Peter Vincent reviews The Money Makers, by Anne-Marie Fink
- March 30, 2009 8:43 AM |
- By Michael Hlinka
Money Talks is a daily business column from CBC radio.
By Peter Vincent, a writer based on Saltspring Island
(Listen to the original audio of this column.)
Review: The Money Makers, by Anne-Marie Fink, published by Crown Business, New York.
Chapter Four of The Money Makers begins with the sentence, “Listening to your customers is overrated.” At that point I did a quick background check to see if the author was Canadian. Canada has a global reputation as a nation of lousy tippers and nonchalant customer service. Sadly, it appears that the author, Anne-Marie Fink, has no maple syrup in her veins. She seems to have come to this customer cul de sac the hard way - through hard knocks and personal experience.
Miss Fink has been tucked away at JP Morgan in the Asset and Wealth Management division, evaluating and deconstructing major companies as diverse as Disney and Google. She seems to have been quite successful at her job, as she recently was kicked upstairs as a vice-president.
We’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that it was a well deserved promotion and not simply that she was the last man standing, as the current recession takes its pound of flesh off CEOs.
She has put together this book as a compendium of observations, subtitled “11 Myth Breakers for Managing your Business.” Most of the 11 lean toward the contrarian - like the aforementioned advice about customers.
She is of the opinion that you know your business better than anyone, and to kow tow to the whims of every customer will cause you nothing but grief. Most customers are singing off the same song sheet - they want more of what you have for less money. Jettison the high manitenance customers - which is the subject of chapter five, Getting more Rewards for the Risk you Take.
The book is big on exogenous factors.
I had to look it up, too. It means developments from external events, which is what we are all going through right now - the exogenous factor being the daily meltdown of the economy as we know it. Although the author uses huge companies pulled from her files, like the success of the Toyota Prius versus the freefall of GM, or how Southwest Airlines was able to clobber the competition, the lessons learned are very applicable to the regular folks struggling to keep their doors open and a couple of dozen employees off the dole.
While some pages were clearly aimed at those MBAs out there whose lights shine far brighter than mine, I found the play by plays of how various multinationals came crashing down to earth - highly entertaining and smugly satisfying. You are never too big to go bankrupt - except maybe AIG or General Motors.
In the current economy, Miss Fink’s book has meaning and value for any sized business. For most of you working 60 to 80 hours a week with no government bail out in sight, this little survival book may provide the key to keeping your business afloat in these uncertain times.
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