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The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows that You Don t

ISBN: 978-1-118-09496-9
336 pages
October 2012
The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows that You Don t (1118094964) cover image



  • Being your own boss can be a great career choice
  • Success is what you decide it is
  • Doing what you have a passion and talent for can be very profitable
  • Monetary risk, hard work, and new ideas should be financially rewarded
  • Understanding the business basics every successful owner focuses on—and in what order—would be beneficial
  • Success works for you only after you’ve worked for it
  • Marketplace battles are won before they are played
  • Knowing what owning a business is really like would make ownership success a lot easier
  • Change can create great opportunities
  • Knowing when to exit a business is as important a life and business decision as becoming an entrepreneur in the first place


Written by a successful business owner with four decades of experience, The Facts of Business Life is full of real-world concepts that owners must use and embrace if they want to become and stay successful. This multiple award-winning book has been endorsed by some of America’s top business leaders, like Steve Forbes and Ken Fisher, and has been recognized as “one of the best five business books of the year” and “a must read for entrepreneurs or those wanting to be one.”

McBean begins with clear explanations and real-life examples of the seven Facts of Business Life that every successful business owner knows and executes consistently, including exactly what they are as well as how and when to use them. He then goes on to show how those facts impact on the five levels every successful business passes through, from “Ownership and Opportunity” to “Moving On When It’s Time to Go,” explaining that while the facts themselves remain the same, as a business becomes successful and moves through its life cycle, the way they are applied must change to fit changing circumstances.

But there are even more reasons why this breakthrough business book is a must read, including:

  • Its principles are based on the author’s own experience in starting and running successful businesses in a variety of industries.
  • It shows that the most successful businesspeople create profitable opportunities rather than wait for them to present themselves.  
  • It enables readers to analyze the likelihood of their own success based on the characteristics most successful owners have.
  • It reveals the #1 priority for all owners and their employees, and why every owner needs to continually focus on it (Hint: it’s not being profitable).
  • It emphasizes that becoming successful is no guarantee that success will last, and that success itself can be a trap that eventually leads to failure.
  • It shows that a business’s culture isn’t just a mission statement but also the processes created to operate the business and the employees who implement them.
  • It discusses the steps that must be taken even before a business is started to increase the odds of its becoming a lasting success.
  • It covers every step in a business’ life cycle, including the last one, showing that the best time to exit a business is when you don’t have to, and that unless you pick that time, someone else will.


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Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xix

Chapter 1: The Facts of Business Life 1

The Facts 3

The Business Life Cycle 9

Chapter 2: The Five Levels of Business Success 13

Level 1: Ownership and Opportunity 17

Level 2: Creating Your Company’s DNA 22

Level 3: From Survival to Success 27

Level 4: Maintaining Success 32

Level 5: Moving on When It’s Time to Go 37

Chapter 3: Fact 1: If You Don’t Lead, No One Will Follow 45

Level 1: Ownership and Opportunity 50

Level 2: Creating Your Company’s DNA 56

Level 3: From Survival to Success 62

Level 4: Maintaining Success 72

Level 5: Moving on When It’s Time to Go 77

Chapter 4: Fact 2: If You Don’t Control It, You Don’t Own It 87

Level 1: Ownership and Opportunity 89

Level 2: Creating Your Company’s DNA 93

Level 3: From Survival to Success 98

Level 4: Maintaining Success 103

Level 5: Moving on When It’s Time to Go 111

Chapter 5: Fact 3: Protecting Your Company’s Assets Should Be Your First Priority 121

Protecting Tangible and Intangible Assets 125

Protecting Products or Services 126

Protecting People 127

Level 1: Ownership and Opportunity 129

Level 2: Creating Your Company’s DNA 134

Level 3: From Survival to Success 142

Level 4: Maintaining Success 150

Level 5: Moving on When It’s Time to Go 159

Chapter 6: Fact 4: Planning Is About Preparing for the Future, Not Predicting It 167

