December 17, 2010
Ride Like a Penguin
Nicole Donnelly’s “Ride Like a Penguin” may not sound like a business book, but it is chock-full of advice, examples, and priceless tools to create and sustain a successful entrepreneurial venture. Perhaps most importantly, it teaches entrepreneurs to reflect upon their values and how those values should uncompromisingly be a guiding force in their personal lives and businesses.
But why penguins? Nicole illustrates the reason in her introduction when she talks about a nighttime winter hike she made through the woods over the snow. Afraid of what creatures might be lurking in the darkness, she thought of penguins to distract her thoughts and cheer her and how they slide around and have fun. Today, after successfully launching two businesses, Nicole still looks for penguins in her life, and she thinks of the penguins now as “the people who have instead inspired me and helped me to grow.” Penguins are people who inspire yet have fun, and Nicole can teach you, through this book, how to enjoy life and business just like a penguin.
Nicole Donnelly is the founder of two successful businesses—BabyLegs and BigRuby. In these pages, she tells the inspirational story of how both got started, along with other life and work stories, including how she dealt with an unreasonable manager at a deli, how she accomplished her dream of attending the X games for snowboarding, and how she has learned how to treat her customers to keep them coming back for more.
In addition, Nicole has studied numerous other businesses to determine their secrets to success. Why has Starbucks experienced such fabulous growth and popularity? Nicole can tell you, and trust me, the secret isn’t the coffee. What is the best airline to fly? This answer alone is worth reading the book—it will save you hours of frustrated flying time.
Perhaps my favorite part of “Riding Like a Penguin” centers around Nicole’s stories about how her daughter Sara inspired the founding of BabyLegs, and how their mother-daughter role makes customers identify with them. Nicole also offers a story about her astute five-year old daughter’s business sense regarding how to make more profit by selling one product than selling multiple products at lower a profit. From the mouth of a child….
Some of the information in “Riding Like a Penguin” has been covered in other books, such as how to build an effective website, but none of it has been covered so well and with such originality as in these pages. Whether it’s creating a core vision and mission for your company, a style guide to use throughout the company, or learning how to get and keep customers by engaging them in conversations about what they want from your products, readers will find new and exciting ideas to teach them how to make the most out of both life and work.
Here is just a taste of the simple, common sense, yet astoundingly wise advice that Nicole offers to her readers:
"Consider your own values. What would you want from a potential employer? What would you want from a potential employee? As an individual, I want to be listened to. I want to have fun. I want to participate in things that are authentic and meaningful. I want to be a citizen of the world, and I want to be respected. What I want as an individual and as a human being are the values I made core to the mission of BabyLegs. By making my values the company’s core values, I was able to attract like-minded people who wanted to be a part of my company. By adhering to these core values, I was able to maintain high quality people, products, and profits."
By making her core values the same core values for her company, Nicole saw BabyLegs go from a business idea started out of her diaper bag into a multi-million dollar company almost overnight. If that isn’t success, I don’t know what is—so who better to learn from than Nicole Donnelly?
“Riding Like a Penguin” may not be as cute and cuddly as those favorite birds, but its pages will help you to create an effective and sustaining business to enrich your life while allowing you to retain a personal life so you too can ride like a penguin.
For more information about Nicole Donnelly and “Riding Like a Penguin” visit www.RideLikeaPenguin.com.
— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., and author of the award-winning Narrow Lives
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