"What we have to offer can be boiled down to one concept: the power of zero. We get more done with less of just about everything, from our people to our workplaces to our vendors. Zilch is what drives us to be more innovative, more passionate, more creative. So stop whining about your budget cuts and start asking yourself what you'd do if you had zilch. You'll be surprised just how powerful that is."
After years of being told to emulate the corporate world, not-for-profit CEOs like Nancy Lublin now find the shoe on the other foot. Tough times have forced businesses to slash their headcount, marketing budgets, and other resources. Managers at small startups and Fortune 100 companies alike are now expected to do more with less - but how? No one is more qualified to answer that question than the leaders who always thrive on a shoestring.
Take Nancy Lublin, for instance. She learned firsthand how much you can accomplish with zilch (or close to it). As the founder of Dress for Success, which provides low-income women with interview suits and career development training, she turned a $5,000 inheritance into a global franchise. Then, as CEO of DoSomething.org, she helped turn a struggling startup into one of the largest and most successful youth volunteer groups in the world.
Now she draws on her experiences as well as interviews with other "rock star" leaders of flourishing not-for-profits-including Wendy Kopp of Teach For America, Darell Hammond of KaBOOM!, Greg Baldwin of VolunteerMatch.org, and John Lilly of Mozilla. Their examples prove the power of zero in business by teaching us how to:
Motivate and retain good people without offering huge financial incentives
Use the power of bartering to leverage every asset and minimize your liabilities
Create cherished brands without throwing money at studies and focus groups
Market your goods or service without paying a penny
"Anyone who can start an internationally respected not-for-profit with just $5,000 has a lot to teach today's business world. Inspiring and practical, this book is a must read for anyone running a business. Including me." (Arianna Huffington)
"Nancy identifies some amazing non-profits whose organizations and business models are inspirations for all organizations. Her book is important." (Reid Hoffman, founder, LinkedIn)
"Zilch is an important read for anyone in the business or non-profit worlds." (Bill George, professor, Harvard Business School, and author of True North)
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