The Elements of a Proper Business Plan 170

Level 1: Ownership and Opportunity 172

Level 2: Creating Your Company’s DNA 175

Level 3: From Survival to Success 179

Level 4: Maintaining Success 182

Level 5: Moving on When It’s Time to Go 187

Chapter 7: Fact 5: If You Don’t Market Your Business, You Won’t Have One 193

The Elements of Marketing 196

Level 1: Ownership and Opportunity 198

Level 2: Creating Your Company’s DNA 204

Level 3: From Survival to Success 212

Level 4: Maintaining Success 218

Level 5: Moving on When It’s Time to Go 224

Chapter 8: Fact 6: The Marketplace Is a War Zone 235

The Products or Services You Sell 238

How Your Business Operates 240

How Your Business Competes—The “X” Factor 241

Level 1: Ownership and Opportunity 242

Level 2: Creating Your Company’s DNA 250

Level 3: From Survival to Success 256

Level 4: Maintaining Success 264

Level 5: Moving on When It’s Time to Go 272

Chapter 9: Fact 7: You Don’t Just Have to Know the Business You’re In, You Have to Know Business 279

Product 281

People 282

Accounting and Finance 283

You 284

Level 1: Ownership and Opportunity 285

Level 2: Creating Your Company’s DNA 293

Level 3: From Survival to Success 300

Level 4: Maintaining Success 307

Level 5: Moving on When It’s Time to Go 314

Conclusion 323

About the Author 325

Index 327

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Author Information

BILL McBean spent many of his nearly forty years as a successful business owner in the automobile industry where, among many other achievements, he purchased several underperforming dealerships and turned them into a successful business enterprise with yearly sales of more than $160 million. Since selling the company to the world's largest automotive retailer, AutoNation, McBean has been involved in several new businesses, including McBean Partners, an investment and business mentoring company, and Net Claims Now, which provides administrative services and support to the restoration industry.

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“Bill McBean has both the experience and the acute insights to give entrepreneurs the must-know basics in an easy-to-grasp way. He does just that with The Facts of Business Life, which provides an invaluable ‘long view’ on what it really means to be an entrepreneur. Businesses, like civilizations, have particular life cycles. This is the first business book I know of that is structured around the customary life cycle of a company and the skills required at each juncture. I especially like the author’s thoughts on ‘building-in’ your exit strategy early on.”—Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Media

“If you’re a would-be entrepreneur or a business owner embroiled in the day-to-day business of business, there’s not much that speaks to the full life-cycle of what it means—truly means—to be an owner, manager, CEO, and board chairman. That’s where Bill McBean comes in.”—From the Foreword by New York Times bestselling author Ken Fisher

“Bill McBean is a classic entrepreneur with ‘street smarts,’ book smarts, and a tremendous will to win. His success as an athlete, a small businessman, and a highly respected multi?]franchise retailer gives him credibility to be heard and valued.”—Mike Maroone, President and COO, AutoNation 

“Being in business for yourself is not only a part of the great American dream. I feel it is the best way to work, live, and succeed. Unfortunately, when you start or acquire a new business, it doesn’t come with an owner’s manual. In The Facts of Business Life, Bill McBean has created a road map and a guide designed to take us all from where we are to where we want to be.”—Jim Stovall, bestselling author of The Ultimate Gift and The Ultimate Financial Plan 

“From a banker’s perspective, this is a book every business owner should read. The business lifecycle concept alone is worth the price of admission. Bankers will always respond more favorably to clients who can pinpoint their needs, understand their business, market and opportunities. This book shows the client how to do this. The Facts of Business Life is not only a must-read for every business owner, it’s a must-read for every banker.”—Blayne Lensen, Vice President of Global Risk Management (ret.), Bank of Nova Scotia (ScotiaBank)

“As a Co-Captain of the 1989 Stanley Cup Champion Calgary Flames, I learned that practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. The same has held true in my business career. The Facts of Business Life gives you a road map, a plan, a framework to apply to your business so that you employ perfect practice as it relates to your company. The book can be read chronologically or randomly and provides value on the area of focus you wish to zero in on. Read it and win your own championship.”—Jim Peplinski, owner, Jim Peplinski Leasing Inc.; Executive Chairman, Humberview Partners; Vice President of Business Development, Calgary Flames (NHL) 

“Who better to talk about business ownership then someone who has done it, lived it, loved it, and left it? The Facts of Business Life is not just a book about how to be successful, it’s a book which challenges some commonly believed entrepreneurial myths, and in my case, rethink my role as a business owner. Bill’s book will surprise some with ‘facts’ such as ‘Protecting Your Assets is Your First Priority’ and what asset protection means and why it’s important; or, his explanation of the ‘War Zone,’ and how all these ‘facts’ work together to create unbelievable success.  If this isn’t enough for one book, Bill gives us more, ‘the business life cycle’ it makes so much sense and when you understand it makes my role as an owner so much clearer.”—Gil L’Hommedieu, Founder President and CEO, Net Claims Now   

