One thing that unites all achievers throughout human history is their passion for reading. It’s not surprising that when asked about the secret to success, Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, pointed to a stack of books and said, “read 500 pages of this every day”.

As a merchant, you should develop the habit of reading as many books as possible to nourish your mind, update yourself with new industry trends, and broaden your horizon.

In this episode of our interviews with top industry influencers, we had an up-close with a great author, Dianna Booher. Dianna is setting the pace for merchants with her thought-provoking and inspiring collection of books.

Dianna Booher is an author of 48 books, published in 60 foreign-language editions. She helps organizations to communicate clearly and leaders to expand their influence by a strong executive presence. Her latest books include Faster, Fewer, Better Emails, Communicate Like a Leader, What MORE Can I Say?, Creating Personal Presence, and Communicate With Confidence. Some international media such as Good Morning America, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, FOX, CNN, NPR, and Entrepreneur have interviewed her for opinions on workplace communication issues. Her repertoire of books is a fountain of knowledge for many generations yet unborn.

  • What are your current goals?

I plan to continue to write books, speak, and coach others to get their message out in various forms--whether in books or keynote speeches.

  • Which is most important to your organization—mission, core values or vision?

Definitely, core values are most important to my organization, as they have always been since I began the company. Our core values are personal integrity, quality products and services and contributing long-term value to people's lives.

  • How did you decide this was the industry you wanted to dominate? Or How did you find yourself in this industry?

As someone said long ago, communication is the basic business act. Nothing happens until someone communicates--either orally or in writing. So I consider communication a very large playing field. And the same skills needed in the business arena flow over into people's personal lives. So what benefits them at work helps them in their personal relationships.

That said, I think the industry found me rather than the reverse. In my early 20s, as I was praying for career direction in my life, I just felt compelled to try my hands at writing. Then business executives started calling me to ask if I could come to teach their people what I was writing in my books. Training events led to delivering keynotes. Then, delivering keynotes and training generated more requests from publishers to write more books.

So my expertise grew deeper with each new client project and research for each new book. Industry niches have just continued to find me in that same way.

  • What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as an industry leader?

Read. Research. Tackle new client challenges and learn from each project.

  • Did you have any formal education in this space or you schooled yourself via books and online courses?

My formal education is a master's degree in English literature, with a specialization in creative writing. So, of course, that prepared me for researching and writing books. But the focus on business communication such as presentation skills, writing, technical writing, proposal development, meetings, listening skills, conflict resolution, has been self-taught through academic research and client work.

  • What does your industry look like a year from now? Five years? Ten years?

Actually, my work touches on three industries: The publishing industry, the training industry, and the personal development industry. The latter continues to grow exponentially.

The publishing industry has experienced tremendous change because of rapid technological changes. The "Big Five" publishers formerly controlled all the publishing decisions. In the last 10 years, self-publishing technology has made it cheap and easy for anyone to write and publish a book in 24-48 hours. Therefore, the field has become cluttered with junk. Buyers now have a difficult time finding their way through the maze.

So those of us who publish with major, traditional publishers will continue to have to work harder and harder to stand above the fray to get attention for our work. And the "Big Five" publishers will have to step up their marketing efforts to support their authors' quality books in the marketplace so they can be found above the noise.

  • Are you mentoring anyone? If Yes, would you encourage everyone to get a mentor and why?

Yes, I've been mentoring for the past 20 years and I’m currently mentoring 4 people. Definitely, a mentor makes your life easier by reducing mistakes. Mentors, if they are truly vulnerable with you, share their failures with you as well as their successes. So as a mentee, you don't have to make the same mistakes. That puts you light-years ahead of your competitors.

  • What’s the most important factor you consider when hiring someone?

Personal integrity is key. Also, honesty, authenticity and their ability to follow through want they commit to doing.

  • Which one thing do you wish you would have done differently?

My business would have grown much faster if I had hired a professional sales team right in the early days. Instead, I hired an administrative staff and brought in the sales myself as the company principal.

  • What would you advise a new e-commerce merchant to get a grasp on with regards to your industry?

That's easy: Cash flow is king in ANY industry.

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