Every year I read a TON of books. And I mean a lot.
I’ve always loved reading and I believe the urban myth somewhere states ‘leaders are readers’ and certainly, I’ve always found that if I am stuck with a problem a book will often present with me numerous solutions.
Here's a selection from the numerous books I read in 2017 which I think will massively accelerate your success in business, sales, financial investments and health.
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
This book blew my mind when I read it. I'd heard about Zappo's of course and their eventual purchase by Amazon but when I had some staffing issues last year, I took a deep dive into the world of co-working, company culture, team dynamics, hiring and firing, profiling and this book came flying out of the pack.
Wow - what a company first and foremost.
I knew when I was searching for books on building teams that one of the things that was highly important for me was creating the right culture
And Zappo's are renown for having one of the best team cultures in the business.
They do this through a set of 10 core values including
But the thing that really glues this all together is the way the whole hiring process through to induction through to employee integration into the company is fully backed and driven by the company values.
Some crazy things at Zappo's 🙂
The refreshing thing for me was that the book was easy to read; it tells the story of how Zappo's built their company and it also details how they built their core values and culture.
If you're serious about building a team and a culture, then get this today! You'll pick up loads of ideas that you could implement right away.
Highly Recommended. 4 / 5 Stars
Head Strong by Dave Asprey
Wealth is nothing without health and this book will change the way you view light, food and drink, sleep and toxins.
In short, it's a life-bio-hack on how to perform better, work smarter and effectively think faster within a two week period. Provided you follow the book's plan of course.
I'd heard a lot about 'bullet-proof coffee' which is what attracted me to Dave's book in the first place but what I was not expecting was the level of information, references and quotations from bona-fide genuine authoritative sources to back up his claims.
Because if you can claim that coffee can make your brain work smarter, you really do need to have tested this out in laboratory conditions.
Well guess what; they have.
But what I found more interesting was all of the other daily things that we take for granted that do impact us on a molecular and cellular level.
Things such as the amount of mould in our food and how this affect our bodies; what do bright strip lights do to our brain and how does damp really affect the way we process information.
So for anybody that has any level of interest in how to become a better faster smarter version of themselves, I'd highly recommend you check this out.
Within 2 weeks, you could be a different man or woman!
Recommended For All Health Conscious and Life-Hackers Everywhere. 4 / 5 Stars
Unshakeable by Tony Robbins
I did debate putting this higher in my Top 5 but as you will see from the books that made the Top 3; all of them are world-class but for different reasons.
Tony's book is to all intents and purposes, a cut-down of his behemoth 'Money Master The Game' but easier to dip into and full of great advice.
The thing I always like about Tony's books are twofold
This means that when you read 'Unshakeable' you are already benefitting from the advice of people actually doing what Tony is interviewing them about - and have been mega-successful in their endeavours.
For this book, Tony interview 50 of the world's greatest financial minds and with the advice given in this book, makes it easy for anybody that has any interest of understanding how money works - and from that to achieve financial freedom.
Tony delves down into common mistakes most investors make, how to prepare for the financial maelstrom coming, how to avoid paying outrageous fees and charges on your investments and pension plan and then in the latter half of the book provides one of his playbooks on how to take these principles and distill them into every investment decision you make going forward.
I'll be honest, I'm a huge fan of Tony's but this book surprised me because of how easy it is to dig into - and in fact, I've given out dozens of copies of this to my mentees over the past year because I rate it that MUCH!
If you've not got it well here's a few more reasons why you need this book.
Once you understand how to make the right decisions, then you also need to understand how to navigate crashes and corrections in order to protect your financial freedom. This is covered in detail with Tony wrapping up the book talking about psychology.
Now this may surprise you but when I attended 'Business Mastery' last year in Palm Beach, Florida, the entire first day was focused on psychology of business.
Because it's that important and pyschology is everything if you are going to succeed.
And by understanding the common mistakes investors make and how to avoid them, this allows you to build real wealth in the long term.
Includes a handy 22-page checklist on fortifying and protecting your wealth.
Highly Highly Recommended If You Wish To Build and Protect Your Wealth
Way Of The Wolf by Jordan Belford
I'm sure most people are aware of 'The Wolf of Wall Street' film and like him or loathe him for dubious business practices in the past which led him to being jailed, Jordan Belfort is one of the greatest living talents around who can show you how to persuade and influence people to buying a product or service.
