The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:

Bonus Training from "The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business"

This page contains bonus training materials related to The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business. I hope you find these resources useful!

How to Take Useful Notes While Reading

If you're investing time in reading and research, it pays to optimize your approach as much as possible. Here's a detailed, tactical post that contains 3 simple techniques to optimize your reading comprehension and retention, so you get the most from your studies.

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How to Create a Basic Business Plan

The best way to begin writing a business plan is to use the Five Parts of Every Business as an outline. Create a blank document, and add the following sections as headers:

Once you have this rough outline, simply fill in the blanks. A basic business plan doesn't have to be complicated - as long as you understand the essentials, less than a page is fine. Remember, the plan itself is not important - it's the thinking you do in the process of planning that's really important. Ideally, writing the business plan will help you fully understand how the entire business system will operate in practice - if it does that, the business plan has served its purpose.

If timing plays a big part in your business plan, I recommend David Seah's Compact Calendar forms. (As you'll notice, I'm a huge fan of David's work.)

Diagramming a Value Stream / Flowcharting a System

Since a Value Stream is just a combination of your Value Creation and Value Delivery processes, it pays to visualize them as one big system. This can be done via images or text, depending on what you prefer.

If visual thinking comes naturally to you, then creating a flowchart diagram works best. Dan Roam's The Back of the Napkin is a good reference for how to do this type of diagramming. Here's a simplified flowchart that would fit a Product business.

Customer Order --> Inventory Pull --> Load Box --> Seal Box --> Generate Mailing Label --> Place in Postal Service Pickup Queue

If you prefer thinking in text (like I do), this "diagram" takes the form of IF-THEN or WHEN-THEN statements, like this:

Diagramming your entire value stream can help you identify inefficiencies, weaknesses, or gaps that can lead to errors. The more completely you diagram your value stream, the more quickly you can improve it.

A Basic Business Financial Report

Business financial reports don't have to be complicated.* Here's an example of a one-page financial statement you can use to run a business. This is the only document I personally use to track finances - my accountant called it "the best self-prepared income statement I've ever seen."

Basic Business Financial Statement

Download this file: @Right click --> Save Target As...@

PDF format

Microsoft Excel Format

Apple Numbers Format

As long as you're running your business on a cash vs. an accrual basis, and you're primarily interested in maintaining financial sufficiency, tracking your finances doesn't really need to be any more complicated than this. Putting your finances in this format also makes it much easier to outsource your tax matters to a qualified accountant, which I highly recommend.

Josh Kaufman's Personal Productivity System

Many people have asked what systems and tools I personally use every day to be productive. Here's my personal productivity system, which I've refined for years now:

How to Track Your Time and Energy Cycles

Tracking your Energy Cycles can help you get more done each day. The best way to begin is by doing a "time audit" - tracking how you're spending your time, and how you feel at that point in the day. You can then use these patterns to optimize your schedule.

Here's the technique: set an interval timer (like the Enso Pearl) to go off every 15 minutes, then automatically reset. When the timer goes off, quickly capture what you're working on (or your energy state), then go back to what you're doing.

David Seah's Emergent Task Timer is a very handy printable form for this type of tracking. You can use it to capture both work, or energy levels, depending on how you use it. For energy levels, I use 3 different colored markers to track how I'm feeling when the timer goes off.

*Blue* - low energy; not very productive
*Green* - medium energy; moderately productive
*Red* - high energy; highly productive

After a few days of tracking, you'll start to notice patterns. Once you've established your typical pattern, you can use it to optimize your schedule. For example, I schedule exercise from 7:00-9:00am, writing from 9:00am-12:00pm, client meetings from 12:00pm-5:00pm, and reading and relaxation from 5:00-on.

Habits Worth Installing

Here are a few habits to install that can significantly improve your productivity, health, and happiness:

Thanks for reading The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business!

The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:

About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

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