The odds of founding a successful business are long. Estimates indicate that 70% of new businesses fail within a decade, 60% within the first five years. This book offers business founders an opportunity to beat those odds.
The key, claims author Alan Yong, is to take a systems approach to building a business. This approach means that all of the functions within the company interact with one another and that they all exist within a dynamic and ever-changing context. Yong emphasizes that businesses are open systems: They need to be able to respond to change. A flaw or weakness in one aspect of your business’s system affects every other aspect.
The most important pillars that support this system, the author posits, include: 1) the business founder/leader; 2) his or her business ideas; 3) employees; and 4) customers. Based on these four pillars, the author takes the budding entrepreneur through the most important elements in building a successful business, from the mindset of the founder; to leadership and management; to business strategy and execution; to organizational processes and structures; to the management and evaluation of the team; to market positioning and rating customer satisfaction.
Yong’s approach is comprehensive and the advice he offers is applicable across industries. His presentation would make its points more forcefully—and better serve the title—if it were divided into four sections, each part covering one of the four pillars. As it stands, the titular “four pillars” are not clearly represented in the structure of the book. Still, his practical wisdom is especially useful for the first-time business owner. The experienced business leader or serial entrepreneur will also find valuable tips. Yong’s transformation of the standard employee review into an exploration of mutual goals is especially insightful.
Readers will find in these pages a complete manual for the start-up company, packed with solid, practicable counsel from a seasoned pro.
Also available in paperback and ebook.