The book is effectively a stripped down version of his popular online/live programme 'Straight Line Persuasion' and is a really easy read but filled with tons and tons of actionable content.
It's great for anybody who has to persuade anybody to buy something from them - so pretty much the entire world then!
What I liked about 'Way Of The Wolf' is how by sharing stories and case studies, it was easy to see how you could then implement it into your own business.
Now I've been selling for many years but even so, I was blown away by the amount of content that Jordan put into this book.
It's almost as good as being in the room live with him; there is that much information contained within the 248 pages.
Jordan describes the crucial 'first four seconds' and what happens if you get it wrong, how to use tonality and body language, the critical importance of state management and how to implement this all so it becomes seamless.
He then puts this into his 'ten rules for prospecting' and as I said earlier gives so much content, its rapidly becoming one of my go-to books every time I make a sales presentation of any kind! In short:
if you are not getting enough sales, buy the book.
if you are skint or broke, buy the book.
if you want a new house or car or toy, buy the book.
if you want to crush your competitors, buy the book.
(if you've seen the film, you'll know why I just did that)
5 STAR RECOMMENDATION FOR ALL BUSINESS OWNERS & SALES PROFESSIONALS EVERYWHERE!
Traction by Gino Wickman
This book saved my life and my business too. When I had experienced significant issues in 2016 resulting in two members of staff leaving on the same day, I knew I had to change my entire business, team culture and how I managed my team.
The result after hours of searching was this BIBLE of how to really 'get a grip on your business'
The beautiful quality about this book is that it takes a dry subject and makes it absolutely compelling; so much so that you are itching to get going with your business make-over from day 1.
But hold on; as with all books it's best to take it as the author intended and whilst there are countless exercises and action items to do, I'd recommend holding off until Chapter 10 when everything is explained about how to 'get started'.
Effectively the book centres around the idea that every business needs a Entrepreneurial Operating System (R) and without this in place, a business will often lose money or even close.
The fundamental components of this model include:
The book is fabulous because it's easy to start a business but what is difficult is scaling up. And this book takes you through a process of starting to manage your team and yourself in a much more effective structured and accountable fashion.
6/5 STAR RECOMMENDATION: IF YOU BUY ONLY ONE BOOK TO IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS, BUY THIS ONE!
Cracking The Property Code by Matthew Moody
Now as this is mainly a blog aimed at people wanting to build a property portfolio, I thought it only right to end with a book that whilst published a few years back was re-released last year in its 2017 Edition.
If you're after a book that really gets down to the business of creating a property empire, how to choose your strategy, how to create an organisation, how to construct systems and processes and how to manage your team; then there is no better book out there.
But don't just take my word for it; have a look at what the guys and gals from 'Your Property Network' the leading monthly property magazine said in their review:
If you are thinking about starting a property business, then do yourself a big favour and grab a copy.
If you're already in the 'property business' but not managed to extract yourself from day-to-day operations, you know what to do - grab yourself a copy.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY 'YOUR PROPERTY NETWORK'
So there concludes my top books that were published last year.
I'd heartily recommend you get one or two or even all of them and set out a plan to read them diligently step-by-step.
Here's a few suggestions as to how you may do that.
All graphics are copyright of their respective owners.
Buy a book and let me know what you thought about it.
There is a serious problem in the United Kingdom which is not being addressed by governments either current or past.
Housing is at an all-time high due to inward pressure from a burgeoning population and external market forces from overseas demand.
In short: the housing market is at a tipping point.
It is the intent of the author through this white paper to illustrate trends that he has seen over the last decade and by using current statistics and predictions from industry bodies; paint a picture of what the future may be for our housing stock.
It will be focused on a niche sector of the private rental sector commonly known as a HMO being the sector within which Matthew Moodyl the author has been operating multiple businesses over the last 14 years.
Furthermore the author will make several recommendations as to how we could solve these issues going forward.
The rise in the private rental sector of HMO’s has come in part from several sources including restrictions to bank funding, the removal of sale and rent back, restrictions upon house class, growing student population, increasing transient working class and a booming training market.