“Bill McBean is the consummate business executive. Just ask the manufacturers he represented so successfully, the competitors from whom he regularly grabbed market share, or the employees who were fiercely loyal to him. But Bill also has an amazing capacity to reflect on his business experiences and convey the lessons he’s taken from those experiences. The Five levels of a business Life Cycle is a perfect example of this. It’s Bill’s concept, simple to understand and makes perfect sense. Two of these Levels, ‘Creating your companies DNA’, and ‘Moving on When it’s time to Go’ are worth the price of a dozen books.”—Fritz Kern, Former SVP and General Manager, U.S. Passenger and Commercial Vehicle Operations, American Isuzu Motors

“Bill is one of the best business owners I’ve ever come across. I think so much of his ability that I seek out his opinion on my own business issues, and have referred some of my best clients to him for his expertise. Every page of The Facts of Business Life has something owners can use in their business, but I particularly found the ‘War Zone and Marketing’ facts to be especially powerful, as is the Levels on DNA Creation, Opportunity and it’s analysis, and Maintaining Success’. This is a great book and the way Bill describes the business ‘life cycle’ concept, was a like a ‘light switch’ being turned on – it made so much else make sense. It will be a wonderful gift to my customers and a great introductory tool for my sales force to pass out to prospective customers. “—Tony Fincannon, CEO and President, Dealer Associates

“What impressed us most about Bill was the clarity he brought to complicated business issues. Bill’s book, The Facts of Business Life, does just this; it discusses the priorities business owner’s need to concentrate on to be successful. The life cycle Bill describes is brilliant and brings clarity to where there was none. His book makes business ownership easy to understand for the rest of us. “—Victor  Papazov, Chairman, Bulgarian Stock Exchange, and Irena Komitova, Managing Partner and Publisher, Creative Solutions; Sophia, Bulgaria 

“Bill McBean is a self-made businessman. He started with little and turned it into a lot. I’ve been able to closely watch how he takes troubled businesses and turns them into successes, then uses their collective successes to create a competitive advantage in the market place. Bill is a competitor who attacks a market with preparation, skill, and determination. His book is a must read for every business owner because the Seven Facts of Business Life and the Five Levels in an ownership life cycle are the summation of his four decades of experience and success, and a tribute to the great business owners who mentored Bill. Level Five ‘Moving on When it’s Time to Go’ is a must read, because Bill’s exit was as good a one as I’ve ever seen.”—Tony Nolan, Former President and CEO, NCM & Associates 

“Bill is a great businessman who delivers a strong message – simply and to the point. The seven Facts of Business Life gives owner’s the priorities they have to concentrate on to be successful and profitable. The Five Levels of a businesses (and/or owner) life cycle is something I’ve never thought about, but makes perfect sense and gives me a structure, or boundaries, to work within as well as a clearer focus on where I am and where my business is headed. When you read the book you quickly recognize why Bill was so successful, and  there is no doubt your talking to a business owner who has been where we are, and won the battle.  This is simply the best business book I have ever read.”—Dave Resendez, Director, Texas Towing Association

“Many people have common sense, but few people can turn common sense into uncommon success. Bill McBean is one of the few who can. As a successful businessman, Bill has demonstrated an uncanny ability to maintain integrity and honor in both his business and personal life. And because of that, his employees love to work for him, his customers trust to buy from him over and over again, and he endears himself to his friends. His book is a must read and should not be limited to just entrepreneurs, but to individuals who are running any type of organization.”—Jess Cole, Senior Pastor, Christ Point Church, Corpus Christi, Texas

“Understanding the entire realm of business—marketing, sales, costs, employees, and products—is a trait few business owners have. But Bill McBean can not only see the whole picture, he understands the small things as well. And, this is reflected in his book, The Facts of Business Life, particularly in how he describes the Seven Facts and why they are important singularly, and then shows you the real strength of the ‘Facts’- how they work in tandem with each other to create great success. Add this to the description of the five levels of a business life cycle and the result is a source of great knowledge a to business owners large and small. A must read business book.”—Ted Oakley, Director, American Bank

“As a successful, hands on entrepreneur, Bill has done a masterful job of presenting the essential elements for successfully running and growing a business. His presentation is straightforward and compelling, and anyone who owns, manages, or is considering starting a business should grab a highlighter and start reading his book.”—Mike Lewis, CEO, Office Arrow

