Business Made Simple by Donald Miller – Here are my Five Lessons and Takeaways

Business Made SimpleUse this book to transform your economic worth.

Character: What kind of person succeeds in business?
Leadership: How do you unite a team around a mission?
Personal Productivity: How can you get more done in less time?
Messaging: Why aren’t customers paying more attention?
Marketing: How do I build a sales funnel?
Business Strategy: How does a business really work?
Execution: How can we get things done?
Sales: How do I close more sales?
Management: What does a good manager do?
Donald Miller, Business Made Simple


A little personal history.  In my prior life, I was a preacher for a church connected to the American Restoration Movement.  The premise of the movement was this:  the more time passes from the beginnings of the Christian faith, the further the people, and churches, drift from the basics.  This solution is to return to those basics; to “restore” the church to its original beliefs and purposes.

I have since left ministry, and left that denomination (quite a while ago).  But I have always had an admiration for that central premise.  People do drift…  If people can find the origins, the basics, of any enterprise, and follow them well, they might have a better chance of succeeding.

{Now, this says nothing against innovation and creativity and inventiveness. The basics have to do with foundational issues.}

In other words, I am a fan of the idea of getting the basics right.

Donald Miller’s book, Business Made Simple: 60 Days to Master Leadership, Sales, Marketing, Execution, Management, Personal Productivity and More, is a “basics” book.  And it is a pretty good basics book.

There are others. I think especially of The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. (Read my blog post here: The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber – Here are my Six Lessons and Takeaways).

And there are plenty of books on putting together a strategic plan, and measuring what matters.

But, every now and then, we need to read a good overview of the basics.  And this book by Donald Miller fits the bill.  This book is a business-basics book.  This book is a business overview book.  It describes, in simple detail, the things a business has to do in order to be successful.  Though each chapter is a basics chapter, and there are entire books written – many such books – on each of the areas covered in this book, this book is a good overview, and a wonderful refresher.  It is…simple.

Read this, and you will think:  “Oh, I have been neglecting _________ in my work.” 

{And, a reminder:  Donald Miller is the author of the excellent book Building A StoryBrand. (Read my blog post here: Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller – Here are my Five Lessons and Takeaways}. 

This book, covers each of these basics:

  • Leadership; Productivity; Business Strategy; Messaging; Marketing; Communication; Sales; Negotiation; Management; Execution

I presented my synopsis of this is book at the March, 2021 First Friday Book Synopsis.  In my synopses, I ask:

What is the point (of this book)?  Here’s my answer of this book:  Succeeding in business means covering all the bases of business success well. Therefore, learn to cover all these bases; and cover them well.

And I ask; Why is this book worth our time?  Here are my three answer for this book:

#1 – This book is a good overview of all the elements that make up a business.
#2 – This book provides the basics for success for each element of business endeavor.
#3 – This book provides a model to follow; instructions to follow; for each element of the business endeavor.

I always include Quotes and Excerpts from the book – the “best of” Randy’s highlighted Passages.  Here are a few of the best that I included in my synopsis: 

• How do we succeed in life and business? We prove ourselves worthy investments. …A dream team member for any employer is a team member who actively tries to get their boss a 5X or greater return on their investment.
• This means if we are paid $ 50,000 in salary, we should be looking to make the company we work for at least $ 250,000 so the company itself can stay healthy and grow.
• Here’s something you will notice about great leaders: They know how to de-escalate drama.
• Here is a formula for a good, short mission statement: We will accomplish _____________ by ____________ because of ___________.
• What repeatable, critical actions would set you and your people up for success?  …Are they repeatable?
• The reality is, not every unit of work gets the same return.
• Your entire career is based on increasing output as it relates to your activity. A value-driven professional can get twice as much done in the same period of time as a professional who does not use time strategically. …High-performance professionals block their time weeks in advance.
• Here’s a rule: If you don’t attract people to the thing you built, they won’t come.
• Any professional who can keep a room’s attention while giving a speech is going to be given more responsibility and more pay. A good communicator is going to be chosen to lead.
• People always reject a confusing offer.
• Figuring out your key performance indicators is really about fully understanding how a machine works in order to measure its efficiency and output. …Without measurements, you will be guessing.

Normally, in these blog posts with my lessons and takeaways, I share a few of the key points and principles.  But this book is designed as a “daily reading” book for sixty days, and my synopsis is a long list of what he emphasized for reach of those days.  I encourage you to buy the book, and read through it slowly.  You will learn some.  You will be reminded of much.

And, here are my five lessons and takeaways from the book:

#1 – In order to be successful in business, learn the basics of business.
#2 – Pay attention to these basics all the time.
#3 – Remember:  processes and people both matter greatly.
#4 – Work on what you need to work on; do not get sidetracked. Make sure you, and your team, are: focused, spending time where it needs to be spent.
#5 – And, don’t forget; you’ve got to make a profit.

Let me go back to my ministry days for a minute.  For people who go to church regularly, they hear a lot of sermons.  They actually “learn” new things very seldom from these sermons.  But they are reminded of a lot; things they should believe, behaviors they should practice.

This book by Donald Miller is a good quick tutorial on the basics. And then, once you get them down, it is a good reminder of what you should be focused on, and practicing, for your business success.  I commend this book to you.


My synopsis will be available to purchase soon from our site.  Each synopsis comes with a comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout, and the audio recording of my presentations from the First Friday Book Synopsis. Click on the buy synopses tab to search by title.  And click here for our newest additions.

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