I don’t read a ton of business books, but this one is right up alley.

I received Blake Mycoskie’s Start Something that Matters for Christmas and read it earlier this year. Blake is the founder behind TOMS Shoes, a one-for-one business model company that gives away a pair of shoes for every pair purchased. The company has grown exponentially in the last six years since it launched from Blake’s apartment.

I came upon this book last October, and immediately began lusting over it.
There is SO much in it! If you’re thinking of starting a business, have a business, or even work for a business or organization, here are some of the many fantastic lessons Blake shares from his own experience.
  1. Story Power
  2. Real Leadership
  3. “Giving is Good Business”
  4. Use the FREE Stuff
  5. Trust
  6. Simplicity Wins
Note: all quotes are from Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie

1. Story-Power

“Stories are the most primitive and purest form of communication.”
“When you have a memorable story about who you are and what your mission is, your success no longer depends on how experienced you are or how many degrees you have or who you know. A good story transcends boundaries, breaks barriers, and opens doors.”
People love stories. People remember stories. Stories create a connection that nothing else can. People tell stories all day long, ‘I saw this… I heard this…’ Use that! Find your business’ story and use it to create an identity for people to connect to and share.
Facts are not as strong a story.

2. Real Leadership

“A leader can create a company, but a community creates a movement.”
Leaders, it’s not all about you!
I’ve read a number of books about leadership and servant leadership. Blake explains the concept so simply and easily: “as a leader, your job is to help others do their jobs better.”
Simple as that. Got it leaders? Your job isn’t about you. Your job is about your staff and equipping them to do their jobs the best they can.
Leadership is about being humble, human, and a part of a community.

3. “Giving is Good Business”

Blake talks about a survey released by Deloitte that found that 72% of Americans would prefer to work for a company that supports charitable causes if the two jobs they were deciding between were equal in all other aspects.
So, giving as part of corporate policy is a plus in gaining employees. Okay. It also tends to influence a positive office morale because they community feels they are all working together to help others.
But giving as part of the business can also attract great partnerships. Look at TOMS – because of their one-for-one model they have been supported by AOL, Microsoft, Teen Vogue, Ralph Lauren, and more. Big names like to help the little guy who is helping people. Why? Because it makes them look good too. So, the little guy benefits by getting expertise, funds, and association and the big guy gets a little good publicity. See, giving is good business!

4. Use the FREE Stuff

TOMS started with very little money. They began with a Founder and a couple of unpaid interns hired through a Craigslist ad. They figured out how to spend as little as possible and make do.
How? They used free online services like Craigslist.
In Start Something that Matters Blake highlights a huge list of free tools such as blogs, Twitter, libraries, web visitor trackers, travel discount sites, scheduling tools. You can find the list at www.StartSomethingThatMatters.com.
Build your business the frugal way and you’ll create a culture that maintains that imaginative process for solving problems and getting what you need. In the long run, it will make for a better, more stable business.


“Today, trust between employer and employee is the cornerstone of your business and your future.”
“Always remember: The better your employees feel about their jobs, the better your business performs.”
I know it sounds simple, and it is. Hire people you trust. Work for people you trust. Show people that you trust them by treating them with respect and allowing them to do their jobs without interference. No manager likes having to micro-manage – they have their own work to do. And no one likes being micro-managed – it doesn’t allow for them to actually do their work.

6. Simplicity Wins

“Simplicity can apply to an idea, a goal, or a mission…”
How often have you heard the advice, “do one thing and do it the best you can”? How true do you think this statement is?
Our world is complicated. People like simplicity. So, keep things simple. Keep your product or service simple and easy to explain. Keep your office space simple and tidy. Keep your business and staffing structure simple and clearly outlined.
How many businesses have failed because they tried to do too much at once? How many people have become burned out because they tried to do too much at the same time.
Keep things simple.

Have you read Start Something that Matters? What lessons did you take from it?

What other business or leadership books are out there, dear readers?

Have you seen any of these ideas work??

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