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Simplifying business

Updated on August 21, 2016

I think about work a lot of the time, where some working environments show that money rules, dream withers, and dignity dies. I considered myself lucky because I have a good overview of various organizational setups, from NGO, small-medium enterprise, multi-national corporation, to social enterprise. After a few years, after analyzing many companies in many industries, I realize 3 things about business:

  1. Every business has its own set of glamor and clamor.
  2. All businesses boils down to ‘3M’ model: a Money-Making Mechanism.
  3. To start your own business, you just need an idea and a gut, but to run it, you need a brain.

You can find lots of business books out there. I read them to the point where I want to gorge my eyes out because of its cosmetic correctness, its bombastic words, its exclusive relevance (it’s not replicable to others), and inconclusive statement (something like “‘A’ is probably the best practice, but ‘B’ is better sometime, however other companies do ‘C’ and they are doing well”).

This is the reason why one of my favorite business book is ‘The Ten Commandments for Business Failure’ by Donald Keough, ex-Coca Cola CEO, quoted humbly in his book: “After a lifetime in business, I've never been able to develop a step-by-step formula that will guarantee success. What I could do, however, was talk about how to lose. I guarantee that anyone who follows my formula will be a highly successful loser.” My other favorite is ‘Winning’ by Jack Welch, ex-CEO of General Electric, giving his ultimate preach to answer the question of ‘how to win’.

It irks me how I found these two guys similar while they took opposing approach in explaining the path to business excellence (ironically, another mumbo jumbo managerial term). These two made me realize that ‘business is simple’. It’s all common sense: Have the best people to run the business, make something useful, sell it, get the money, and operate sustainably.


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