In Marketing Strategy

Just finished reading

Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy, by Clate Mask and Scott Martineau.

Recommendation Level


Especially useful for

Small biz owners who work long days in a chaotic environment but aren’t seeing the results they want – or dreamed of.


Inspiring, practical book with lots of actionable advice for small business owners who sell a product or service and have more than a few dozen clients.

The main advice is to centralize your business management tools by using one big piece of software that takes care of everything instead of lots of little ones that take care of one, maybe two tasks. No surprise, given that the authors sell a “big piece” of software, Infusionsoft, an email marketing and CRM tool with competitors like Salesforce, Marketo, and HubSpot.

Still, their advice is easy to swallow because it makes sense when it works. Get supremely organized, automate as many tasks as possible, and you’ll be able to scale your business without putting in extra hours. According to the authors, you’ll have time to see your family, attend social events, and even – gasp – take days off.

Favorite takeaways

  • 1.  Early on, they share seven steps to become a speed reader. I read the book in 2.5 hours in two settings with their tips!
  • 2. The idea that you can be a hard worker but not put in long hours. The phrase “work smarter, not harder” does not appear in the book, and yet that is essentially what the authors are making a case for by arguing small business owners should use software to help them scale their business.
  • 3. The power of following up. The stats directly from the book say it all.
  • Consider this: Most sales do not close on the first point of contact. In fact:

Only 2 percent of sales close on the first contact
3 percent close on the second contact
4 percent close on the third contact
10 percent close on the fourth contact
81 percent of sales that close, close on or after the fifth contact!
(Source: Sales and Marketing Executives Club of Los Angeles)

On the next page, the authors cement their case with a second set of stats.

48 percent of businesses quit following up after the first call
24 percent quit following up after the second call
12 percent quit following up after the third call
6 percent quit following up after the fourth call
10 percent quit following up after the fifth call
(Source: Dartnell Corporation)

Now, we must take these two sets of stats with a LARGE grain of salt. We do not know the methodology of each study when they were conducted, and many other factors that could decrease the relevancy of juxtaposing the stats.

But the overall message that follows up is extremely important sinks in. Perhaps deeply enough to invest in a customer management software system! Don’t you agree?

Time to read

2-4 hours, depending on how fast you read.


196 pages, published 2010, $17 on Amazon or $12 Kindle or free at your local public library. Buy it on Amazon for about $17.

What do you recommend we read?

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