After over forty years of owning businesses, Bill McBean shares the success factors that propelled his ventures to new heights. Whether turning around underperforming auto dealerships or forming new investing and administrative services companies, Bill has seen what works and what doesn’t. He recently wrote The Facts of Business Life, and I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his formula for business success.
Why do most businesses not achieve the level of success that they should?
It’s usually a combination of reasons versus one specific reason. These reasons are, in no particular order: 1) an opportunity with little potential for gross profit and net profit; 2) a lack of knowledge of the important elements, or basic fundamentals which create success; 3) a lack of leadership knowledge of how to move a business “from here to there”; 4) a lack of knowledge of how to compete; 5) a lack of overall business knowledge (not to be confused with industry knowledge).
This is not a comprehensive list, but in my opinion from what I have seen they make up the vast majority of business failure or lack of success — and it’s rarely just one of these reasons. Instead it is a combination that can kill or seriously hinder the success of a business.
Your book outlines seven “facts” that successful business owners understand and utilize. We don’t have time to go into all of them, but how did you develop and choose these seven?
Fact 1: If you don’t lead, no one will follow. Fact 2: If you don’t control it, you don’t 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 don’t market your business, you won’t have one. Fact 6: The marketplace is a war zone. Every company has competitors, and if it doesn’t and it’s successful, it soon will. Fact 7: You don’t just have to know the business you’re in; you have to know business.
It probably wouldn’t surprise you if I told you these ‘facts’ chose me rather than me choosing them. By this I mean in all my years of business ownership these 7 facts were the ones which cost me the most money — either in not optimizing an opportunity or by not paying enough attention to a particular fact that ended up taking a big bite out of my wallet.