For years, David Mitchell has been coaching businesses and business leaders to success by helping them build the tools and processes they need to make a business successful. He knows the secrets for why businesses succeed, why customers stay loyal or leave, and how to be an effective business leader. Unfortunately, it would be impossible for him to coach every business, so now he has written Building Your Booming Business to share the main strategies businesses need if they want to get ahead and stay there in a competitive marketplace. And surprisingly, it’s not all about profit or even having a better product.
Mitchell walks the reader through what he terms The Five Foundations of Business that are necessary for any company, no matter how large or small, to make it in today’s business world. I don’t think I’ll be giving too much away or surprising anyone by stating what those foundations are: Marketing, Management/Leadership, Operations, Finance, and Systems and Controls. But what makes this book stand out is that Mitchell knows you have to keep all these foundations strong at the same time. He compares this situation to trying to spin plates, and if it’s not done right, one of your plates or foundations can come crashing down, resulting in the entire enterprise failing. Mitchell walks readers through the process of making sure they have the foundations in place and the team to keep the foundations strong.
Mitchell’s discussion of each foundation is broken down into several chapters that cover such topics as determining your target market, creating a miracle team, the hidden marketing secret, knowing your business’ financial score, and how to avoid being over-systemized. Mitchell then devotes a section to asking the reader to be introspective and look at his or her own personal success habits. Even if all Five Foundations are in place for a business, they are only as strong as the individuals who support them. Mitchell asks his readers to consider what it truly means to be a leader, explores how to motivate yourself, the importance of caring for yourself outside of the workplace, and how to follow-through to make your business and your personal life thrive.
One of my favorite parts of the book was when Mitchell talked about leadership and broke it down into its different kinds: directive, supportive, consultative, and empowering. He then discussed each one. For example, he describes the directive style of leadership by saying:
“I’ve heard the directive style described as the ‘John Wayne’ style of leadership: telling the team exactly what to do and when to do it. Many leaders default to this style because it’s the easiest. It’s also the most stressful because the leader carries the burden and all the knowledge.”
However, while the directive style has its faults, Mitchell points out that it is the best style in certain situations:
“Directive leadership is best used when the leader has all of the information, while the team has very little-like when a team first forms or while training a new employee. We’ll get into team development and how the directive style fits later. For now, know this is a ‘micro-managing’ style.
“Directive is also best used in a disaster or emergency situation when there is little time to collaborate and debate a solution. First responders are taught the directive style of leadership: Don’t ask or plead for someone to get help; tell him what to do.”
Consequently, Mitchell confirms that there are no easy answers about which leadership style is better or worse. Each has its strong points and appropriate place depending on the leader, the team, and the business, and the appropriate style could change as the business and team change or evolve. At the end of this discussion, Mitchell provides an eye-opening quiz to help the reader determine which style he or she most often uses and also to determine when and how to switch to using a different leadership style.
Beyond the facts and strategies Mitchell presents, I appreciated his sense of humor and his personal stories. He isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, such as why “sacred cows” often need to be eliminated from a business. He uses personal examples, including from his early entrepreneurial experiences mowing lawns, as well as more recent ones such as analyzing why the taco place he frequents barely advertises, yet always is packed, and why he keeps going back there for more. He tells stories of businesses he has helped, exploring both what they were doing wrong and how they eventually succeeded. He even explains why he won’t go get a free massage from the place that gave him a coupon, but why he loves the place where he gets his car’s oil changed.
All these stories and strategies reveal that Mitchell is a real person who understands the customer experience as well as the difficulties of running a business. His ability to see situations from both sides makes him qualified to help businesses better understand their customers, leaders better understand their teams, and readers better understand what they need to do to create a booming business. And Mitchell shares it all right in these pages. Building Your Booming Business is a sure start whether you want to begin a business or take it to the next level or beyond.