Dave Donelson spent many years in the small business trenches and it shows in this book. He understands what makes a small business work and knows how to make it work better. His advice is practical, his approach realistic, and he keeps the preaching to a minimum.
As a small business owner myself, I identified with many of the entrepreneurs the author interviewed. They include a wide range of businesses in retailing, service, and manufacturing. The book is basically a collection of articles Donelson wrote for various trade publications (there's a list in the front of the book) covering auto service, nurseries, pizza parlors, health clubs, home building, art galleries, and many more. He does a good job of showing how the problems and solutions in one type of business apply to another.
The advice the author gives is very down to earth. When he talks about competing with Big Box stores, for example, he points out, "You can be very successful selling add-ons to your customers whereas the clerk in the megastore (if you can find one) is charged with doing little more than ringing up the sale and processing your credit card." Later in the same chapter he advises the small retailer to target their advertising: "When the only people who see your ads are those in the market for your product, the return on your investment skyrockets. Ads in home show programs, signage at the shows, your logo on a builder's dream home, post cards sent to the local garden club's members--these are ways you can promote your business without breaking the bank."
I'm not sure any of the ad campaigns and promotions he explains in the last section of the book are ones I can use because of the type of business I run, but they did start me thinking about some possibilities. To me, that's the measure of a good business book--it gets my creative juices flowing.
Dave Donelson, author of The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Marketing & Advertising: How To Grow Sales And Boost Your Profits a how-to book for business owners and managers.