Although the bottom of the economic recession is nowhere in sight, there are opportunities. There are always opportunities if you can see them. Some examples: marketing the unemployed; developing products that will save companies money by taking over functions handled by people; and providing sites that match the unemployed with full- and part-time work.
To improve your chances of identifying opportunities that will allow you to survive the financial tsunami, I recommend you read the following books.
1. "The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization," by Peter Drucker. The book, put out by the Leader to Leader Institute, provides advice on how to focus your organization by starting with a self-assessment through developing and implementing a plan that matches today's reality.
2. "Startup Guide to Guerrilla Marketing," by Jay and Jeannie Levinson. Every company needs to spend money to keep their name out there so business clients will give them consideration. Reading this will provide you with ideas on how to position your company against rivals as well as inexpensive marketing tactics.
3. "From the Bureau to the Boardroom," by Dan Garrison. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is one of the most adaptable and well-organized groups. The reader learns how the FBI has developed its management skills to train and turn out the best police investigators in the world.
4. "101 Ways to Turn Your Business Green," by Rich Mintzer. President Obama has made energy and the environment a top priority. The book is focused on what companies should do to be greener, but it is really a great book to learn about the products and services that will be in demand for the next four to eight years.
5. "The New Elite," by Jim Taylor, Doug Harrison and Stephen Kraus. The book was written before the stock market crashed and wiped out many millionaires, but there are still people with wealth and money to spend. This book provides insights into how to market to this group that goes beyond designer names.
6. "Reinvention," by Brian Tracy. Tracy is a master motivator and this book is a good read for anyone whose services are no longer marketable or is tired of what they are doing. He writes about how to reinvent yourself.
7. "Napoleon Hill's Golden Rules," by Napoleon Hill. The author is known for his book "Think and Grow Rich." "Rules" is another motivational book, the type that gets readers' creative juices flowing. It is made up of a series of interviews of rags-to-riches success stories.
8. "Investing in a Sustainable World," by Dr. Matthew Kiernan, founder of Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, which focuses on sustainable investment research. The book looks at money managers who have become experts in this area, which I don't care about because I don't have the money to invest in the market. What I do find interesting are energy and environmental trends the author writes about.
9. "Instant Appeal," by Vicki Kunkel. Obama went from a relatively unknown Illinois state senator to the leader of the free world. Facebook went from an idea in a dorm room at Harvard to an international phenomenon. The book provides insights into how to create demand for you, and your product or service.
10. "Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins," by Annette Simmons. Have you ever noticed that most successful people are good story tellers? Look at Obama. Was he smarter than his opponents? Maybe, but we all acknowledge that he is a better communicator than perhaps any president, with the exception of Ronald Reagan, in the past 100 years. The ability to communicate your concepts increases your chances of success.
The correlation between reading and success is uncontested. Think about the successful people you know and read about. You will find they are all readers.
(by Marc Kramer/The Street.com)