The Benevolent Dictator: Empower Your Employees, Build Your Business, and Outwit the Competition


An unconventional philosophy for starting and building a business that exceeds your own expectations

What does it require to take a concept rapidly and effectively from mind to market? The Benevolent Dictator recognizes that entrepreneurship is a gauntlet. Those who succeed are benevolent dictators—able to make the intricate process happen in days, weeks and months to win.

The Benevolent Dictator gives you no-nonsense how-to advice and examples...

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The Benevolent Dictator: Empower Your Employees, Build Your Business, and Outwit the Competition

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An unconventional philosophy for starting and building a business that exceeds your own expectations

What does it require to take a concept rapidly and effectively from mind to market? The Benevolent Dictator recognizes that entrepreneurship is a gauntlet. Those who succeed are benevolent dictators—able to make the intricate process happen in days, weeks and months to win.

The Benevolent Dictator gives you no-nonsense how-to advice and examples that have worked. This non-traditional, gung-ho guide is not afraid to lay out the leadership methods that can effectively get a new business off the ground, and through the requisite fast-track growth phases that produce tangible success measured by your bottom line and your wallet.

  • Learn critical specifics on how to move from idea development to build-out, through steps for continuous improvement, and on to the big cash out
  • Features proven tools, strategies, and tactics that will help you bottle entrepreneurial lightning over and over again
  • As the cofounder of office retail giant OfficeMax, the author turned a $3 million investment into a $1.5 billion sale in his 16 years as CEO

Beating the competition is never easy. For those times when you need an iron hand, then you also need the wisdom to know when and how to use it. Whether you're a business student, aspiring entrepreneur, or a practicing executive, you need to discover the winning ways of The Benevolent Dictator.

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  • The Benevolent Dictator
    The Benevolent Dictator  

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118003916
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/7/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 1,491,995
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Feuer cofounded OfficeMax in 1988 starting with one store and $20,000 of his own money, a partner, and a small group of investors. As CEO, he grew it to more than one thousand stores worldwide with annual sales topping $5 billion. He is also CEO of Max-Ventures, a venture capital and retail consulting firm, and cofounder and CEO of Max-Wellness, a comprehensive health and wellness retail chain that launched in 2010. After opening initial laboratory test stores in Florida and Ohio, a national roll-out is now underway.

Dustin S. Klein is the Publisher and Executive Editor of Smart Business Network, publishers of Smart Business, the nation's second-largest chain of regional business publications. He has interviewed thousands of senior executives and civic leaders across America. He is a regular presenter on business-related issues for public and private business audiences and is a frequent guest on television, radio, and Internet programs.

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Table of Contents

Author’s Note.

Phase One Start-Up.

1. Lesson #1: To Successfully Launch a Start-Up, There Must Be a Benevolent Dictator.

2. Lesson #2: The Best Ideas Can Come from What’s Right in Front of Your Nose.

3. Lesson #3: How to Find the Money to Make Big Money.

4. Lesson #4: Once an Entrepreneur, Always an Entrepreneur.

5. Lesson #5: It’s Better to Be Lucky Than Just Good.

6. Lesson #6: ‘‘GOYA’’—The Only Way to Really Test an Idea.

7. Lesson #7: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Focus, Discipline, and Follow-Up.

8. Lesson #8: Competition Stinks.

Phase Two Build Out and Put the Idea to the Test.

9. Lesson #9: Business Is a Series of ‘‘Go’’ and ‘‘No-Go’’ Decisions.

10. Lesson #10: Treat an Idea Like Clay.

11. Lesson #11: Always Be Prepared with Plan B . . . And Sometimes C and D.

12. Lesson #12: You’ll Never Reach Critical Goals without a Definitive Timetable.

13. Lesson #13: Never Be as Weak as Your Weakest Link.

14. Lesson #14: Raising Additional Capital Requires Creating Demand.

15. Lesson #15: Everything You Wanted to Know about the ‘‘D’’ Word but Were Afraid to Ask.

16. Lesson #16: Managing People Is about Achieving Objectives through Others.

17. Lesson #17: Good Intentions Will Get You Only So Far.

18. Lesson #18: Don’t Open the Doors until the Start-Up Passes the Smell Test—And Don’t Be Afraid to Call Time-Out Just to Be Sure.

Phase Three Constant Reinvention.

