Summary: Now, Build a Great Business by Brian Tracy and Mark Thompson
Summary: Now, Build a Great Business by Brian Tracy and Mark Thompson

Summary: Now, Build a Great Business by Brian Tracy and Mark Thompson

3Ps of leadership

  1. Purpose – why does what you do matter to others?
  2. Passion – what turns you on?
  3. Performance – goals should come last. Bad goals happen to good people when they set their goals too early and often when their goals are out of line with their passion and purpose.


Leaders are made, not born.

“There are many natural-born leaders, but there’re so few of them that they make no difference in the greater scheme of things.” – Peter Drucker

Great leaders dedicate themselves to hours and hours of ‘deliberate practice’, carefully crafting essential skills they need in order to bring themselves up and those surrounding them.


Failures are feedbacks.

They are essential data that when used to your advantage, you can become a better version of you and increase your win probability next time.

“You only have to be successful the last time.” – Phil Knight, the founder of Nike


Concern about what’s right, rather than who’s right.

Keep your ego out of the equation. Be prepared to abandon any decision you’ve made in the past if you get new information. Most importantly, be willing to change with the circumstances.


7 Questions for Leaders

  1. Your leadership – what results are expected of you and what do your people need from you to contribute to your business at their full potential?
  2. Your plan – what’s your plan to generate more sales and more profitability, and how’s it working? Could there be a better way in everything you do?
  3. Your team – how do you attract and retain talents while inspiring them to perform at their best?
  4. Your product – are you good at building things? Where are you good at? What product or solutions will differentiate your offering from the rest?
  5. Your marketing – what’s your competitive advance? How do you convey that message to your customers?
  6. Your sales – how do you convince your customers to buy from you rather than the competition?
  7. Your customer experience – what do your customers need and want? How can you make them delighted so they have no choice but to keep coming back to you again and again?


What scares people isn’t change. It’s uncertainty.

Most of all, people fear unpleasant surprises. Alan Mullaly of Ford Motor Company saw change happening all around him when he became the CEO. And he’s fiercely committed to driving Ford, literally and figuratively, amidst of uncertainties.


Leaders listen.

When Mullaly arrived at Ford, he used at technique the head refined at Boeing. He found a way to instantly shift the senior executives on his team from talkers to listers by changing the way he evaluated his team’s performance. “When you give a speech, you’ll be scored by the audience” he told his team. “So those executives who were smart enough to leave plenty of Q&A time performed better than those lectured. And those managers who encouraged a dialogue with the team came out on top.


Getting started: Your leadership checklist

  1. What three accomplishments as a leader are you most proud of?
  2. What are your most useful and informative failures and how are you harvesting them for your business?
  3. How do you demonstrate to others the courage to stay the course when things get tough and outcomes look uncertain?
  4. What are the most important measures you use to determine how effective you are as a leader? Why are you on the payroll?
  5. What can you stop doing as a leader today?
  6. What are your three Ps – purpose, passion and performance?
  7. How would your perfect leadership differ from your current leadership?
  8. What one action you can take immediately to improve your leadership capabilities?



7 essential components of a great plan

  1. Objective
  2. Offensive
  3. Concentration
  4. Economy
  5. Flexibility
  6. Surprise
  7. Momentum


Plan – Objective

Alexander the Great, knew he was severely outnumbered to the Persian army. So, the night before the battle, he called his officers how they’re going to win the battle the next morning. It was simply to kill the leader of the enemy “Kill Darius!”

The battle began. The attack came so sudden that Darius was completely unprepared. Darius leaped onto a mare and rode frantically off the battlefield, leaving his army to fend for itself. At the end of the day, Alexander army the Persian army and became the masters of the world.

A leader cannot abandon your team or neglect your primary objective no matter how sudden or furious the challenges you’re facing.

Plan – Offensive

“No great battles are ever won on the defensive.” – Napoleon

Just like the battle of Alexander, in business, it’s your continuum offense that enables you to take initiative and control your financial destiny.

