Book Review: Pulling Profits Out of a Hat

Pulling Profits book in LAX book store
I spotted Pulling Profits at an LAX bookstore
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When you travel as much as I do, it is important to find good books to accompany you on the journey. Some people choose fiction books as an escape from reality. However, I like to read books that help me improve some aspect of my life or business. After getting an advance copy from the authors, I’ve been reading Pulling Profits Out of a Hat over my last couple of flights.

I want to let you know that this book review is sponsored by the authors of Pulling Profits, Brad Sugars and Monte Wyatt. I agreed to write an honest review and to deliver feedback to them so they can improve the next edition.

Pulling Profits book in BNA Admirals Club lounge
Hanging in the Nashville Admirals Club Lounge

Why I’m reading Pulling Profits

In both business and our personal life, we often get into a rut with our daily routines. This inertia causes us to lose focus and skipping crucial steps can become routine. Over the course of time, you can end up way off track.

After I quit my corporate job, blogging and podcasting transitioned from a hobby into a full-time career. With that change, I want to grow my brand and make a living out of this so I don’t have to go back to corporate life.

Reading books like Pulling Profits is a way to sharpen your mind and rethink how you approach your business. To me, books are a very inexpensive way to get the best knowledge from an expert in their field. And no matter what your problem is, there’s someone who has written an in-depth book about how to solve it.

Pulling Profits book reading on Sunday afternoon
Lazy Sunday afternoon with a good book

What sets Pulling Profits apart?

As you read through Pulling Profits, you’ll notice that the letters are larger than many other business books and there are more pictures. The authors seem to recognize that many people get bored with walls of text in 10-point font.

Readers today want an easy read that still delivers with actionable intelligence that they can use. I’ve read about 50% of the book so far, and I think that Pulling Profits is delivering on that balance.

Pulling Profits book reading while in flight
A little reading inside the Minute Suites airport lounge at DFW

The Five Disciplines of Pulling Profits

I like how the authors have distilled this process into five easy disciplines so readers can focus their efforts to improve. I’m going to hit the highlights of the book so you can decide whether or not it is something you’d be interested in. If you want the “meat” of the book, grab yourself a copy.

The Discipline of Strategy – Sustainability

When developing a strategy for your business it needs to be about your management style and approach, not centered around a product. Your style and approach can be sustained forever, but all products will eventually be replaced. This is true even if you are the dominant player in your respective niche, such as Kodak, Blackberry, and Blockbuster.

According to the book, an ideal strategy “identifies who is doing what to achieve which goal by when.” For example, Southwest Airlines has a single-sentence strategy known as “wheels up.” This keeps every employee focused on the fact that the airline is only making money when a place is in the air.

The Discipline of Business Development – Predictability

Successful businesses get to know their clients and target markets so they can predict a customer’s preferences. This is incredibly helpful when you’re launching a new product or entering a new territory. You’ll never get it 100% correct, but the more you know your customers, the better off you are.

Think about your interactions with airlines and hotels. Every time you tag them on social media, designate your preferences in your profile, or make a request of customer service, that airline or hotel is most likely tracking those interactions. The software they’d use is called CRM (customer relationship management) and one of the most popular versions is called Salesforce.

The book details Hyatt’s business development strategy and how they drive revenue by building brand preference. I’ve been enjoying Pulling Profits even more because it has so many examples that are travel related.

The Discipline of People – Stability

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. But some people in management forget that it is the employees of a company that bring in those customers. And the wrong employees can devastate a company.

You can have the best product in the world, but if you pair that with horrible employees, customers will eventually take their money elsewhere. Think about some of your travel experiences. Was the flight or hotel stay better or worse based upon the people who worked there?

When I write reviews or talk with people about their travels, almost every time the conversation turns towards how the staff made you feel. Did they go the extra mile? Or was their service unacceptable? Bad employee attitudes could turn a good vacation into a bad one. And the right employee can save a bad experience and have you ready to book a return trip right away to give them another shot.

The Discipline of Execution – Consistency

By creating a consistent outcome for your clients, you’ll be able to grow your base of profitable customers. When clients spend money with you, they expect consistent results.

It’s the same for us as travelers. If we’re spending money with an airline or hotel, we expect consistent service and experience no matter which plane we’re in or destination we’re at.

When that airline or hotel fails to meet those expectations, we blog about it, complain on social media, or take our business elsewhere. Not only do these negative experiences taint our view of the brand, it also begins to shift the perception of anyone within their circle of influence.

Pulling Profits tells the story about how Kemmons Wilson founded Holiday Inn. He did so with the intention of offering a consistent experience so that guests would feel comfortable no matter where they are.

The Discipline of Mission – Emotional Connection

Too many companies create mission statements that are so full of fluff that they have no meaning. Pulling Profits says that a mission statement should spotlight a company’s impact on the world and help employees understand why they go to work every day.

You will have succeeded in crafting the right culture if there’s an emotional connection between the company, it’s employees, and customers. When employees are happy and fulfilled, they go the extra mile and ensure customers are delighted. Customers who feel special want to have that experience again and again, so the company wins by treating everyone the right way. This is called a win-win-win situation.

Where can you buy Pulling Profits?

When buying books, my first choice is always Amazon. They usually have great prices and the books arrive within two days thanks to my Amazon Prime membership (free trial of Amazon Prime).

What’s even better is that Amazon offers Kindle electronic versions of books. And those digital copies are often way cheaper than a hardcover or softcover book. For example, the Kindle version of Pulling Profits is currently only $0.99!

To me, even if you only learn one lesson from the book, it’s certainly worth more than a buck.

When you buy from Amazon, make sure that you use a Citibank credit card to pay for your order. If the price drops within 60 days, you’ll receive the difference via Price Rewind. Click here to review the latest credit card offers from Citibank and other institutions.

The Bald Thoughts

If you’re looking to improve the profitability of your business, take a look at Pulling Profits Out of a Hat by Brad Sugars and Monte Wyatt. Their methods prove that adding zeroes to your company isn’t magic. Read about their five disciplines and implement their strategies so your path to greater profitability will be much simpler. I know that I’ll be incorporating what I’ve learned as I build out my business plan for 2019 and beyond.

What books are you reading right now? Which ones have transformed your way of thinking or how you operate your business? Please let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for great books to read for my upcoming flights.


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