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Business-To-Business Golf: How To Swing Your Way To Business Success
By Michael Andrew Smith
"Golf brings out a person's character. You will observe your guests' character and they yours. Accept it for what it is." Michael Smith
If you're an entrepreneur who likes to play golf or if you think playing golf could be a good business networking opportunity for you, you'll enjoy reading Business-To-Business Golf: How To Swing Your Way To Business Success by Michael Smith.
Smith divides his book into eighteen chapters, one for each hole of golf. Smith begins by posing a question about business-golf etiquette, answers it, and then discusses solid business ideas based upon his experience in the financial services industry and as an entrepreneur in the field of manufacturing.
On the 6th hole, Smith gives us this scenario: "... You're on the green putting for a birdie from about twenty-five feet away. Your guest is standing quite close to you and does not seem to realize how much it is bothering your concentration. You wish to communicate using one of the following:"
Smith gives three possible golf-etiquette answers:
"A. Wave your arm at your guest to have him or her move a little and say nothing.
B. In a pleasant way, ask your guest to move away since it is bothering you.
C. Don't rock the boat since this is an important client and you do not want to miss any sale opportunities. Go ahead and putt."
What? Whack the guest on the shin with your putter is not an option? Smith says the correct answer is B because it shows diplomacy and shows you're willing to confront problems without hesitation. Smith says C is the worst choice because it may indicate a personal weakness your guest is trying to probe--a lack of assertion which might well lead you to hide problems from the client.
On the 8th hole, Smith poses the question: "...Your second shot finds you just off the fairway in the rough. While addressing the ball, you inadvertently touch the ball with your club and the ball moves from its original position about an inch or so. You know full well that the golf rules mandate a one stroke penalty."
What do you do? Smith gives these choices:
"A. Do not worry about it since your guest was on the opposite side of the fairway and could not have possibly noticed.
B. Your intention is to say something but wait until later in the round.
The birdie (correct answer) is C. However, since the film "The Legend of Bagger Vance," I question people who call strokes against themselves for just touching the ball. Are they really just being honest or are they sacrificing an insignificant golf stroke to impress me with their Matt Damon honesty?
So, maybe, if you are playing the skeptical, untrusting sort, it's better to ignore the minor touch. Or, if you feel it's really a question of ethics, take a huge swing and run it over the top of the ball! Personally, I feel that the rules of golf should be changed to exclude any stroke, excluding putts, which moves the ball less than about five feet!
Many of the golf-etiquette lessons are pretty basic, but some are also more advanced and could really help you in a business-golf situation. For example, I didn't know that the rules of golf disallow a person to search for a ball for more than five minutes. That probably explains the looks I got while I searched for a ball just outside the pond. I saw it land just outside the pond right by the duck and didn't think it rolled in. Lesson: Don't use ducks as ball markers.
While half of Business-To-Business Golf: How To Swing Your Way To Business Success is devoted to golf etiquette, the other half is devoted to business lessons entrepreneurs will find useful.
For example, Smith tells us about the 80/20 principle which says that for many businesses only 20% of all customers account for 80% of the company's sales. Smith compares business measurements to golf scores. How can you know how well your company is doing if you don't keep proper score?
Smith writes: "Do you list your most important statistics? Can you readily assess your key costs? How are your sales listed--by type of units or services, volume or profitability? Who are your most profitable customers? Why do they place their business with you? Are there others that you can add to your list of key customers? Do you know what your tip customers represent in overall sales to your business?"
Smith suggests listing your top 20% of customers by both gross sales and profitability and then looking for similarities between these customers so that you'll have more insight into finding profitable customers.
Business-To-Business Golf: How To Swing Your Way To Business Success also contains a short glossary of golf terms (bogey is one over par, birdie is one under par) and a short list of some basic golf rules which people new to golf can use.
Overall, if you enjoy golf (or, are just learning to play it) and you enjoy reading about business, you'll probably enjoy Business-To-Business Golf: How To Swing Your Way To Business Success.