Plan – Concentration

Alexander was able to concentrate his forces on one objective, kill Darius. The same way in business, it’s your ability to concentrate on your limited resources that help you bring out the very best potential prospects for those resources.

Plan – Economy

In strategic thinking, your goal is to connect the dots and that includes taking the big picture economics into consideration.

Plan – Flexibility

No matter how much you’d like your plan to go smoothly, it won’t. In business, turbulence strikes. Uncertainty creeps in. Change takes place. To adapt, you must always leave room in your plan and be nimble.

Plan – Surprise

Prepare for the unexpected. Think of doing something that your competition doesn’t see it coming.

Plan – Momentum

Seize the day. Press forward aggressively. Achieve every dollar of profitable sales while the window of opportunity is open and before your competition even has a chance to counterattack.


6 key questions for strategic planning

  1. Where are you now? What’s your current situation?
  2. How did you get to where you’re today?
  3. Where do you want to go from here?
  4. How would you get there?
  5. What obstacles would you need to overcome?
  6. What additional knowledge, skills or resources would you need?


Turn a cost center into profit center.

Amazon’s massive operations require massive data centers which are also a huge cost center for the company. Then management began asking what if they could their competency into profits. The result is Amazon’s massive IT infrastructure has evolved into a business opportunity (AWS) with Amazon renting space on its computing resources to businesses.

Accenture, the global service firm has helped Fortune 500 companies including Best Buy and saved billions in administrative, HR, IT and accounting functions. Best Buy can focus more on what it does best, consumer retailing and offload as much of other works to firms that can do it for less and better. Could you do something similar in your business?


Measure what matters.

All business success is the result of changing one or more key numbers, better known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Here are 36 measures you can use as a reference:

  1. Sales of all products
  2. Other revenues (from non-sales activities)
  3. Cost of goods sold
  4. Expenses (all costs of doing business)
  5. Salaries and wages
  6. Leads generated
  7. Conversion rate (from prospect to customer)
  8. Cost of customer acquisition
  9. Average size of sale
  10. Average gross profit per sale
  11. Average gross profit margin
  12. Average net profit per sale
  13. Average cost per sale
  14. Average number of times a customer buys
  15. Customer lifetime value
  16. Sales per employee
  17. Sales per day, week, month, even hour
  18. Sales pers specific product o reservice
  19. Average size of upsells or cross sells
  20. Average number of referrals received
  21. Average sales per square foot (retail)
  22. Return on investment
  23. Return on equity
  24. Return on sales
  25. Amount of receivables and how long they’re outstanding
  26. Amount of payables and how long until due
  27. Amount of cash in the bank
  28. Amount of cash drawn on credit lines
  29. Amount of debt in total owned by business
  30. General trend of key numbers
  31. Number of orders for future fulfilment
  32. Number and size of bad debts and past-due payments
  33. Daily active users


Getting started: Your planning checklist

  1. What’s your vision of your business? What problems do you solve?
  2. What are 3 most important values you believe in?
  3. What are your strategic objectives (level of sales, profitability, rate of growth)?
  4. What are your tactical objectives (type of offering, marketing and sales, financing, people, market opportunities)?
  5. What are your strategic variables (product policy, customer policy, promotion policy, distribution policy, competitive emphasis, pricing policy, financing policy, investment policy)?
  6. What is your business plan (executive summary, concept, objectives, market analysis, production, marketing, organization and people, financial projections, ownership)?
  7. What are your KPIs?
  8. What’s one action you can take immediately to improve your plan?



When in doubt, don’t hire.

Take your time when it comes to hiring. Hire slow. Fire fast.


Ask the right questions.

Avoid asking questions that can be answered with simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. “How”, “Why”, “What are your friends in knowing your candidate at a deeper level.


Use the rule of three in interviews.