“Bill has a wonderful business mind, and has an uncanny ability to cut through the “noise,” clearly see a problem or opportunity, and then attack it. His businesses are successes because he is a visionary, a leader, a motivator, a focused manager, and because his employees believe in him. And, when you read his book you’ll know why, Bill see’s the complete macro picture of owning a business and puts it all in an orderly easily understood sensible format.”—Tim Keen, Vice President, Sonic Automotive

“Bill McBean is humble, honest, has a great sense of humor, and is a sincere friend to all of us here at his alma mater. He was and is a hard working professional and a leader amongst his peers. It is little wonder that this former captain of his hockey team is now a captain of his team in the business world. The Facts of Business Life explains how Bill has taken some of the hard lessons sports teaches and uses this knowledge in his business career. Particularly telling is the ‘The War Zone’ business fact which tells about the competitive spirit needed to succeed or ‘the business fact’ concerning the importance of ‘protecting your business assets’, which reminded me of how critical defensive play is to winning and becoming champions.  Bill’s book is not just reserved for business owners; it should be read by any manager in every occupation.”—Bill Seymour, Former Athletic Director and Men’s Hockey Coach, University of Saskatchewan

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Press Release

October 05, 2012
Proof Positive: Seven Facts to Breathe Life into Your Business

Doomed from the start. If you’re an entrepreneur or an entrepreneur-hopeful, it’s probably difficult to keep those four words from causing you to second guess your every move as you plan and run your business. They become especially hard to ignore when you consider the fact that less than 30 percent of businesses last more than 10 years, and most failures happen within the first few years of operation. The truth is, many things could go wrong: an ill-conceived business idea, poor planning, lack of capital, ineffective leadership, and more. In the high stakes world of running a business, those are the facts.

But, says Bill McBean, there are other important facts about business ownership. Facts that could help you avoid the mistakes and pitfalls that trip up so many others, and go on to achieve the success you’ve dreamed of. He calls them the Facts of Business Life.

“Of course, there are a variety of skills owners need to know in order to make a business work,” says McBean, author of the new book The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t (Wiley, October 2012, ISBN: 978-1-1180949-6-9, $24.95, www.FactsOfBusinessLife.com). “But after many decades of running my own successful businesses, and learning how other successful owners have created success, I have come to the conclusion that these facts are the seven essential concepts needed to create a successful business life.”

McBean knows what he’s talking about. A successful business owner many times over and a trusted mentor to entrepreneurs, he shares in his book a career’s worth of wisdom that you can put to use right away. The Facts of Business Life provides a thorough explanation of each fact and why their sequential order is important. And, he is the first author to define the five levels through which every successful business evolves—its life cycle: Ownership and Opportunity, Creating Your Company’s DNA, From Survival to Success, Maintaining Success, and Moving On When It’s Time to Go.

Best of all, The Facts of Business Life makes it clear when each fact should be implemented and how they should be implemented on each level. (Make no mistake—while the facts will always remain the same, their application will change as your business grows and matures!) That’s where the book’s greatest value can be found: McBean makes it very clear how and why each level signals to an owner that it’s time to change up the way he or she leads, manages, markets, etc., and he provides actionable advice on how to best proceed.

“Now, don’t get me wrong,” McBean clarifies. “There are no guarantees for entrepreneurs—and to add to the challenge, each business is one of a kind, in terms of how it competes, its constraints, and how it operates. But what you can do is tilt the odds in your favor.”

If you’re ready to build a strong, lasting foundation for your business, here are McBean’s tried-and-true seven Facts of Business Life:

  • Fact 1: If you don’t lead, no one will follow
  • Fact 2: If you don’t control it, you don’t own it.
  • Fact 3: Protecting your company’s assets should be your first priority.
  • Fact 4: Planning is about preparing for the future, not predicting it.
  • Fact 5: If you don’t market your business, you won’t have one.
  • Fact 6: The marketplace is a war zone.
  • Fact 7: You don’t just have to know the business you’re in; you have to know business.

“Ultimately, I don’t believe that any entrepreneur can succeed—or at least reach his or her full potential—without knowing, understanding, and applying these seven Facts of Business Life,” concludes McBean. “It’s equally important to understand how these facts are interrelated.

“For instance, being able to develop strategic plans or market your product will mean little if you don’t have a good grasp of business in general,” he concludes. “But I promise, if you commit yourself to understanding these facts while being prepared for their implementation to change as your business goes through its inevitable life cycle, you’ll be creating a best-odds scenario for success.”

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