Biz Book Monthly - Town of Gravenhurst

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Biz Book Monthly


Biz Book Monthly is a new joint program between the Gravenhurst Public Library and local business support organizations.  Each month one of the business support organizations will provide a recommendation for a book that may be a good read for you and your businesses.  All you have to do is walk in and sign the book out for free with your library card.  Want to hear about a certain topic, let us know!

If you are part of the local business community and would like to provide a review of a Biz Book please ask library staff for more information.


Would you pay $100 for a sandwich?  Marketing your business the Contagious way!
Contagious - Why things Catch On by Jonah Berger

Review by Jeff Loney - Manager of Economic Development

It could have been the bright orange colour or the unique image of a dandelion floating out of a lightbulb that grabbed my attention with this book, maybe it was the story about a one hundred dollar cheesesteak sandwich.  Whatever did grab my attention I am glad that it did, this book was a step by step manual on how to get something to catch on.  We have all heard the term that word of mouth is the best advertising tool and this book takes an in-depth look into why that is the case.  When taken down to its most base premise this book argues that people don't listen to advertisements, they listen to their friends, family and those around them, they listen to 'social transmission'

Are you struggling with marketing your business?  Are you not sure where you should spend your precious advertising dollars?  Don't' worry you aren't alone.  Marketing is consistently one of the top 5 biggest challenges for businesses in Gravenhurst.  This book is for you, it talks about the importance of word of mouth.  Even monsters like Amazon have figured it out, every 5 star review will lead to the sale of 20 more books. 

This book goes through the six principles of being contagious:

  1. Social Currency - does your product or service make someone feel cool?
  2. Triggers - People will talk about what comes to mind, how do you trigger people to remember your product?
  3. Emotion - Emotions make people share, even negative ones.  What kind of emotion can your product induce in someone?
  4. Public - Capture that "Monkey See, Monkey Do" mentality, can people see others using your product?
  5. Practical Value - Can this save someone time? Improve a life? Save me money?  Why is your product practical for someone to own and tell others about?
  6. Stories - Humans tell stories, it is in our nature.  What about your product will make someone tell a story.

The STEPPS (Social currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical value and Stories) system that Berger outlines above is explored in more detail in the book and will give business owners different examples and suggestions for how to market their own product. Whether you have a product or a service this book is a great step toward increasing your word of mouth. 


Business Book For Business Leaders in Small Communities! - 13 Ways to Kill Your Community 

Reviewed by Stuart Morley 

For a progressive business (and community) leader in Muskoka to succeed, you need to learn and apply the language of small communities. This particularly applies to new comers to small communities. Some of the key words are NIMBYs, NOPEs, CAVEs, BANANAs, FEARS and many more acronyms that are described in Doug Griffiths' book, 13 Ways to Kill Your Community.

 Doug points out that folks who were born in a small community, and have never left, are in that community by default. They don't know what makes their community great. It is those that come from further away and picked the community on purpose for jobs, economic opportunities or the environment who have the insight. Doug goes on to explain - it is not the municipalities that drive the community forward - it is the STP (Same Ten People) who volunteer and show up at all the different committees to make the community a better place.

This book is a quick read, with practical advice for business leaders including how STPs deal with the biggest challenge facing small communities ...  and it is not the mosquitoes!

Griffiths provides stories and examples or how attitude is the biggest factor - and roadblock - to building a successful community. If your attitude says you and your community will be successful, you'll find a way to success. If your attitude says you're probably going to fail, you're going to fail.



Outliers - The Story of Success by  Malcolm Gladwell

Reviewed by Sandy Lockhart - Executive Director, Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce

It takes more than brains and a desire to work hard to achieve success.  A person's culture, birthdate, year of birth, family, friends and more has a profound effect on their success.

Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell looks at success from a different perspective in Outliers. After reading his book, one will view the path to success differently too.  And for any entrepreneur, it is important to always look at different perspectives.

This is all about outliers, about those who do things out of the ordinary to get extraordinary results.

Parents will find the section about birth month directly correlating to success of athletes interesting. Most players in the National Hockey league have birthdays in the first half of the year. For sports, it's all about age at registration time.

