The Myths of Business

Published 06/5/2013

By Jeff King

The business world, like the universe itself, is built upon a series of rules. Some seem obvious. Some are not exactly as they seem. As a guide for our more than 125,000 licensees and 115,000 members, and a reminder to ourselves here at SOCAN, let’s take a look at some of the biggest myths in business.

“Revenues are good, expenses are bad”
This is a big one, espoused around the world. The reality is that some revenues cost so much in resources that they are actually a drain on the business before they even start. And some expenses are required to secure any revenue. Companies need to ensure that they maintain an appropriate balance between resources expended and revenue earned. Put simply, “sometimes you have to spend money to make money.”

“You should give the customers what they want.”
This is another extremely prevalent business myth. To paraphrase the car manufacturing pioneer Henry Ford, if he gave the customers what they wanted, he would have simply supplied them with bigger, stronger horses, not the mass-produced automobile. Similarly, if hotel magnate Conrad Hilton gave the customers what they wanted, he’d have supplied them all with free hotel rooms. The reality is that businesses should give the customers what they need. Goods or services should be fulfilling a need; by doing so, they become less dispensable, and the businesses behind them become more like partners (and less like salesmen) to the consumer.

“Don’t change a good thing” or “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
Leading companies are great because they are desperate to get better. Lagging companies are often complacent and self-satisfied, and that’s why they often get left behind. When great managers have a lead, they step on the gas. Progressive change attracts creative, disciplined managers and a virtuous circle (the positive economic opposite of a negative “vicious circle”) is created.

“People hate change”
What people really hate is change for change’s sake, change that doesn’t make sense, or change that has not been communicated properly – in each case, a change where there’s no perceived need for it and no perceived benefit from it. People will actually embrace change if they understand the need for it and how it will benefit them. For an example, look at the exponential growth of iTunes, Facebook or Twitter in the past five to ten years. For a more extreme example, when someone wins the lottery, they eagerly accept that change!

As a SOCAN licensee or member, deflating the balloons of these myths can only help your business. And as we at SOCAN work to transform our own business with an eye toward the future, we’ll always be mindful not to fall into the traps set by these myths. Our members, licensees and employees deserve as much: a smart, forward-thinking organization that “raises the bar” in every aspect, and a partner that enables them to grow.

About Jeff King

Jeff King is SOCAN’s Chief Operating Officer and he’s been with the organization since 2001 in a variety of roles. His career is showcased by a strong record of management performance, staff and business development. A natural leader, Jeff is a strategic thinker and planner. But that is really just part of his story. He grew up in Southern Ontario and is an avid music, travel and movie fan. He is also a history and business buff. This combination of interests results in him not only doing a job he actually enjoys but does not even feel like work. Of course, if he stopped getting paid he would likely stop showing up.


  1. Howard Druckman

    It’s interesting how often the counter-intuitive approach is the best one to take.

  2. alexander mair

    As a former director, I’m glad to see SOCAN playing a lead role in all your efforts in new technology. Looks good on ya…


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