The Sustainable Edge: 15 Minutes a Week to a Richer Entrepreneurial Life – Ron Carson

Here are my comments on the book:

How do you get your business to the next level? Ron Carson, founder and CEO of one of the largest wealth advisory firms in America (Carson Wealth), addresses various strategies to do so such as focusing on your business’ main driver, over delivering to customers, using key performance indicators, and simplifying/reducing the unnecessary parts of your business. Carson includes several appendices of tables with very reflective questions that get you thinking on how to improve your business that are to be reviewed 15 minutes/week. Here are some of the points to the book:


1. Whether you currently run a business or are thinking of starting one, find something that you’re passionate about and stick with it. I believe the saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” by Marc Anthony holds true. If you have a business or are going to start a business that you’re not passionate your business will run you rather than you running it. Your passion for something should be the ultimate driver behind it. One aspect of running Carson Wealth that Ron particularly enjoys is sharing his personal passions – from hunting to aviation to fine wines – with clients. Not only does Ron have a passion that pays, he also doesn’t distinguish between work and play. To him it’s all living. He is doing what he loves to do all the time. Recently Ron was in Napa Valley meeting with a valued client to build on their relationship. He asked the client to introduce him to two other prospects who shared their love of wine as they met at a winery and sipped an amazing vintage. What part of that was work and what part was play? The point is there is no distinction. It was all Ron’s passion. Immerse yourself in what you love, and you’ll never have to ‘work’ another day.


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2. Feeling lost and not exactly sure what sort of business to go into? In the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, he talks about the “hedgehog concept” to help you identify what to go into. This is basically a Venn diagram with 3 circles intersecting, each with its own consideration of starting a business: 1) What you can be the best in the world at 2) What drives your economic engine 3) What you are deeply passionate about. Essentially, you want to find something that matches up with all those 3 things. With exponentially increasing competition in today’s market, it is more important than ever for entrepreneurs to focus on their core competency. You must know, definitively, where you can add value to the marketplace-and you must act on it every day. It is better to excel in one niche than to try to be good at everything, if you want to achieve the Sustainable Edge. Practice your core competency until you can execute it flawlessly. Intense focus is the key to harnessing the power of your mind to achieve success. If you try to improve on all of your weaknesses, you’ll end up with quite a few strong weaknesses and underdeveloped strengths. We’re sure you’ve never complimented someone on their underdeveloped strengths! Tap into your core competency as if you were a star athlete-then you’ll never have to rethink it in the moment and risk ‘choking.’ Google is a great example of excelling in one niche. From day one, it committed itself to being the best and most used online search tool and devoted its every resource to dominating its market. What search engine do you use? We’re pretty confident that if you tried any others, you’d see that one one else comes close to what Google offers. By honing in on its niche, Google has become the go-to search engine. In fact, its name brand has even become the verb we use to describe searching the Internet.


3. Whether it’s your business, finances, or health, use metrics to help you evaluate the progress that you’re making. Take a baseline of where you are and where you’d like to be; you can’t track what you don’t measure as numbers don’t lie. Want to increase your net worth? Every month take a look at the numbers of your cash in and outflow. Want to lose weight? Step on the scale every week and see if it’s gone up or down. Ron finds piloting a plane to be a great metaphor for running a business. We recommend you take a similar approach to the metrics you use to track the progress of your business that the aviation industry did for airplanes – simplify. Focus on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that move the needle for your company’s annual and quarterly priorities and post them for all to see, so you can achieve the minimum 15 percent growth imperative that is critical to achieving the Sustainable Edge. Simplifying and streamlining, combined with your laser focus on your goals, will make it much easier to pilot your business. Don’t get mired down in tracking too many metrics. Remember, we’re encouraging you to simplify. If an activity doesn’t provide greater value for your customers and culture in a major way, monitoring it will become a distraction in today’s complex business environment. Every metric you use should ultimately contribute to growing your firm at 15 percent or more annually or to contribute factors that indirectly support your goals, such as making your client experience better.


4. Deliver to your customers more than what they expect. Imagine for a second that you purchased an intricate shelf and get it delivered to your house. On the day of delivery, you’re expecting to spend a couple of hours assembling it. However, instead of you doing it, they assemble it AND do it free of charge. Your expectations will be have been blown away and the next time you need furniture, chances are you’ll go to them first. To grow your business at a minimum of 15 percent a year and achieve the Sustainable Edge, you must earn the trust of every customer and prospect. Being boldly vulnerable and radically transparent, as we discussed in the last chapter, will help you to achieve that goal, but there’s more to the equation. To counter the distrust, you must deliver value beyond a doubt. Even if customers trust you, they won’t keep coming back if you don’t provide something that truly benefits them. You need to back up what you say with what you do. The value you bring must transcend the fine print of your contracts. As John Bogle said in his book, Enough, delivering value to your clients is about being an eighteenth-century man in a twenty-first century society. It is about serving-not being self-serving. You’ve got to deliver something customers want or need, and you have to do it better than your competitors.


By Ryan Timothy Lee


My rating:
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Check out the book here:
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK


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1 Comment

  1. […] and think of ways how you can one-up your goals after you’ve reached them. In the book The Sustainable Edge, Ron Carson talks about setting up actions to increase your business by 15%/year. If you […]


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