guest Blog – You’ll Have a Profitable Business by the Time You Finish this Blog

September 30, 2008

Congratulations! Your company has officially turned a profit! What? You didn’t get the memo? You thought your business was months, years away from the blessed black? Whoa! You must be thrilled to get this news. You must feel like doing a little happy dance, maybe even hopping down to the corner store for a celebratory six-pack.

Hold on, bucko. You’ve got two teeny, tiny, no-big-deal steps to take before you can count your chickens, err, cash. It will take all of five minutes, I promise. And then you can call your Mom.

-First, open an interest-bearing escrow account online, one that even the entire Ocean’s Eleven team can’t access. You’ve got to guard those pennies from that thief in your office – YOU.

-Next, transfer 5% of your last deposit into the account. That’s it. You’re done. (Until your next deposit, that is.)

Yeah!!! Tell all your Facebook friends, write your hometown newspaper, and stop total strangers on the street. Your business just officially turned a profit! And will do it CONSISTENTLY!

The simple truth about cultivating a profitable business is you already have a profitable business, you’re just putting the profit back in the pool to be spent on new desk chairs and late night pizza runs. You’ve got to take that profit FIRST and put it where the sun don’t shine – or in the bank. Whatever you prefer.

This system, what I refer to as the Profit First Account (PFA), allows you to make a profit off of every sale. Not bad. Not bad at all. I know, I know, you’re wondering how the heck you’re supposed to run your business when you’re skimming 5% off the top? Easy. You adjust.

Five percent is doable. After a few weeks, you won’t even notice. You will adjust your spending, planning, and even your thinking to accommodate the swelling profits in your PFA. You’ll forget about the things you thought you needed and make do with what you have. (Come on, do you really need all of those paper clips? Join Office Depot Anonymous and get on with your life!)

Better yet, you will come up with scathingly brilliant ideas about how to best use the remaining 95% of your inbound revenue. In fact, you may actually come up with a remarkable innovation, one that could, say, catapult your business into the stratosphere of success. Imagine that.

The cherry on top of the PFA? Every quarter you get to take some of the money out and distribute it – TO YOURSELF. Eventually you’ll increase your percentage, transferring 10%-20% of each deposit into your PFA (at my company, we take 20% of every deposit). Whoa! Now you’re turning a massive profit for every single sale, building a multi-million dollar business one deposit at a time. Nice.

So, are you ready to party? Or you do you need to wait a minute for that transfer to go through?

Congrats!

This post was written by Michael Michalowicz. Mike is a serial entrepreneur, having successfully built and sold two companies. He is currently the founder and CEO of Obsidian Launch, a company that partners with young entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses. Mike is a regular guest on The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch. Check out his new book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, that hits the shelves today.


Air-Powered Cars and Recommended Reading

August 9, 2008

This story caught my attention today. CNN.com highlighted a company that is set to produce the first air-powered car by 2010. The car runs on compressed air, which essentially gets over 100 mpg. According to the article, the technology has been created by a European firm, MDI. It recently gave it’s first license to use the technology in the US to a New York based company, Zero Pollution Motors.

This will no doubt start a heated debate about the possibility of further development of this and similar technologies. There are plenty of skeptics out there, and this type of idea is sure to cause a commotion. If, in fact, this creation comes to fruition, it would be one of the best solutions to date for the rising oil crisis. Very innovative indeed.

For more thoughts and ideas on innovation, please check out my new recommended reading section. I have started to assemble a collection of books that discuss, empower, and inspire innovators everywhere. It is small to start, and only includes books that I have personally read. If you have any suggestions on books that should be listed please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you and adding to the collection rapidly.