Pursue What Matters
Episode 108: Business Made Simple Book Review
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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
Business can be so darn challenging. But what if there were a way to make business simpler? While join me today. Because I’ve got another great book review on just this topic.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:16
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the pursuit matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So it is time for another book review. And I love the book reviews. What I hear from so many leaders is they know they should be reading up on leadership and business and really strengthening their self awareness and self leadership. But they don’t have time because they’re in the business, they’re doing the work. And you know, I’m such a geek about books and reading. And so part of my purpose in bringing a monthly book review to you is helping you to kind of see what’s out there, and what can be helpful without necessarily taking the time to read the book. And also learning about new books and getting, you know, getting kind of a snapshot of the book so that you can determine if it’s worth your time, if it’s something that you want to read our review. And so that’s the goal.
Dr. Melissa Smith 1:34
Of course, every book review is really designed to strengthen your love and work. And so some of the books are focused very specifically on business and leadership. And some are focused on strengthening your secure foundation so that you can lead both personally and professionally. And so of course, with the podcast every week, my goal is to help you pursue what matters and strengthen your confidence to lead. I do that in one of three areas, right? So clarity to lead, which is alignment with purpose, curiosity, to lead, which is all about the secure foundation and self awareness and self leadership. And then of course, building and leading community, where we’re really looking at some of the business fundamentals around communication and teams, and psychological safety and processes and KPIs and all that good stuff. And of course, this book today is called Business Made Simple. And what I would say is, this book is really good for all three areas, but I’m going to choose one I’m going to force myself to choose. And so what I would say is this is really effective for building and leading a community. Right? So it’s just really looking at the nuts and bolts of how do you simplify your business. And so let’s learn a little bit more about this book, and the author.
Dr. Melissa Smith 2:49
So the book, again, is entitled Business Made Simple, and it is a new book, it has not been out very long. And it is 60 Days to Master Leadership, Sales, Marketing, Execution, management, Personal Productivity, and More. So that’s a lot, right. That’s a lot in one book. But really, the way that it’s approached is daily readings, right? So 60 days, daily reading, so don’t feel the pressure to read this book in a week, because that’s not how it was designed to be digested. And so this would be a good book to actually own and certainly listened to it. It’s very interesting to listen to, but I would also own it because it’s one that you have to digest slowly over time. And this book is by Donald Miller. Now he is the author of Building A Story Brand. He’s also the author of Marketing Made Simple. He’s got a very successful marketing, business and leadership business. And so I love Donald Miller, I first came across him in some of his fictional writing and some of his memoir, writing actually not fictional. It’s all memoir, I think, to this point. And just he’s got such a great sense of humor, and just I love his, his authenticity. It’s just very cool. And so that I discovered that he’s also this incredible marketing guru. And his stuff is good, and he’s so respectful of readers and their time.
Dr. Melissa Smith 4:13
And so let’s just look at a little bit about this book. So some of the praise. First, “Donald Miller’s Business Made Simple videos have ensured that I get a quick dose of smart creative business advice every morning, no searching, no effort just there and ready for me to consume.” And that’s Chrissy Wozniak from The Uncommon Ground. So if you get this book, you can also access some daily videos to kind of help with the daily topics. So that’s pretty cool. “Business Made Simple starts my day with an idea that makes me money, save money or helps me make better business decisions.” And so that’s Grant Karst from Blue Sky Financial Planning, and that’s a pretty nice approach right? If you think about it helps you to make money helps you to save money and helps you to make better business decisions. So That’s pretty good. I like that. And, and so those are some of the some of the things that people are saying about this book.