19. Lesson #19: Pot Stirring 101—The Key to Continuous Reinvention.

20. Lesson #20: Is Perception Reality? How to Manage Risk, Take Chances, and Remain Standing.

21. Lesson #21: How to Keep Lethargy at Bay . . . Or Why Time Is Your Most Precious Resource.

22. Lesson #22: How to Avoid Analysis Paralysis by Learning When to Make ‘‘Battlefield’’ Decisions.

23. Lesson #23: Don’t Drink Your Own Bathwater—You Could Choke.

24. Lesson #24: When the Wolf’s at the Door, What You Do Can Make the Difference between Living to Fight Another Day and Going Down for the Count.

25. Lesson #25: Using the ‘‘Mother Rule’’ Can Help You Avoid Costly Hiring Mistakes.

26. Lesson #26: When Communicating, Cut to the Chase.

27. Lesson #27: Survival Math—Business Is Not a Zero-Sum Game.

28. Lesson #28: Manage by the Three Ps—Persistence, Perspiration, and Performance.

29. Lesson #29: You Can’t Live with ’Em—How to Manage Prima Donnas, Employees Who Think ‘‘It’s Not Their Job,’’ and the Perfectionists.

30. Lesson #30: The Golden Rule of Trust and Respect: You’ve Got to Give to Get.

31. Lesson #31: Why You Must Look at Business through the Customer’s Eyes, Not Just from an Operator’s Perspective.

32. Lesson #32: When It’s Time to Pull the Trigger and Fire a Customer or a Vendor.

33. Lesson #33: Spurring Growth—How to Eat an Elephant One Bite at a Time.

34. Lesson #34: If You Don’t Like the Competition . . . Buy Them If You Can.

35. Lesson #35: The Easiest Path to Hypergrowth Is with Other People’s Money.

36. Lesson #36: Beating the Competition Requires That You Know More about Their Vulnerabilities Than They Know about Themselves . . . And Knowing Yourself Better Than They Know You.

37. Lesson #37: If You Negotiate with Yourself, You Have a Fool for an Opponent.

Phase Four The Payday.

38. Lesson #38: Payday . . . And Lessons from the IPO Road Show.

39. Lesson #39: If the Flame Starts Flickering: How to Tell If the Fat Lady Is About to Sing.

40. Lesson #40: How to Put Lightning Back in the Bottle Again and Again—Many Entrepreneurs Are Serial Entrepreneurs.



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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    Benevolent Dictator - business lessons we can all learn

    Before I share how much I like this book, let's talk about the title first, because you might be thinking the same thing I was. From day one, I was not crazy about the title of Feuer's book. Anything related to dictatorship runs counter to my view of business leadership. However, I thought there had to be a reason this title was chosen, and why it made it past the publicist, so I did a little research. Here is what I found: "A benevolent dictatorship is a form of government in which an authoritarian leader exercises political power for the benefit of the whole population. A benevolent dictator may allow for some democratic decision-making to exist." If we take that definition and apply it to business, we have an idea of what this book is about. How can an entrepreneur get an idea to market quickly and successfully? How can a business owner beat the competition? How can you manage a business through fast-track growth? A benevolent dictator knows what this book tells readers. You need a little leadership for the whole group, a little dictatorship when things just need to get done, a little wisdom based in experience, and a little bit of luck for good measure. Feuer guides the read through the four phases of a business or product life cycle: idea development, build out, continuous improvements, and cash out. These phases are shared through 40 lessons based on Feuer's personal experience as co-founder of Office Max, and Dustin Klein's experience as publisher and executive director of the Smart Business network. A sampling of the chapter titles reveals the type of information shared. Lesson #9 is "Business is a series of "go" and "no-go" decisions. Lesson 16, "Managing people is about achieving objectives." Lesson #26, "When communicating, cut to the chase." Lesson #38, "Payday.and lessons from the IPO roadshow." I found the story aspect of each chaper to be very interesting. The narrative style makes this a fairly easy book to read. Though I am not entrepreneurial by nature, understanding the viewpoint a successful business owner brings to the table can only add value to my experiences. If you are considering taking a product to market or launching a new business, it would be a good idea to read this book. If nothing else, you may be reminded to look into something you may have forgotten. And, lessons learned through someone else's successes and challenges can't hurt either! Note: An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher. However, the content of the review and the opinions expressed were not influenced in any way by the publisher, author or any other party.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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