2027 The HMO Sector
What we now need to consider is what the future of this sector looks like 10 years from now and create appropriate but actionable solutions to move forward.
With the future of the private rental sector in sheer jeopardy with the folly of recent and past government actions, one has to wonder; what does the future of the HMO sector look like for us?
In this blog post, we will review the following areas:
Housing Act 2004
Let us begin by reviewing this Act.
Despite the Stature being 13 years old; the foundations of the current approach to Housing is the same as it was back in the early part of the millennia.
Successive governments have tampered with the Act by introducing additional legislature and amendments, but no one Housing Minister has been brave enough to introduce a brand new act to cater for the growth in the private rental sector.
We now found ourselves with yet another ‘White Paper‘ and pseudo-fake consultation on the future of the sector.
What we need to review and contemplate is the very Act itself; what it is designed to do and where it needs to end up.
Given the recent Government concessions that the private rental sector will continue to grow and that we may be moving more towards the continental model; we do need to concede that the current Housing Act is obsolete and needs replacing quickly with a more modern and forward looking approach to the challenges we face.
As to the very nature of this and its contents, this is something that author will consider within the various elements that make up the Housing industry and what could or should be considered moving forward.
Our housing market has changed dramatically but unless the government takes on the task of reviewing and revising this Housing Act; we will end up in a situation where more and more people become homeless, regulations become over-burdensome and the supply of housing will become choked.
Long the bone of many a home-owner and also a landlord, the very notion of council tax based on bandings from the 1990’s seems at first preposterous and at second, wildly out of tune with the times.
Needless be it for me to kick myself or my fellow landlords firmly in the foot but surely it would be better for the government to consider a legal-of-age ‘per person’ taxation rather than the rather quaint system currently enjoyed where it is entirely possible for a landlord to take a normal terrace property paying Band A or B council tax and transform this into a 5-7 bedroom property BUT still remain paying the same council tax.
Indeed it would almost be fairer if a person just paid a ‘housing or living’ tax as this is what it is no matter where they abode – and certainly for those transient tenants, this would actually raise MORE revenue for the government rather than less.
At the same time, we must also address the current ludicrous decision made by failing councils due to inept financial controls and out-of-control spending to tax a property investor who is refurbishing a home to improve the standard of rental stock or who is looking for a new tenant because the previous tenant left.
It seems unfair to me that a single person qualifies for a 25% reduction in council tax yet an empty property qualifies for no discount at all.
Yet again, landlords are being used as a scape-goat for an ever increasing and desperate government who have sold the family silver, gold and still wish to eat their cake whilst the cupboards are bare.
By moving to a per person ‘housing’ or ‘living’ tax, this would ensure that services are being paid for by the people using the services and move the responsibility from the property owner to the occupant to pay this tax.
The focus on licensing since 2004 has been nothing short of incredible.
Despite what the government would want you to believe; licensing has done little apart from tax the good landlords and allow the rogue landlords to carry on operating.
Whether the licensing scheme be mandatory or selective or additional, the rogue landlords will continue to proliferate and bring down the private rental sector because there are still too many of them, there are far too few council staff and most tellingly, the good landlords effectively continue to subsidise these bad landlords.
We are seeing councils implement ‘Selective‘ or ‘Additional‘ licensing schemes across the country in a desperate attempt to shore up bank balances and create a revenue stream despite the Government’s insistence that a licence fee should be a cost-neutral exercise. We have seen departments of 8-12 people spring up overnight from new licensing schemes created leading us to ask the question; if this is cost neutral why are so many new employees needed to run the scheme and secondly if there is a serious attempt to crack down on rogue landlords; why is there not a Rogue Landlord squad on each council – similar to a Fraud Squad or similar who investigate financial crimes.
We are also seeing no consistency in approach led by councils on the licensing of properties which leads to uncertainty in the market and certainly will inconvenience the institutional investors the government are so fond of.
It is necessary to have a licensing regime but at the same time, I believe that the scheme should be national in nature; centralised training should be provided at government level on ‘interpretation’ of the licensing scheme and that more help and assistance be given to the good landlords who are trying to comply in order to improve the housing stock.
So let us know what your opinion is regarding the future of HMOs!
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us!