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:13
So now let’s learn a little bit about Donald Miller. Right, like I said that he is a memoirist, as well. And he is the CEO of Business Made Simple, an online platform that teaches business professionals everything they need to know to grow a business. He is the host of the Business Made Simple podcast, and is the author of several books, including the bestseller building a story brand. And so that’s a little bit about him. And so this is how the book is set up, right. So he says, in order to learn and learn to grow a business, simply 1.) read each of the 60 simple entries. And like I said, this is not a big book, it’s, it’s very digestible, 2.) watch each of the 60 free videos you get with the book, right? So you get those videos with the book. And 3.), apply what you learn and increase your personal economic value. So you make more money. And this is one of the most important points, he really takes some time to make this. And it’s, you know, for good reason, because it’s very true. He says, it’s not enough just to read, it’s not enough just to learn for everything that he’s focusing on, right. And he’s really focusing in on what’s most important, he says, It is essential that you execute, execute, execute, execute, and we all know that, right? Like, you can’t just sit around and talk about something, you’ve actually got to take action. And so he really pushes you to do that with this book. And so if you feel like, you know, what, I just need a little something to kind of help me connect with motivation and purpose in leadership, or just to be a little more intentional, this would be such a good place to start, I think it’s, he does a really nice job. And so he makes the case that this book, so this little blue book, which is the color of the book, may be more valuable than a business degree. A lot of business schools would not like to hear that. But he talks about the 10 areas, where truly successful leaders and their businesses excell. And that’s what he focuses on in the book. And so those 10 areas include character, what kind of person succeeds in business. Then he talks about leadership, how do you unite a team around a mission, which is so big, so incredibly important? Third, is personal productivity? How can you get more done in less time? And what I would say is like, get the right things done in that time. And then fourth is business strategy. How does a business really work? Right, like, what are the levers strategy is so important? And often poorly understood, I think. And then fifth, we have messaging, why aren’t customers paying more attention? Right? So really connecting with your audience, knowing who you can best serve? And then marketing? How do you build a sales funnel? And so he’s really focused on that. And, you know, I think that this can apply to whatever industry, right? So you might not call it a sales funnel? You might call it a client journey. And so it’s okay. Right? Like the details of that might be a little bit different. But I think it all applies really well, because he’s talking about principles. And then after marketing, we have sales. So how do you close more sale? Again, you might not call these sales, But how do you close more sales? negotiation? How do you get what you want? in a negotiation? Yeah, this is a big one. And I think, also a pretty big vulnerability point for a lot of leaders. And then management, what does a good manager do? And finally, not Finally, yes. Finally, execution? How do you create a high performing team?
Dr. Melissa Smith 8:54
So I, you know, I just mentioned that he’s really focused on execution. And that’s the last thing that he talks about, he’s got to be consistently executing. And so that’s really the promise for this book, right? These are the 10 areas where truly successful leaders and their businesses excel. And so I want to just share a couple of key points that already have been really helpful for me in my business, so you can kind of just get a flavor for this book by Donald Miller.
Dr. Melissa Smith 9:28
Okay, so I want to say a little bit more about these 10 core competencies that Miller focuses on and that that are the themes for the book. And so, you know, as it relates to the trades I just listed, you know, the first one is, so this is thinking about the best leaders, they know how business really works. They’re not naive about the importance of the activity to output ratio, and the importance of positive cash flow in each division. You’ve got to know how a business really works. And this is something that I run into with leaders occasionally is that part makes them uncomfortable. They don’t understand it, and their businesses suffer as a result. So it is your responsibility, I would say it’s an ethical responsibility for you to know how your business really works.
Dr. Melissa Smith 10:15
Second, they are a clear and compelling leader. So they can align and inspire a team by guiding them through a process, where they all have that vision. And boy, alignment, and accountability are so incredibly important. And these leaders are focused, they know what matters and what doesn’t matter. They know what they can do best, and what they can’t do best in terms of the organization.
Dr. Melissa Smith 10:38
So three, they are personally productive. They have mastered a specific system they implement every day, so they can get more done in less time. And I want you to think about your secure Foundation, I want you to think about self awareness and self leadership. If you are struggling to organize yourself, how on earth can you expect to organize an organization, it will not happen? And so the first place to start is always with yourself and paying attention to your daily habits. How are you? How are you getting things done? Are you productive? Are you incredibly inefficient, because you can have all the best ideas in the whole darn world. But if you can’t be productive, and if you can’t execute on those ideas, no one will get your gifts. And I am a zealot about this. I think people overlook this all the time. And they think it’s just a temperament issue. And certainly, we have some individuals who are more oriented towards organization and productivity like that there can be some truth to that. But I think the biggest gap is that people don’t do the work to establish those habits, and to establish those practices of productivity. And it is so incredibly essential, the most successful people do more, they get more done. And I’m not talking about just being busy to be busy. But you’ve you’ve you’ve got to have a system for organizing yourself so you can get work done effectively and efficiently.
