Business success does not come on its own. After more than forty years of owning a business, Bill McBean decided to share the factors that made his business ventures rise high. In his book The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows that You Don’t, he explains everything, and was ready to answer any questions about his philosophy on the seven business success facts.
The Seven Facts of Business Success
Fact 1: If you do not lead, no one will follow.
Fact 2: If you do not control it, you do not own it.
Fact 3: Protecting your company’s assets should be your first priority.
Fact 4: Planning is about preparing for the future, not predicting it.
Fact 5: If you do not market your business, you will not have one.
Fact 6: The marketplace is a war zone. Every company has competitors, and if it does not and it’s successful, it soon will.
Fact 7: You do not just have to know the business you are in. You have to know the business.
Why do most businesses not achieve a high level of success?
He says there are multiple reasons:
1) The opportunity has little potential for gross and net profit.
2) Lack of knowledge of important elements and fundamentals.
3) Lack of leadership knowledge.
4) Lack of competitive spirit and drive
5) Lack of overall business knowledge.
How did he develop his seven business success facts?
He says they chose him, and not the other way around. Through the year, he realized they were the most important, and cost him the most. They are fundamental. It is important to understand them to develop lasting success for your endeavor. These are also sequential and listed in the order of most required focus. Without guidance like this, the management will have a hard time. This leads to missed opportunities and overall chaos and frustration. Leadership and management have to be on the same page at all times.
How many companies does he think to follow this model?
He believes not many do it as he does, and that the ones that do are successful because they have a good set of rules. The more you plan, the better you become at it. It is also like a marathon, so it is important in the end. Lastly, planning shows the willingness of the owner and management. They show the will to constantly improve, compete and grow. Overall, those who plan have a great advantage.
What elements make a good business plan?
- Destination / Vision – Where are we going with this?
- Mission Statement – The DNA/culture of the plan, how everything will work
- Goals – What the desired result is
- Analysis – Understanding the overall business features.
- Strategies – Developing the plan.
- Objectives – Short terms steps of 3.
- Summary and communication – Sharing with the employees and implementation
- Review – Go over the results and fix if necessary
How important is culture?
He says that it is simply the DNA, and everyone knows what that means. There is nothing without it, and the result will fail.
How does “control” fit with “empowerment” and what is the right balance?
According to him, they are parallel and not opposite. Processes operate the business, while employees operate the processes. The processes are there to create the necessary outcome and alert problems. They are critical to success. Control is watching over and caring for them, as well as improving them. Empowerment is awarding a hardworking employee with more trust, accountability and responsibility. This is not giving up control, but letting someone you trust to do it for you.
Where do businesses generally struggle?
They struggle to have the correct information for a strategy, they lack the ability to read the situation and develop a plan, and finally, not having the right discipline to implement it all.
What does he mean by saying that knowing the business matters?
This deals with the overall business everywhere, the macro-verse. You have to expand your knowledge and points of view. Check how others do the same business, how they solve problems. Learn about motivation, finance, leadership, rewarding, etc. To be an owner is a profession in its own right. Improve yourself at every turn.
What should you do first when accepting responsibility for a business in trouble?
First, find out where the problem lies. Reassure the workers their jobs are safe and explain everything. They should also be involved in the turnaround as much as possible. Develop a new company culture together and start from there. Then you create the already mentioned DNA.
What does a great leader have to be?
A good leader has to have vision, courage, flexibility, persistence, discipline, and self-analysis. It should be mentioned that they are made and developed, not born. Owners evolve the business, but it also goes vice versa.
What is the biggest mistake he made early on?
Although he made many mistakes, none was fatal. Usually, they were expensive and would slow the business down. He mentions the biggest might be not recognizing the basics of business and how important they are.
Who inspired him?
He lists sports and the coaches and teammates he played with. His teams had strong leadership and individual expectations were important, as they measured team success. Everyone understood rewards, punishments, and responsibility. Sports were his best teacher.
What about books?
The most influential was Steven R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Then Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers, Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, Good to Great by Jim Collins, and Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth Blanchard.
So there you have it, the most important facts of business success. The only thing left to do is to get out there and develop one yourself!