The Benevolent Dictator: Empower Your Employees, Build Your Business, and Outwit the Competition [NOOK Book]


When you're running the gauntlet of building a business, you can'tkeep stopping to ask for consensus. You can't hold a protracteddebate about strategy while your competition passes you by. At somepoint, you—the entrepreneur with everything atstake—must embrace your role as the benevolent dictator.

Great companies that made it to the top survived the dauntingstart-up phase by possessing a singular idea and one individualwilling to take the chance and pull the trigger. The ...

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

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When you're running the gauntlet of building a business, you can'tkeep stopping to ask for consensus. You can't hold a protracteddebate about strategy while your competition passes you by. At somepoint, you—the entrepreneur with everything atstake—must embrace your role as the benevolent dictator.

Great companies that made it to the top survived the dauntingstart-up phase by possessing a singular idea and one individualwilling to take the chance and pull the trigger. The BenevolentDictator recognizes that entrepreneurs have to possess the courageto lead and the good sense to always put the entity—itsemployees, investors, and customers—way ahead of themselves.In scores of specific leadership lessons, this gung-ho guide laysout the leadership methods that can effectively launch a newbusiness and navigate it through fast-track growth phases. Itdelivers no-nonsense lessons and real-world examples,including:

  • The Law of Other People's Money, the easiest path tohyper-growth
  • The power of focus, discipline, and follow-u
  • Look at an idea through a customer's eyes—not just from anoperator's perspective
  • Always play by the "Mother Rule": If you don't want your motherto know about it, don't do it—because it is probablywrong
  • Know when to pull the plug
  • How to put lightning back in the bottle again and again

Success comes from a combination of focus, determination,diligence, pure grit, luck, and chutzpah—and knowing when tobe an autocrat. Now that you know what you are, learn how to makeit work for your current or next big idea.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118061541
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/9/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,226,044
  • File size: 871 KB

Meet the Author

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

Dustin S. Klein is the Publisher and Executive Editor ofSmart Business Network, publishers of Smart Business, the nation'ssecond-largest chain of regional business publications. He hasinterviewed thousands of senior executives and civic leaders acrossAmerica. He is a regular presenter on business-related issues forpublic and private business audiences and is a frequent guest ontelevision, 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 aBenevolent Dictator.

2. Lesson #2: The Best Ideas Can Come from What’s Right inFront 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 OnlyWay 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 . . . AndSometimes C and D.

12. Lesson #12: You’ll Never Reach Critical Goals withouta Definitive Timetable.

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

14. Lesson #14: Raising Additional Capital Requires CreatingDemand.

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 Objectivesthrough Others.

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

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

Phase Three Constant Reinvention.

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

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

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

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

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

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

25. Lesson #25: Using the ‘‘MotherRule’’ 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-SumGame.

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

29. Lesson #29: You Can’t Live with ’Em—How toManage Prima Donnas, Employees Who Think ‘‘It’sNot 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 theCustomer’s Eyes, Not Just from an Operator’sPerspective.

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

33. Lesson #33: Spurring Growth—How to Eat an Elephant OneBite 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 OtherPeople’s Money.

36. Lesson #36: Beating the Competition Requires That You KnowMore 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 Foolfor an Opponent.

Phase Four The Payday.

38. Lesson #38: Payday . . . And Lessons from the IPO RoadShow.

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

40. Lesson #40: How to Put Lightning Back in the Bottle Againand 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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