Connect the dots

Connect the dots

Let me tell you a real life story. A close friend invested all his hard-earned savings into establishing a motel business in the west coast of the United States. He made sure it was in a brilliant location and offered a compelling proposition to his potential customers. Then he set about hiring the all-important general manager. He came back to me after a month and said, “John, I have found a great guy. But I can’t hire him.” “Why ever not?” I asked. “Because we are so different as people!” my friend said. I could only stop and stare…
My friend failed to see how the effectiveness and competency of the man mattered more than his provenance. He more than spectacularly failed to connect the dots between his customers and the bottom line.

He is not alone.
I have seen many great ideas fail, particularly SMEs, because the owners/managers have failed to connect the vital dots. As children, we learn to see the big picture – and take the first key step at self-expression – by connecting the dots. As adult entrepreneurs, this is exactly what we need to learn all over again. All the time.
With more than 30 years of global experience ranging from working in start-ups and technology companies to telecom giants, I have been fortunate to work in countries as far apart as the US, Japan, UK, India, the UAE and others. I have high-fived through the bubble and held many hands during the recession.
Through it all, I have been deeply awed by the drive, zeal and entrepreneurship of small businesses. I have been strongly inspired by how they commit capital and take tremendous risks day in and day out. Through their dedication and commitment, small and medium businesses drive the larger economies of their countries.
Then again, I have been acutely distressed by how many SMEs are opportunistic rather than strategic in nature. Most small business owners do not have the resources that large companies take for granted. They don’t have the money to spend on expensive management consultants and training programs. They do not think of growth and sustainability, but only work on generating quick profits.

As a result, employees are often miserable and businesses fail daily. A drastic consequence that can be corrected if entrepreneurs take a minute to sit back, think and PLAN.
Connect the Dots is my attempt to create a playbook for the entrepreneur, a take-everywhere-you-go guide to surviving – and flourishing – in business. Whether you are young or old, woman or man, about to start off on your own or merely thinking of doing so one day, this book will help you see your path clearly.

We all know about virtuous and vicious cycles. In this book, I help you to identify the simple steps that will accentuate the virtuous and disrupt the vicious cycle. Know your exit strategy before you start your business; entice and tempt your customers to sin; the eight-steps of great sales leadership; smarter business management; how to engage in a price war as all war is deception… these are just some of the chapters you will find discussed in Connect the Dots.

You will not get dry theory here. You will find a book written out of experience lived across the world. I am a transplanted American with a multi-ethnic family and I live and work in the cultural melting pots of San Francisco and Dubai. Through my work and my travels, I have been lucky to see the world as a whole.
This book, my tribute to successful small and medium businesses, is deliberately and carefully written for a cross-geography, multicultural, multiracial and multi sector audience.

Ironically, that has also been my biggest challenge: how NOT to generalize. In fact, I have a written at length on the fallacies of average! On a personal note, I have also been challenged by the dreariness of long hours of writing and have been frequently afflicted by the dreaded writer’s block.
But I have persevered, through cool San Francisco nights and hot Dubai days, to think and write and plan. Think for the entrepreneur in all of us. Write for the SME owner. Plan for the businessperson afraid to take a risk.

This book is for you. Urging you to connect the dots between your business, customers and the bottom line and staying with you while you draw that line with a firm hand. Do let me know how it goes at or follow me on

Happy entrepreneuring!
John Lincoln
Author Dubai and San Francisco

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