  • Always interview at least 3 people for a position.
  • Interview the candidate you like in 3 different places (it’s amazing how the personality of a person can change when they move from one setting to another, like from office to coffee shop).
  • Hire the candidate interviewed by at least 3 people.


Look for the SWANs.

SWANs are

  1. Smart
  2. Work Hard
  3. Ambitious
  4. Nice


Use 3Rs for motivation.

  1. Recognition (in public, one-to-one)
  2. Rewards (internal, external)
  3. Reinforcement (continuous reinforcement, for example a large complex sale may take several months to complete. As a sales manager, it’s your job to continually reinforce the work the salesperson has accomplished)


Replace your Employee of the Month program.

Instead introduce Achievement of the Month prize. Managers often feel obligated to honor all employees which render ‘Employee of the Month’ useless. Plus, people hate personal biases. Your focus should be on behaviors and results, not the favorite employees.


4Cs of happiness

  1. Control – give control or at least make people feel they’re in control
  2. Connectedness – deepen relationships
  3. Cause – a shared purpose or belief
  4. Continual progress – feeling that you’re moving towards in achieving your goals


Manage by objectives.

Management by Objectives (MBO) is a popular powerful way to unlock the potential of your best people. MBO is simple.

  1. You specify the desired outcome of the task (as a military commander, you may say ‘get to the top of that hill’, also known as commander intent)
  2. Leave them decide the best course of action (it’s your team job to draw on their experiences and decide what’s the best way to get to the top).


3Cs of trust

  1. Consideration
  2. Caring
  3. Courtesy


Getting started: Build a great team

  1. What are 3 most important qualities and skills you look for in a new hire?
  2. How are you providing a winning working environment for your team?
  3. What are 3 steps you can take in hiring to practice the law of 3?
  4. What are the 3 Rs of motivation for your team?
  5. If we conduct a 360-degree assessment of you and your team, what do you think you’ll hear?
  6. What are your 3Cs to build trust?
  7. Who would you not hire again in your team?
  8. What one action you can take immediately to build a great team?



Price is seldom the reason why people don’t buy.

If price is the critical factor, the lowest priced cars would sell the best and Toyota would never become the No.1 automaker in the world. While Mercedes, Jaguar, BMW and Audi were all suffering from quality crisis, Toyota was on their way to becoming quality champions while maintaining low-cost production.


Everyone makes mistakes, the key is to be better next time.

When you make a mistake, focus on serving the customer better next time. You can’t change what happened in the past, but you can always change what will happen in the future. So, don’t just apologize and solve, ask your customer to tell you how you could improve in the future.


Hire your customers for your R&D department.

No business plan or product survives first contact with the customer. So why would you waste months of time and effort developing something your customers don’t need? Dedicate yourself and every person in your company to know your customers better than anyone else.


Getting stared: Build a great product.

  1. What are the most important values or benefits your product bring to your customers?
  2. What could you do immediately to improve your quality ranking in comparison with your competitors?
  3. How do you make innovation possible?
  4. In what 3 ways do your products enrich and improve the lives of your customers?
  5. If you have unlimited resources, what are 3 things you’ll do to become the market leader in your industry?
  6. What 3 things you can do to hire your customers for R&D?
  7. What products or services should you abandon or phase out because you can never be the best in those areas?
  8. What one action you can take immediately to build a great product?



Good marketing makes selling much easier.

Great marketing makes selling unnecessary.


7Ps of Marketing Matrix

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Promotion
  4. Place
  5. Positioning
  6. Packaging
  7. People


Your goal is to make people say ‘That’s for me’.

Good advertising or marketing makes people say “That’s for me!”, “I want it”. Good advertising emphasizes the company’s USP (unique selling proposition) and targets a small niche.


Story: Is your phone ringing?

Years ago, the authors were advertising their service on the radio. But the response level was low and disassociating. One day, the head of advertising agency called and asked how as their campaign doing. They bluffed but then he said “I have just one question for you: Is your phone ringing?”

