A debut guide offers a systematic plan for entrepreneurs to improve their companies.
“No company ever becomes best in class by accident,” Yong repeats throughout his book, reiterating it especially when he’s underscoring the long odds against any new business venture succeeding. He sees the prevalent perception in the entrepreneurial world as running at sharp odds to the actual reality. “If you ask business owners whether or not they consider themselves leaders,” he writes, “there is a good chance that almost all of them will answer in the affirmative,” when in truth most of them are followers, consciously or unconsciously aping the success strategies of others rather than tailor-fitting strategies of their own. This volume, written in many short, easily digestible segments, is meant as a corrective to this kind of lemming mentality. It’s a step-by-step breakdown of basic business-world principles that most experienced hands will likely find elementary but which, Yong maintains, are overlooked far more frequently than they should be. These principles revolve around four “pillars”: the entrepreneur, ideas or innovations, employees, and customers. On the personal level, Yong argues that effective leadership remains a powerful antidote to the “disharmony” of faulty expectations. He stresses the power of corporate culture and innovation as well (“Remember that structure is a form of strategy”), but the strongest points of his book involve the externals: building and inspiring a band of workers and creating a loyal customer base. Entrepreneurs at all levels of experience are urged to liken the assembling of a core group of employees to recruiting for a championship sports team, and readers are reminded of something far too many businesses forget: customers are the one indispensable key to any company’s success. Yong’s prose can sometimes be stultifyingly droning (“To maximize your customer relationships, it is important to identify them and get to know who they are and why they are buying from you,” etc.), but what he lacks in subtlety, he makes up for in forcefulness.
A clearly worded handbook for covering the business basics.