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Book Summary – EntreLeadership: 20 Years Of Practical Business Wisdom From The Trenches

Entreleadership - Book summary

Building a successful business involves so many things that it can be overwhelming. Specifically, to grow a profitable, thriving enterprise, you need both leadership and entrepreneurship skills, i.e. you need EntreLeadership. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey is a playbook that captures the essential business fundamentals and common pitfalls in starting and growing a business. In this free EntreLeadership summary, we’ll outline the key philosophies and methods that’s needed to lead and grow a successful business enterprise. This is a great book for new/aspiring entrepreneurs, and a powerful reminder for existing business leaders.

After 20 years in business, Dave Ramsey has experienced what it’s like to hit rock bottom, and also what it takes to grow a business from scratch to achieve massive financial success and fulfillment. Fundamentally, your company’s performance doesn’t depend on the economy, industry or even its people; it all boils down to 1 thing—you as the leader. As you grow and improve yourself, the effects will be felt throughout the organization.

Developing EntreLeadership

A leader guides and inspires others while an entrepreneur takes on and manages the risks for a venture. An EntreLeader has a blend of leadership and entrepreneurship, to lead people in a way that brings growth and prosperity to an enterprise.

We’ll now outline the 14 vital components needed to nurture EntreLeadership and zoom in on 2 of these components in detail. Do get a copy of our full 16-page summary for the remaining details.

Remember: even if you’re familiar with some of these ideas, do not dismiss them. Instead, focus on developing yourself in each area, and teach them to every person in your organization.

Entreleadership summary_18 key philosophies

1. Develop your Dream => Vision => Mission Statement => Goals

How do you move from big fuzzy dreams into concrete goals?  Without dreams, nothing new or exciting would ever be created. Yet, dreams tend to be vague and only start to take shape when you flesh them out with concrete action. Crystallize your vision and share it with your team regularly, so you’re all working toward the same vision. Then, capture your dream and vision into a mission statement. According to Dan Miller, a good mission statement should cover your (i) calling, (ii) skills and abilities, (iii) personality, and (iv) values, dreams and passions. These jointly tell you who you are (and aren’t), what you do (including what you can/want to do), how you’ll do it and why.

Goals translate your dream and vision into an actionable form. Develop goals in all key areas of your life including career, finance, spiritual, physical, intellectual, family, and social. Effective goals should (i) be specific and measurable, (ii) have a timeframe, (iii) be your objectives (not someone else’s), and (iv) be put in writing. Shared goals facilitate communication and help people to focus on a wider objective beyond their personal interests.

2. Make the Most of your Time

EntreLeadership calls for optimal management of time—your most critical resources. When you purposefully direct your time and see progress from your efforts, you’ll feel energized. However, when you’re fighting fires and going round in circles, you’ll feel drained.

Dr Stephen Covey introduced the 4 quadrants of time-use. Most people focus on Quadrant I (e.g. bills and contract deadlines), get distracted by Quadrant III (e.g. emails and calls), and waste time on Quadrant IV (e.g. TV and social media). We tend to neglect Quadrant II—things that’re important but not urgent—such as exercise, strategic planning, and personal growth. Yet, this is the quadrant that makes the biggest long-term difference; if left unaddressed, the items here will end up in Quadrant I, leaving you with no time for anything else.

Manage your time with a prioritized to-do list. Each morning, list down everything you must do. Label them with “A” for things that must be done today, “B” for things to be done soon, and “C” for things that can be delegated or put aside. Then, go through items in the “A” list and rank them (A1, A2…) using this question: “If I can do only 1 thing today, what will be the most crucial item?” Do the same for your “B” and “C” lists. Put A1 at the top of your to-do list and focus on that above all else.

Meetings are essential in any organization, but they can also be a huge time-waster if not properly managed. Set a clear agenda in advance, have everyone come prepared to address those objectives, and ensure there’s proper follow-up after each meeting.

Your desk reflects how organized or disorganized you are. Clean up a messy desk—remove, finish or delegate loose items sitting around. Use technology to make your work more productive (but don’t waste all your time playing with tech gadgets).

3. Dare to Make Hard Decisions

An EntreLeader must make hard decisions and take action in spite of criticism. In our full summary you can get more details on (i) how to overcome indecision, and (ii) specific tips for making good decisions.

4. Know the Recipe for Great Marketing

Marketing is basically your plan to get your product/service to the customer, and a crucial skill for EntreLeadership. There’s really no mystery or magic to it—it’s all about knowing and applying the right ingredients and recipe. In our complete summary, we’ll explain these ingredients and recipe for great marketing, including the formula for “The Momentum Theorem” to create unstoppable momentum.

