The Bookworm Part XV by Ben J. Pritchett
How many of us (who have been coaches for more than a nanosecond) have come across a business owner who left us scratching our heads and thinking “That guy’s not a businessperson.” or “That lady shouldn’t own a business.” or “Am I in the Twilight Zone?”
For that matter, how many of us have looked in the mirror in the morning and thought the same thing about ourselves? We all have.
We all have our doubts and moments when we question what we’ve done.
Do you know what the real problem is, though? Most of us and many of our clients (or prospects) don’t know how to be entrepreneurs.
As we discussed in my very first Book Worm article, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber is required reading for all business coaches and business owners. Why? Because it dives into the fact that not everybody is an entrepreneur.
Many business owners are technicians who ended up with their own businesses because they were unemployed or got sick of being employed; it wasn’t because they had a lifelong desire to be self-employed. Others are displaced executives who decided to go it alone (which is also a massive source of new business coaches and consultants.)
So, in my opinion, learning entrepreneurial basics (particularly finance) is extremely important for everybody reading this article. A solid understanding of the topic will also allow you, the coach, to better assist your client – especially when you find yourself asking any of the questions noted in the first paragraph.
Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant
By Robert T. Kiyosaki
When the original Rich Dad Poor Dad book came out, I mostly ignored it, even though many of my friends and acquaintances were reading it, and more than a few of them began investing in real estate because of it. I did read it later, and I do consider it a good book, but it’s not Kiyosaki’s best book.
His best book, in my opinion, is CASHFLOW Quadrant, and I’ll tell you why: because it plainly and easily explains the differences between an Employee, a Self-Employed person, a Business Owner and an Investor. I absolutely guarantee you that most of your clients and prospects don’t have a grasp on this.
If you’re trying to get through to them and explain why they need to start working more on their business, rather than in it (classic E-Myth), you have to be able to show the difference between how an employee and an entrepreneur thinks. If you want to show them the importance of systematizing their business, there’s no better way to do that than by showing them the difference between the self-employed and the business owner.
There’s nothing complicated in this book. You can read it and adapt it to teach your clients and also to change your way of thinking about things. Too many people own their own business but continue behaving like employees. Are you one of them?
The Richest Man in Babylon
by George S. Clason
When it comes to books on personal finance and our relationship with money, the phrase “oldie but a goodie” comes to mind about this book. The stories in it were published about a century ago, and the tales in it are set in ancient Babylon, but they’re as accurate today as they were then.
I must admit that I’ve been out of formal school for longer than I care to think about (although I am a lifelong student and multiple degree holder in the School of Hard Knocks). During all of my years in formal education, I never saw a single course about personal finance.
The schools taught me the periodic tables and what X equals … they attempted to show me punctuation and how to speak French … they taught me who Hitler and Churchill were and a ton of other things. But, they never showed me how to balance a chequebook, how to get and manage credit, or how to plan and save for the future.
The reality is that business school doesn’t really hit many of those things either (except balancing the chequebook if you take accounting). We learn to complete projections, sometimes how to apply for a loan, but not how to manage our personal finances.
Through a series of short, easy-to-read and easy to understand parables, this little book can start laying the foundations for your finances, and you can share your new-found knowledge with your clients when the opportunity presents itself.
Stop Acting Rich: …And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire
by Thomas J. Stanley
If you’re looking for a page-turning, riveting book, take a pass on this. Stanley is a Ph.D. (I once heard one of these doctors refer to it as “Piled high and Deep”), and this is his topic. He probably knows this topic like nobody else and has the stats, data and stories to back it up in his books.
As coaches, I think it’s fair to say that we’d like to see nearly all of our clients become millionaires, and, if we help enough people get there, maybe, just maybe, we might become millionaires ourselves in the process.
I’m running out of room for this article, so suffice it to say that one of the best ways to become anything is to study somebody else who is already proficient at it. Well, Stanley can show us data on thousands who have achieved millionaire status. Study it and learn from it for your sake and your clients as well.
For bonus reading, check out Stanley’s other book: Selling to the Affluent because it just might give you some ideas about trading up to a different level of clientele.
Final thoughts …
If we don’t have our finances in order, we don’t have the moral authority to teach others how to fix theirs (and it’s a big part of coaching any business owner).
On a purely selfish basis, if they don’t have the money, they can’t pay us either.
Let’s kill two birds with one stone: get our finances stronger than ever and then show our clients how to do the same, so they can grow their businesses and pay us too!
About Ben Pritchett
Ben Pritchett started his first business at the age of 15, and began his own consulting practice in 1991. For over 25 years he has worked with clients in many industries including restaurants, direct sales, software development, tourism, dimension stone (granite quarrying and manufacturing), aviation, and optometry, just to name a few. Companies coached by Ben have nearly doubled and tripled their revenues in a single year.