A new minimum bedroom size and the extension of licensing to thousands more properties are to form part of a government crackdown on rogue landlords who cram tenants into overcrowded homes. As rents have risen in recent years some landlords have attempted to maximise profits by squeezing tenants into rabbit-hutch properties. Family homes have been divided into bedsits, with some landlords letting spaces that are just three metres squared, or advertising rooms that are shared with other tenants.
There have been rumblings since the original measures of the act came into force in 2007 that the HMO definition needed to be revised to make it all encompassing and not just the three storey, five people, two household rules for mandatory licensing. The strict definition of an HMO has been the point of conjecture amongst both enforcement agents and the landlord fraternity, and in some cases the legal definition has been challenged to the full extent of the law.
Even now, I have to correct, albeit as diplomatically as I can, some beliefs around the definition of an HMO and in some cases, these are people who should know the difference between an HMO and a property that needs a mandatory license. Too often HMO is a term used to describe ‘a licensable property’ and the confusion to a certain extent can be firmly laid at the door of the councils of England and Wales. In some cases I have dealt with on behalf of landlords in the East Midlands, I have needed to re-educate Council Officials on the difference between an HMO requiring a mandatory license, and a property that is an HMO but only requires planning permission to comply.
On top of that, bedroom sizes, have become a sticking point. Again in some cases, it could be argued that the ‘size’ of a bedroom has been used to restrict the occupancy of a property under a license as a way of the council controlling the proliferation of multi-let properties under their jurisdiction. A guideline or directive from central Government does not have to be followed by a local council as it is not a legal requirement,. Hence councils have been allowed to implement their own guidelines on room size. Legislating will remove this ambiguity and create a level playing field for all property owners.
I do, however, have one niggling and recurring thought to all of this; Will additional or refining existing legislation really curb the appetite of the ‘Rogue’ landlord? or, as is the case to date, will it just push up the costs associated with renting a property. whether that be landlord or tenant costs?
Does the Private Rented Sector (PRS) need any more regulation?
What are your thoughts? Have you seen the impact, good or bad, of the current legislative regime on your housing stock?
Let’s talk about leverage;
In the property world, investment in property works where the money you invest (or not) is geared to generate a higher level of return. In the case of property the ‘tool’ is a mortgage.
If you borrow money at a lower rate than you can get Return on Investment (ROI), then you are, by definition, gearing your money. In some cases that gearing or leverage can be infinite (that’s not for this article go to our blog for the ways to do this).
So how do you leverage your online marketing, and more importantly, get it done for free?
Please note that I did not say it wouldn’t cost anything, I said it was free.
As with anything in life, there is a trade off, in this case it is time.
So how can you leverage both?
Enter Social Media. Now don’t switch off, this is a catch all for everything that we do online in an interactive way. I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to explain the difference between Sales and Marketing. Marketing is the journey from a want to a desire, and Sales is the conversion from desire to action.
Lecture over; Online marketing is therefore a journey and unless you have the ‘silver bullet’ a lot of what you do online is trial and error.
So how do you ensure you are using the right tools?
My advice is in two parts:-
For smaller businesses (SME) it may not be appropriate to use all of the channels at once and in spreading yourself thinly across multiple platforms you could be damaging your brand. One esteemed colleague of mine made it very clear on one of his talks to a local business group when he stated’ “It is nice to be on all of the Social Media Networks, but if you don’t socialise with your network you can do some real damage. It is better to NOT be on a channel, than be on it and be silent.”
The important thing to understand is that your Social Media presence is your window to the virtual world. It is worth investing time in posting, tweeting etc so that the world can see what you do.
Social media means a SME can have the same impact in terms of marketing, as a large multinational, but without the large overhead cost if it is done correctly.
The only tip here is that SME should concentrate on TWO or a maximum of three channels, otherwise they will be spending all day on marketing on nothing on delivery. Unless you have the budget to hire an in-house specialist, but even then it would be prudent to be selective with the channels you pick.
The other thing to consider is only use the channel where the majority of your clients ‘hang out’. Some networks have a specific demographic and unless your clients fit within that demographic then you will find it difficult to gain any traction. According to Hootsuite, Instagram have a younger user base (53% aged 18 to 29) so if your target market is over 60 then this channel is not for you.