Entrepreneurs and business people will appreciate that Gladwell believes time spent practising greatly increases chance of success. They just might be disappointed to learn that his idea of time spent is about 10,000 hours.

Gladwell shares the stories of some very successful people - such as the Beatles and Bill Gates -  for them much of their success he credits to the magic 10.000 hours perfecting their skill.

Kids growing up with a sense of entitlement also seem to grow into more successful adults. Often they have more opportunities simply because they expect things to go well for them. Again, this can be transferred to business people, attitude is everything.

And the people with whom you surround yourself are so important. Gladwell sums it up when he says even rock stars and athletes can't make it all on their own.

The book is an interesting read with examples and captivating stories to support his theories. While you may not agree, it certainly gets one thinking and looking at the world a little differently.

Gladwell is a staff writer for the New York times and was a business and science reporter for the Washington Post. He is also the author of Tipping Point and Blink.



Work on your business, not in it.

Review by Lindsay Fetterley-Coles - Administrator, Gravenhurst Business Improvement Area

Michael E. Gerber has built a business coaching empire based on the "E-Myth", the Entrepreneurial Myth. As he explains in The E Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, most individuals who chose to start their own business are not entrepreneurs but technicians, and therein lies the reason for countless failures within the small business world.

In Part I Gerber outlines the different personalities necessary for a successful business, the entrepreneur, the technician and the manager. This is followed by the stages of business growth from infancy to adolescence to maturity. Gerber identifies fatal flaws that exist within each of these components. Throughout the book, he follows the story of a small business owner who is sitting at critical crossroads in the development of her business.

Part II looks at the franchise and the impact it has had on the business world in recent history. Gerber explains how many passionate individuals base their business on a flawed model that is destined to fail. He identifies what we can learn from the franchise, minor changes that can take your business from a state of chaos to one of order, excitement and continuous growth, and how to develop your business franchise prototype. The focus now shifts from working in your business to working on it.

In Part III Gerber outlines the E-Myth Mastery Program, a step-by-step business development process for building a small business that works. With focus on innovation, quantification and orchestration, anyone can build a business franchise prototype destined for success. Gerber walks the reader through strategic exercises designed to target and strengthen the lifeline of your business.

Not only is the E-Myth Revisited a straightforward, enjoyable read for anyone interested in small business, it also forces the reader through a journey of self-reflection in relation to their business endeavors. It offers genuine advice and realistic actions that span the experience spectrum. It is currently available at the Gravenhurst Public Library.



Mixology for your Business, not just the Dock

Review by Jeff Loney - Manager of Economic Development, Town of Gravenhurst

Frank Gruber famous for his work in launching and starting high-tech companies decided to take a walk in the author's sandbox.  His book "Startup Mixology: Tech Cocktails guide to building, growing and celebrating startup business" has a number of good and useful points for a number of different groups.

Why you should read this book?

  • I'm thinking of starting a business
    • This book will give you all of the general ways to start a business but will also work to inspire you with relevant case studies.  Gruber outlines the process from taking that crazy idea and moving it into action and ultimately formation of the company.  Bringing up topics such as "When should I moonlight and when should I leave my full time job?"
  • I have a product idea what do I do now?
    • Gruber talks about developing your product and what to do next.  Giving tips for getting into unexpected markets with your product and learning from relevant case studies may spark some more ideas.
  • I own a business, how do I keep and retain staff?
    • Startup Mixology talks about your team and people, focusing on the culture of your startup.  This culture can determine whether people want to work with you, or are looking for another job.  Some easy to implement ideas are presented in this book.
  • Do I need more money to run my business?
    • Pick yourself up by the bootstraps and keep moving was a popular term when I was younger, this book talks about bootstrapping your business, doing more with less.  When that doesn't work some relevant examples for finding financing for both startup and operation are outlined for you.
  • My Business is a Success or not doing as well?
    • Whether you're business is a success and you are looking to scale up or you a struggling and wondering what the next step is, some real life examples can help you figure out what to do next.  Gruber is quite clear that collaboration is crucial.

"Start-up Mixology" is a great well rounded book for any business owner to read, whether they are just beginning or have been in business for years.  Grab it from the Gravenhurst Public Library today.