He took a closer look at what customers needed and wanted. He then offered to rewrite their advertising and get their phone ringing. They accepted their offer and he delivered.

The simplest way to measure the effectiveness of your campaign is whether it causes your phone to ring and your cash register to jingle.


Know your marketing metrics.

Three most important numbers in marketing is the cost of customer acquisition (how much it costs to acquire a single customer), customer lifetime value (the total amount of money you make for a given customer) and the number of leads generated. Once you find out how much your customers spend on your products over their lifetime, you’ll know how much you should spend to acquire new customers.


Getting started: Build a great marketing

  1. What exactly do you sell, defined in terms of how it does to improve the life of your customer?
  2. What’s your competitive advantage? What is it that you can do better than anyone else?
  3. Describe your idea customer.
  4. What are your most effective marketing methods?
  5. Who or what are your biggest competitors and how do you differential from them?
  6. How can you create a community for your customers to share ideas, enthusiasm and challenges?
  7. What changes could you make in your offerings?
  8. What one action you can take immediately to build a great marketing?



A doctor of selling

Sales people at every level should view themselves as ‘doctors of selling’. If you go to a doctor of any kind, the doctor always follows an established procedure. First the doctor examines, then he diagnoses your illness to give you a prescription. Same way, a great salesperson doesn’t just show up to pitch a cure. She tries to get to know her customer first to uncover their real problems, not just surface ones. She then presents the solution that best addresses the needs of her customer.


Getting started: Build a great sales process

  1. Idenitfy 3 most important factors that influcne and determine the success of salespeople in your company?
  2. List 3 actions you can take immediately to attract more and better prospects to your businesss.
  3. What are 3 most important sales skills that you and your salespeople need to excel?
  4. List 3 things you can do immediately to build higher levels of trust and mega credibility with your customers?
  5. What 3 actions could your salesperson take to make more persuasive and effective presentations?
  6. What 3 actions could you take or incentives you can offer to get your prospects to buy sooner?
  7. List 3 questions you could ask to elicit a buying decision from interested prospect?
  8. What one action you can take immediately to improve your sales process?



Make your products intuitive.

When Schwab (the founder of Charles Schwab Corporation) asked clients about its online services, they described how difficult it was to use. Schwab then gathered product managers so they can feel firsthand in the usability lab just how hard it was for clients to figure out things.

They saw one customer after another face one frustration after another. It was heartbreatking for them to witness it. After watching a dozen customers struggle, one product manger ponded on the glass and said “It’s not in the left corner, you idiot!” Luckily, the client couldn’t hear the outburst. And yes, Schwab fired that manager soon afterward.


Make your product experience consistent.

When Coke infamously introduced ‘New Coke’, its market share plummeted. A century of success was nearly destroyed by their own intrinsic need to change. Today, Coca-Cola company experiments and adds hundreds of flavors to meet changing local needs, but they never change the original Coca-Cola formula.


3As of relationship

  1. Acceptance – every human being has a deep need to be accepted unconditionally
  2. Appreciation – every human being has a deep need to be recognized
  3. Attention – every human being has an innate desire to be heard


Satisfied customers rarely come back.

Customer satisfaction alone isn’t enough. Some surveys show customers who say they’re only satisfied leave at the first opportunity and go elsewhere. It’s when you exceed your customers’ expectations that you win their loyalty.


Getting started: Build a great customer experience

  1. What are the promises you make when you ask a customer to trust you?
  2. What are the promises you keep after they’ve bought from you?
  3. List 3 things you do today to create a better customer experience.
  4. List 3 things you and your customers love about your competitor’s customer experience.
  5. List 3 most positive things your customers say about you.
  6. List your 3 most common customer complaints and what you do to resolve them.
  7. What are 3As of customer relationships and how can you incorporate them to your customer experience?
  8. What one action can you take immediately to improve your customer experience?