Dr. Melissa Smith 12:07
Okay, the fourth thing, they know how to clarify a message, right, so they really have clarity of message. Fifth, they understand how to build a marketing campaign, right. So this is where we think about the sales funnel, six they can sell, so they know the value that they bring to those they serve. And they’re not afraid to talk about that they’re not afraid to address pain points, and to address concerns of individuals and really get get to a point where they are serving the people that they can best serve. So you can’t be too shy about your work, you’ve got to be willing to get out there and in front of people, they are great communicators, communicators, they can give a speech that informs and inspires a team resulting in clear action that positively affects the bottom line. Right. So Gosh, being a great communicator is huge. And, you know, I think what Donald Miller is saying is like, you might not have all of these things, but doing this work, reading this book, paying attention to these core competencies can really make a big difference. So a they are good negotiator. So they do not trust their gut when they negotiate. Rather, they follow a simple set of procedures to guide them. Now I’ve taken negotiations class in my MBA program, and boy, there’s a lot of art and science to negotiations. And so even understanding a few of those basics can really help you. And really, what I have found is that work has actually empowered me to have more confidence when I am negotiating, and to be able to be empowered to make a case for you know, for fees or for pricing or for negotiating, whether that’s a lease arrangement or something else. And so I think understanding negotiation and becoming a good negotiator that really builds confidence and empowers you.
Dr. Melissa Smith 13:58
Nine, they are good manager. So it’s important to lead. And it’s also important to manage. So when we think about management, we’re thinking about creating a production process. We think about key performance indicators. We think about a focus on efficiency and profitability. We don’t want the work happening by happenstance. And so management is important. I think sometimes management gets a bad rap. But it is essential. And so I when I think about being a good manager, I think about process improvement, I think about having frameworks to guide the work and it’s not about pinning people down. But it is about empowering them to do the work that needs to be done in the best possible way recognizing that we can often iterate on those processes, but management is important.
Dr. Melissa Smith 14:49
And then 10 they know how to run an execution system. And so what does this mean? Right that you’re getting the right things done. You’re focusing in on what matters and, you’re executing, you’re performing, you’re getting results, okay. And so this is where goals really matter. This is where accountability really matters. And these are some really, I think they’re great core competencies that he is focusing on.
Dr. Melissa Smith 15:17
So I just want to end by talking about some of the recommendations that he has in one of the first sections of the book, which is around character. Because right, like, we want to have a secure foundation, we need to learn how to lead ourselves first, recognizing that as we do this work around character, it has ripple effects throughout the organization. And what I would say is, these have had a profound impact on me, right? Like not, it’s not that they’re necessarily new, but it was a helpful reminder. And so one of the things that he talks about as we think about character work, he said, see yourself as a hero, not a victim. Now, I think this one is really powerful. Because I think when you face challenges in your business, or in the marketplace, it’s too easy to turn yourself into a victim, you know, whether that’s you put yourself as a me versus you in the, you know, that can be with your team, that can be with your clients and customers that can be with suppliers that can be with other stakeholders. And you know, the the point that he makes is it, that’s an incredibly dangerous road to go down. Because first of all, you’re not a victim. And if you think like that, it will prevent you from problem solving, it will prevent you from getting into the weeds of the issue. And so we really want to stay away from the storytelling. And we want to focus on how can I be a hero here? How can I solve this problem or address this challenge? It doesn’t mean you do that all by yourself. But you move into problem solving mode as a hero instead of complacency or inaction as a victim. And so the tip that goes with this is a value driven professional sees themselves as a hero on an mission, not a victim. And when you can see yourself as a hero on a mission, right, you know that there will be challenges, you know, it will be rough terrain. And that, right, like so you’ve set your expectations, and that can be helpful.