There is a chain of thought that a B2B company would do better with utilising LinkedIn, whereas B2C would do better using Facebook and Twitter. This sounds okay, but individual businesses would need to do their own customer avatar research before taking this as any form of guidance.
We have prepared out Top ‘5 Top Tools for Marketing your Business’ which you can download, that we use on a daily basis. They all have FREE versions which we use, and all of them allow us to leverage our time (and obviously money) to great effect.
If you need any help with configuring them or want to know how we use them, then drop us a line!
Remember all the tools are FREE, and we all like that, don’t we?
Whether you are trying to raise money for your business or just want to perfect your business strategy, a solid elevator pitch is an essential tool for achieving your goals. An elevator pitch can be delivered either verbally, ideally in 60 seconds or less, or as a one-page overview of your business. Think of the elevator pitch as an executive summary that provides a quick overview of your business and details why you are going to be successful.
The original concept of an elevator pitch, unsurprisingly, came from our cousins across the pond and according to Wikipedia is credited to Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso of Vanity Fair Magazine and refers to the time you have got to pitch an idea to someone, if you were ‘stuck’ in an elevator with a potential investor travelling between two floors in a building. Originally a ‘thirty second’ monologue, it has been used to describe any ‘pitch’ to a potential investor where time is of the essence. It is more commonly used at networking events as a way of introducing you and your business to other people in the room.
So it goes something like this;
“Hello Dragons, my name is John Smith, and I am here today to ask for £10,000 in exchange for 10% equity in my company – Do As You Want”.
Sometimes you peak interest, sometimes you don’t. So exactly what should you be saying, and more importantly what should you NOT be saying.
In Dragon’s Den, budding entrepreneurs come face to face with (now) five well known (?) business owners that are considered established in the ways of business strategy and growth. The SEVEN things that make a good elevator pitch are listed as;-
This seems a lot to squeeze into what will possibly be just SIXTY SECONDS, but this is a proven way of condensing your message.
In reality, the whole thing can be intimidating, but if you get it right, the end result is people talking to you about your business. You have ‘earned the right’ to your next ‘exposure’.
There are a few things I would like to add to the list above, as more of a ‘don’t list’;
Always be prepared. Most networking events have some kind of ‘elevator pitch’ and it is important to have TWO or THREE pre-prepared scripts that you have rehearsed over and over again in front of the mirror so that they become second nature.
Because you don’t want to be the one in the room that stumbles, reads from a scribbled note, or looks as white as a sheet. I have seen some awful pitches (why would anyone put themselves through it?) and I have witnessed some excellent ones. Take note all of you network leaders out there, whilst you may think it is funny, or a challenge; springing an ‘elevator pitch’ on someone when they have not prepared for it, you will not see that person again for a while. Make sure everyone at your event knows what is expected of them. You are a leader, communicate.
Being prepared (or the 5 P’s as I like to call them; Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance) gives you confidence, and don’t worry if you don’t get it all in the first time, keep trying, keep adjusting, try it on the dog, your spouse, your children, or anyone else that will listen. It gets easier, I promise.
For some more great tips on ‘How To Survive Dragon’s Den’, go to our exclusive Four Video Giveaway on the topic
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Edinburgh has a slim offering in the form of a converted 19th-century coach house, eight feet four inches wide at its tightest point, with living space (excluding garage) under 10 feet at its widest. Sliding doors and windows from the living and dining areas lead straight on to a walled courtyard garden, which is a good space for parties. Viv Douglas, who has recently inherited the house, says her parents took the idea of downsizing quite literally when they bought the house around 30 years ago for their retirement.
Another unusual sale of property in London in the last few days is a garage that is on sale for £500,000. The best bit is that it is leasehold with ‘only’ 92 years left on the lease! Click here for more details. There are many other examples of small living and possibly the best one I have seen to date is the Polish Architect, Jacob Szczeny’s approach to small living. It is so thin that the entrance is a trapdoor in the floor! Click here for more detail. Entertaining could be an issue, but when it featured in a TV documentary the architect happily showed how you could have several people in the property at the same time.
So the question I always ask is, How small will it get before it is uninhabitable, or just plain unrealistic.
At YourHMOExpert we specialise in conversions that get the most out of the space in a property. For more information please contact us and get our free ebook by filling in the form on this page.