Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business by Nancy Lublin - Book review


The Power of Zero in Business

By: Nancy Lublin

Published: June 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
ISBN: 9781591843146
Publisher: Penguin/Portfolio

"Simply put, really great not-for-profits are brilliant at doing more with less. We understand the power of zero", writes CEO and "Chief Old Person" of DoSomething.org Nancy Lublin in her very timely and practical book Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business. The author turns the previously accepted idea that the corporate for profit model was the ideal to emulate for every organization, including not-for-profits. Instead, it's time for businesses to learn a few proven concepts and techniques from the non-profit sector.

Nancy Lublin brings her years of experience in the not-for-profit world to the business community. In today's troubled economy, finances for all sizes of companies - from entrepreneurial ventures to major corporations - are very tight and spending budgets are shrinking. For many business leaders, executives, and managers, this is an unusual situation where they lack experience for making do with less. For Nancy Lublin, the idea of strict and very limited budgets is nothing new. For executives in the non-profit community, achieving tremendous results with small amounts of money has long been standard operating procedure. With companies of all sizes downsizing their staff numbers, their spending budgets cut back severely or eliminated altogether, and still facing the same expected targets, many business leaders are left shaking their heads and short of ideas. Nancy Lublin provides a powerful, effective, and proven alternative drawn from the non-profit ethos, about how to do more with less.

Nancy Lublin (photo left) recognizes that not all non-profit organizations are perfect, and that not all for profit companies lack the ability to adapt to tough economic times and the ensuing slashed budgets. Instead, the author points out the experience of well managed not-for-profits is exactly the type of skill that business leaders need in today's economy. While many corporate managers may lack the understanding of how to accomplish their goals without large budgets, executives from the non-profit sector have faced and met that money shortage challenge for decades. Nancy Lublin shares time proven techniques for recruiting and retaining skilled employees without resorting to ever higher salaries and bonuses, based on the non-profit experience with volunteers and their own organizational staff. The author also describes how to market on little or no money, how to create a memorable brand on a shoestring, and how leverage external connections to achieve mutually beneficial goals.

For me, the power of the book is how Nancy Lublin makes a convincing case, that the experience and skills demonstrated by leaders in non-profit organizations, is precisely the knowledge needed in for profit companies. To bolster her case, the author points to case studies of real world non-profit executives who have succeeded using their ability to operate on very small budgets. As a successful not-for-profit leader herself, Nancy Lublin not only shares her own impressive experience, but provides a new way of thinking and problem solving rarely seen in the boardrooms of major corporations.

Because of the recession, the old ways of doing business by throwing money at the problem, are no longer effective. In fact, with drastic reductions in budgets, the spending option is no longer available. This book teaches business leaders a new way of seeing challenges and overcoming financial obstacles. Instead of simply looking for more money, the author presents the different concept of seeking solutions that are very low cost or even free. This book turns traditional management techniques and thinking upside down.

I highly recommend the revolutionary and mind opening book Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business by Nancy Lublin, to anyone in any size of company seeking a way out of the current budgetary binds placed on organizations. As the author points out, most businesses are looking at things from one to ten, while non-profits strive to go that extra mile to eleven. This book takes any company beyond ten and into eleven, with that many ideas and more, upon which to build a stronger, and more efficient organization.

Read the important and essential book Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business by Nancy Lublin, and put the power of thinking like a not-for-profit leader to work in your company. Your profits may be higher and your brand better known than ever before, while spending zero money to do it.

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