Reviewer Wally Wood: Wally is an editor and writer, has published three novels, Getting Oriented:A Novel about Japan, The Girl in the Photo an Death in a Family Business. He obtained his MA in creative writing in 2002 from the City University of New York and has worked with a number of authors as a ghostwriter and collaborator.
With an extensive background in a variety of business subjects, his credits include twenty-one nonfiction books. He spent twenty-five years as a trade magazine reporter and editor and has been a volunteer writing and business teacher in state and federal prisons for more than twenty years. He has finished his fourth novel and has translated a collection of Japanese short stories into English.
Author: Zenovia Andrews
The cover of All Systems Go says the book is "A solid blueprint to build business and maximize cash flow," and "Surely there is a more consistent way to do this." Zenovia Andrews is the founder and CEO of The MaxOut Group, and her self-published book offers almost 200 pages of suggestions and advice.
There is nothing wrong with the advice: "see where you can cut time, improve procedures, and make the functions work for you..." "update your systems constantly...." "establish various automated systems to free up your time..." "focus on the people in your business to create a climate of results-driven performance..." "systematize your income and cash flow..." "[be] a business leader, not a business worker." Andrews recommends that a business have enough cash in reserve that it can continue to function for an entire year without a sale.
Andrews believes in software and recommends that the reader buy, install, and use as much business software as possible to automate as many functions as possible—purchasing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, sales performance, inventory control, customer service, marketing, and more and more and more.
She also believes in reports. She recommends weekly and monthly reports on sales, expenses, learning and growth, customers, business rules, reputation, business processes, "weekly re-engagement reports inspire your employees to innovate," and more and more and more.
The book is a sermon. It tells readers what they should be doing, but it gives almost no suggestions—no case histories, no step-by-step examples—of how, exactly, to do it. Here, for example, is what she says about the law: "You need to make sure everything and everyone is legal in your business. Legal fees, fines, and even jail time are a disaster and will affect your business culture." It certainly will, but how is the reader to make sure everything is legal? She doesn't say.
It is not clear for whom Andrews wrote All Systems Go. Much of the advice is so basic it would offend an entrepreneur who has been in business more than a year. But much of the advice would be of use only to owner/managers who have employees to which they can delegate, manage, inspire, and reward. And to a business that has the potential to generate enough cash to build up a cushion that could sustain it for a sales-free year.
Finally, the manuscript needed an editor badly. To take examples at random: "An operations manual will create a set of rules, standards and practices for your company." No, the manual doesn't create them; the manual contains them. "Write down each person that works for you, by name." Better: Write down the name of each person who works for you.
I am afraid this book is not a solid blueprint to build business and maximize cash flow. I wish it were.
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