5. How to start a Business & Realize your Dreams

What’s the best way to start a business and build something that’d fulfill your dreams?  Get our full 16-page summary to find out (i) what to consider when selecting your business, (ii) why you should should small and grow via bootstrapping, and (iii) when is the right time to expand.

6. Learn to Hire and Fire Effectively

Turnover is costly as it means time/resources spent hiring and training someone else, lost opportunities while the person is being replaced, and reduced team morale. Often, this can be avoided by hiring the right people in the first place. Our complete EntreLeadership summary includes numerous tips on how to (i) hire, (ii) manage underachievement or misbehavior, and (iii) fire people.

7. Master the Art of Selling by Serving

Sales is not about pushing or manipulating others; it’s all about human interaction. In our complete 16-page summary you can learn more about the 4 key steps to master in any sale (qualification, rapport, education and close), including key tips and pitfalls.

8. Apply Sound Financial Principles

Obviously, financial health is vital in any business, and it’s actually very simple to become financially healthy if you follow the right principles.  Learn these financial principles from our complete summary.

9. Create a Culture of Communication

Great companies constantly reinforce the value of communication and are intentional about how/what they communicate. [Find out what that entails in our complete EntrepreLeadership summary.]

10. Build Loyalty and Unity

You’re working with real people with dreams, goals, hopes and pain. In our complete book summary, we elaborate on what it takes to win your employees’ loyalty, build unity and help your team to live better lives.

11. Magnify Success with Recognition and Inspiration

Tap on the fundamental human desire to be recognized and appreciated, and create an inspiring environment (more details in our full EntreLeadership summary).

12. Get a Grip on the Day-to-Day Operations

There are 3 technical aspects of operations—contracts, collections and vendors—which affect your business health and send powerful signals to your team and customers.  In our full book summary, you can get more details on each of these areas, and the key tips and common pitfalls involved.

13. Motivate People with the Right Compensation Plans

How much you pay people tells them how much you value them. Be intentional about the message you send and reward only what you want more of. [More tips/examples available in our full EntreLeadership summary]

14. Delegate Effectively

For your business to grow bigger than you, you must delegate. Yet, you can only do so effectively after all the other components above are in place, i.e. you already have a clear vision, culture, operational foundations etc.

Getting the Most from EntreLeadership

In this article, we’ve briefly outlined some of the key insights and strategies you can use to achieve desired change. For more examples, details, and actionable tips to apply these strategies, do get our complete book summary bundle which includes an infographic, 16-page text summary, and a 26-minute audio summary.Entreleadership summary - book summary bundle


In this detailed guidebook, Ramsey takes you through each of above components with some technical details and examples from his company and clients. Even if you’re familiar with some of these concepts, don’t dismiss them—ensure that you’re developing in each area, and teach the principles to others so you can nurture EntreLeaders throughout your organization. You can purchase the book here for the full details, or get more worksheets and resources at

[Do check out Patrick Lencioni’s “Death by Meeting” for more tips on structuring your meetings to be focused, effective and enjoyable.]

About the Author of EntreLeadership

EntreLeadership: 20 Years Of Practical Business Wisdom From The Trenches is written by Dave Ramsey–an American radio show host, author and businessman. Ramsey graduated from the College of Business Administration at University of Tennessee. In 1988, he filed for bankruptcy as he was unable to repay the loans on his rental real estate portfolio. After recovering financially, Ramsey started to counsel couples at his church, and later developed a range of lessons, materials and tools on financial health and transformation. Ramsey’s company, The Lampo Group, Inc., focuses on financial education. His syndicated radio program, The Dave Ramsey Show, is heard on more than 500 radio stations throughout the United States and Canada. He has written numerous books. Ramsey was named the 2009 Marconi Award winner for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2015.

EntreLeadership Quotes

“Most of us can list what we want our leaders to look like, but we don’t apply it to ourselves.”

“Leadership is not for the weak and the timid; it requires tremendous backbone, tremendous strength.”

“A powerful element of good decision making is to have lots and lots of options.”

“The mystery of marketing is not really a mystery. There are just so few people in business who do all the parts intentionally.”

“A great idea timed poorly can die a thousand painful deaths.”

“Work isn’t really hard to find if you look at the needs people have and how you might serve them.”

“Treat your team like family and they will act like family.”

“When opportunity knocks, if you keep some cash you can answer the door.”

“People only allow themselves to be led when they feel valued and when they are treated with dignity.”

Click here to download the EntreLeadership summary & infographic

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