Dr. Melissa Smith 17:27
But if you see yourself as a victim, it’s like this shouldn’t be happening, this shouldn’t be hard, things should be easier, they should understand. And it really leaves you stuck on the side of the trial. And then another one that I want to share is this relates to characters well know how to de escalate drama, and boy, isn’t that important, that’s really helpful at home, and at work. And so, you know, related to this is just the concept that I talked about a lot is watch your storytelling, because we have the situation at hand that we need to deal with. And then we have the storytelling about the situation at hand. And it is the storytelling where most of us get into big trouble. And so you know, that’s also when drama happens, right? When there’s a lot of storytelling, right? So maybe you got your stories, other people have their stories, and what happens is that escalates the drama. And so a value driven professional really serves to de-escalate drama. And that’s, that’s so important for effective functioning teams. So I’m going to just share one more, one more of the daily readings that he gives us. And this is also on character. And I think it’s really a very valuable one.
Dr. Melissa Smith 18:43
And that is to accept feedback as a gift. So I think I’ve shared this on some of the other podcasts but as a, as a psychologist, part of the training process, so years and years and years and years, right, like seven years of training, you are supervised on everything you’re supervised on whether you say something, whether you don’t say something, the way you’re sitting in the chair, how you’re intervening with clients, right? And this is like with video footage. And so it is so specific, and it can be brutal at times. And so we call that supervision, right, but you are getting feedback in in every way on every factor imaginable. And you know, that has been incredibly helpful for me over the years.
Dr. Melissa Smith 19:35
First of all, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned a lot about the work that I’m engaged in. But I have really I determined early in my training that I needed to learn to see this feedback as a gift, or I was not going to survive in my training programs because the feedback can be harsh. And so we really want to consider feedback a gift and I am solidly in that place now. in my life where I can see feedback as a gift, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt, right. But especially when it when you’re receiving feedback about something that’s personally meaningful to you, it probably will hurt, it probably will feel vulnerable. And that’s not necessarily a problem. But some of the guidance that he gives you to really establish a feedback loop in your life is choose people who have your best interests at heart for sure. schedule meetings in a repeating routine every quarter or every month, so structure it and then establish a routine set of questions. So have you seen me act unprofessionally? Have you noticed that I’ve been missing something? What am I doing that I can improve on? I love this. And so, you know, sometimes we talk about the five people you need in your corner, that was a podcast not too long ago, we think about a personal Board of Directors, these would be great little meetings to set up regularly and ask these questions. So I think that is powerful. And how many of us think it’s a good idea, but we don’t actually do it. So I think that’s really great. And so his tip with that is that value driven professionals establish a routine in which they get feedback from people they trust, then they use that feedback to grow in their career, right. So they execute on that feedback, which is super important. And so I think that the way the book is designed right to, to be read daily, is great. But here’s the thing, take your time, because I think one thing that can happen is as you as you read it, like it’s very so practical, right? So business Made Simple. He really is focused on being practical and helping you apply. But because of that, I think it can be a little overwhelming if you’re not careful. And so I would just say, pace yourself. Right? Like don’t feel like you have to do it in 60 days. But it is a really excellent book. I think it just distills a lot of wisdom, and a lot of business fundamentals in this book, it’s totally digestible. And of course, you could watch the videos as well, that come with the book.
Dr. Melissa Smith 22:05
And so there you go, there is our book review of the book business Made Simple by Donald Miller, I would highly recommend it. So head on over to my website to check out the show notes with the great resources for this episode. I’ll try and include a link to Donald Miller and maybe his websites, you can learn a little bit more about him. And you can find all of that at my website. www.drmelissasmith.com/businessmadesimple. So one more time that’s www.drmelissasmith.com/businessmadesimple. So you can check out this podcast wherever you listen to podcast, iTunes, Spotify, of course, my website, and I’d love it if you would give me a review and on totally social so find me on Instagram at @dr.melissasmith So I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai