Review: The Successful Management of Independent Business
By Julie King | September 30, 2009
|The Successful Management of Independent Business
|Bill Dieruf, JR.
This is an unusual business book written by Bill Dieruf, Jr., an entrepreneur who built a hardware store business that thrived even as large competitors opened up nearby.
The author has a unique, very hands-on and sales-driven approach to business and he illustrates his ideas about how a business should be run with personal annecdotes.
This is not a step-by-step "how to" book that will tell you exactly what you need to do to better manage your company. It is a short (97 pages), practical book that has some unusual ideas about how to build a successful company and how to reinvent that company over time as the competitive landscape changes.
For example, in Chapter 5 Dieruf explains the logic behind creating four departments in his hardware store that initially included a drop-off dry cleaning service, then changed to a coin laundry and later still changed back to a dry cleaning service with a liquor store added in.
Each department was carefully thought out to attract customers to the store and keep them coming back, with the exact form of the departments changing over time. The only department of the four that never did change was the actual hardware department.
The book is particularly relevant to retail and inventory-driven businesses, as this is Dieruf's direct experience in business. For example, he offers useful advice for negotiating a supplier extension of credit and floor financing as well as advice targeted at retail stores.
Canadian readers are cautioned to validate the legality of ideas in the book that deal with topics like managing employee compensation or using lotteries as a promotion.
The bottom line? In spite of its US-centric outlook, The Successful Management of Independent Business makes for an easy read. When you close the book I suspect you will feel, as I did, that you have gained some interesting insights into the mind of a hands-on entrepreneur who built his business one sale at a time. Literally. From that viewpoint, I found it to be a refreshing departure from many of the more weighty business, generalized books we normally review.