“Now, Build a Great Business” Is a Business Owner’s Handbook

As I sit down to write this review, I’m getting this visual of an infomercial:

ANNOUNCER: Are you trying to run your business by reading every book on the “how to be successful” shelf?

VIDEO PLAYS: A tired, stressed and overworked entrepreneur struggling to read a book that’s precariously piled on top of dozens of other books.  He’s got reading glasses.  He’s taking notes.  Business books are falling to the floor.  He’s trying to answer customer calls!  He looks up at the camera, exasperated.

ANNOUNCER: Get rid of all those other books!  Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy, legendary masters of business, have pulled every bit of useful business knowledge together for you in one easy-to-read book!

Don’t misunderstand; I’m not shilling for this book. I’m only trying to explain what’s in it in a way that will give you the closest approximation of the experience without actually holding the book yourself.

Now, Build a Great Business Combines Tried and True Business Wisdom

Now, Build a Great Business:  7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market is different from a lot of other books or resources.  How? It has all the basics laid out for you in about 200 pages and across 7 chapters:

  1. Become a Great Leader
  2. Develop a Great Business Plan
  3. Surround Yourself with Great People
  4. Offer a Great Product or Service
  5. Design a Great Marketing Plan
  6. Perfect a Great Sales Process
  7. Create a Great Customer Experience

If you’ve been in the business world for longer than five years, you have already figured out this list.  I can tell you that when I first thumbed through the review copy, that’s what I thought – “Yup, already know all this…Tell me something I don’t know.”  But what you may not have figured out are the specifics behind the most important word that repeats throughout each chapter: “Great.”  And this is where I had to give up my defensive attitude about this book.

There is a reason they say the devil is in the details; it’s because defining what “great” means to you and your customers–in a way that will get your customers to choose you enough times so you can retire rich–is about as easy as mopping up a sticky mess with the latest infomercial miracle mop.

Now, Build a Great Business is on a mission to take you through the nitty-gritty basics of what’s really behind a great business.  And this is exactly what Thompson and Tracy do.

There are no fancy-schmancy new strategies.  There is no social media magic bullet.  There is no 30-days-to riches promise (although that’s not out of the question if you’re as dedicated to running the process as the authors would like you to be).  There is only the promise to help you get focused on the stuff that great businesses are made of.

And get this! Chances are, you won’t have to spend a lot of money to do any of the things that are in this book.  But you will have to work hard.  You will have to think hard.  You will have to print a lot of worksheets, and you will crumple them up in desperation (I can say this because I’ve already done so three times).  Having these basics pulled together for you in a practical way that includes worksheets and resources on the Brian Tracy website has more value than any promise of making millions from a magic-bullet strategy.

What I Learned About Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy

I have to admit to myself that when I read the bios of authors and successful CEOs, I get this pang of “ Why can’t I be  that smart, that successful, that wonderful?”  And what I’ve learned about Mark Thomspon (@successmatters), Brian Tracy (@BrianTracy) and any other famously successful person that you can think of is that it’s not so much about what they’ve done – it’s about who they are every day.

They’ve written a book that outlines successful actions and behaviors that you can follow as you run your business.  But what’s even more important is to pay attention to who these individuals are.

In the introduction to the book, Brian Tracy shares the story of how he started selling.  He worked hard – really hard.  But then he did something few of us actually do.  He decided that what was happening wasn’t good enough, he got advice, he absorbed what he learned and he started doing things differently.  He didn’t get defensive, he didn’t make excuses.  He decided that he was going to be a man who learned and acted.

Who Should Read This Book

There are 7 ways to build a successful business.  They are the chapters of this book, listed above.  That’s all there is to this book.  If you’re looking for something new, something more, something magical, you won’t find it here.

If you’re ready to commit to thinking hard about your business and your customers and then actually doing the things you come up with, this book is wonderful because you will get all that in about 200 pages.

My recommendation is to create a support group or Mastermind group for the sole purpose of going through this book.  Help each other.  Hold each other accountable.  Share strategies, ideas and insights.  That is the best way to get the most out of this book.

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."