Duck and Recover, The Embattled Business Owner's Guide to Survival and Growth
by Steven S. Little, John Wiley & Sons, 224 Pages, $22.95, Hardcover, June 2009, ISBN 9780470504901
When Todd and I are out talking about our book, The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
(yes, I know, a shameless plug) one of the questions we are almost always confronted with is "What books can give us some advice tailored to the current economic crisis?" That has been a hard question to answer until now, and Steve Little's new book is the answer we've been waiting for. It is the best I have read addressing the current economic climate, with real "take to the bank" ideas and solutions.
As the title indicates, Little suggests dealing with the current mess in two stages—Duck
, which defines section one of his book, entitled "Pressing Immediacies," and Recover
, Which he discusses in the second half of the book, "Growth Opportunities." Each of the sections is loaded with practical advice and useful ideas. In the Duck
section, Little talks about the famous notion that "it takes five times as much money to get a new customer than to retain an old one." In these stressful times, Little believes that this statement can cause businesses to make the fatal mistake of assuming that it is too expensive to try and acquire new customers. He advocates a common sense approach of continuing the search for new clients while husbanding your resources. He counsels that "ducking" shouldn’t be cowering in fear, but rather putting your organization "in the best position to release a focused, explosive movement when the time is right."
But it's the second half, the Recover section, where Little really excels. His first book, The 7 Irrefutable Rules of Small Business Growth
, was about growth, so this area is his sweet spot. He tells the story of sitting next to a road warrior sales person for a major telecom company while flying last Fall who said that she was being pulled off the road due to the economic crunch her company was feeling. As the author says "Can you see your opportunity here?...The telecom equipment sales rep was off to visit a $500,000 account. I can't imagine how her company couldn't justify the $500 to send her on this trip again in the months ahead. Clearly, spending $500 to visit an important account is not discretionary. It's a must-do, especially if competitors aren't showing up." Little goes on to suggest some quick tactics for getting and staying connected—having face-to-face meetings with clients and vendors, getting involved in your community, doing trade shows and becoming an information junkie.
This is the book I would recommend for all small business people to survive and thrive is these current times. This little book is a quick read and will help you to realize that, with sound financial and personnel management, this is the time to duck and recover, not duck and run.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.