August 27, 2014

The Facts of Business Life Will Prepare You for Success in Business

The Facts of Business Life

Is starting a new business in the cards for you in 2013?  Or have you recently started a new business and are looking for helpful tips and insights from someone who’s been down that road – more than once?

If either of these sounds like you, then Bill McBean’s book, The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows that You Don’t, is a book you’ll want to read – and soon.  I received a review copy and decided to read and review it for you because I found a lot of interesting advice inside that applies to all kinds of business owners and managers.

Bill McBean Knows the World of Business; the Good, the Bad and the Surprising

Bill McBean has been a successful business owner for over forty years.  He spent a lot of time in the automotive industry where he purchased several under-performing dealerships and turned them around.  You may not have heard of the dealerships he purchased and revitalized, but you’ve certainly heard of the automotive retailer that bought them from Bill – AutoNation.

How The Facts of Business Life is Like an Onion

NO – it doesn’t stink!  The Facts of Business Life is a book written in a very unique way – it’s layered.  This is very interesting because the book delivers these lessons in a similar way to the way they are delivered in real life – in layers.  Let me explain.

According to McBean, there are five levels of business success:

  1. Ownership and opportunity
  2. Creating your company DNA
  3. Survival to success
  4. Maintaining success
  5. Moving on when it’s time to go

AND, McBean outlines the seven facts without which no business can succeed:

  1. If you don’t lead, no one will follow
  2. If you don’t control it, you don’t own it.
  3. Protecting your company’s assets is your first priority.
  4. Planning is about preparing for the future, not predicting it.
  5. If you don’t market your business, you won’t have one.
  6. The marketplace is a war zone.
  7. You don’t just have to know the business you’re in, you have to know business.

And this is where The Facts of Business Life gets interesting.  McBean then takes the seven facts and takes them through the five levels of success.  This is fantastic because as the reader, you get the feeling that all the bases are covered and you won’t miss a thing.

In other words, you feel like everything there is to say about the subject has been said.  McBean helps the process along by having a “Benefits” section at the end of each level.  If you’re the type to create affirmations, you’ll actually be able to take these on as reflections.

Let me show you what I mean:  In an early chapter that addresses rule #1, “If you don’t lead no one will follow” at level 4: Maintaining Success, McBean gets into that wondrous feeling of having attained your goals and your success.  More importantly he addresses the tendency to sit back and enjoy the ride and, along with that, the necessity to be ever vigilant with the following reflections:

  • Being a leader enables you to give the company focus and renewed purpose even after success has been achieved.
  • Being a leader enables you to overcome the traps of success.
  • Being a leader drives change, and change keeps a business fresh

What to Look Out for While You’re Reading The Facts of Business Life

I’m not sure if I’m the best authority to say this, but as I was reading this book, I could feel some resistance around some of what McBean was writing.  I could hear that little voice inside my head saying things like, “It shouldn’t be like that!” – especially as I was reading the section called “The Market is a War Zone.”

To me, “the market” occurs as a place of infinite choice, rather than a fight.   McBean says:

“The marketplace is finite and there is a limited number of customers and of money…”

I don’t operate this way and this chapter got me to play around with how my assumptions might be limiting or hampering my growth.  I also got to thinking about how the assumption of limited money and customers would impact other decisions a business owner might make.

As you read through The Facts of Business Life, you may find yourself having those same kinds of thoughts and feelings.  And this is the great gift that McBean gives the reader; the opportunity to take that time to think it through.  You can agree or disagree, but at least you’ve taken the time to think about it rather than just acting and reacting with no focus.

Why Read The Facts of Business Life?

You may have already noticed that the books I’ve been reviewing lately are all focused on thinking things through strategically.  My intention is to get us all prepared for the start of a new quarter and a new year. This is the time to take in a variety of ideas, thoughts, strategies and tools so that you have the time to process all the information and develop strategies that will drive your business into the future.

The Facts of Business Life is a great book to add to your reading list as you prepare for 2013 and beyond.

4 Comments ▼

Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

4 Reactions

  1. Ivana,

    I really enjoyed reading this post and it gave me a lot to think about. I’m like you, I believe that the market is infinite – and I’m still inclined to believe this way even after reading this piece. I does me no good to go through my daily marketing efforts with the constant nagging voice in the back of my head saying that I only have a limited number of customers to accumulate.

    I run an internet marketing blog centered around traffic generation. There’s literally thousands of people every week looking for internet marketing tips, strategies and products so I disagree with this point. However, I can understand how some may choose to believe this – different people have different driving forces to keep them moving forward.

    I really appreciate you sharing your review of this book. This is definitely a book I’ll be adding to my reading list.

    Ti

    • Hi Ti – Nice to meet you and thanks for leaving a comment that shares so much about who you are. Regarding some of the points in the book — this is what I find so rewarding about reading and reviewing these business books. It really keeps me open to new ideas and thoughts that I may not have considered had I not read the book.

      One thing I’ve really gotten from so many of these books, including this one, is to play around with the concepts they are talking about. I guess what I learned with the idea that the market is a war zone competing with my philosophy of its being infinite is that there are times when it IS a warzone and there are times when it’s infinite. I have to choose to think whatever will create the most opportunity.

  2. Hi Ti and Ivana, I hear you on the comment about limited customers. But I also see what Bill is noting – the Internet lets people scale their business, but it must be done reasonably. I come across some businesses that do not have a solid business model, yet seek to acquire technical help in developing a website, developing an app, developing an online marketing presence.

    The answer – instead of developing a sense of cost or identifying the right pieces in which the business can scale correctly – becomes seeking a seemingly endless volume of customers. Despite Amazon, scaling a business is difficult. Business owners succeed when they scale their efforts for the long term correctly instead of relying on an endless stream of customers.

    • Hi Pierre – totally agree! I hear so many people say they want all the customers they can get. And that’s not always the right answer. Focus of resources is key. Thanks for that thoughtful comment!

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