People talk about them like it’s rocket science. They wear business as a badge of honor. They use words like “transformation” when “upgrading to cloud software” will do. Businesses only charge money for things.
I have never understood why people love business. Well, you made a billion dollars with your app. AND? I’m bored. What else do you have?
Business is fun when you don’t take it so seriously and understand why you are doing it and, more importantly, what you are going to do with the money to make a difference.
The rat race amounts to using a business to chase money, to buy silly things you don’t need, to flash a Rolex at a sausage sizzle you didn’t even want to attend. Save the sausage.
These are my business rules to inspire your own list.
Business marketing is a death chamber. It’s where good content goes to die and be reincarnated as ads. Talk less about your business.
My company doesn’t even have a logo. I didn’t even choose a name for him. I ended up registering my business in my name and filled that out as well. I used my real name, Timothy (the one from the Bible, yes, that’s right, I was once a good church kid), not the name people call me: Tim.
Talking about your successful business doesn’t make you money.
Sell a product that people like. Ask people what they want. Give them to them. Get in line. Start by loving what you do, and the end product will be building things that people love.
Love only means care.
If you care about the people who are going to give you your hard-earned money, that makes all the difference. People buy from people who they feel care about them.
I play a game after every business meeting. I listen to the promises given at the meeting. So waiting.
Here’s a statistic from this year: Only one person agreed to take action in a meeting and actually did it. 99.9% of the rest? Well I’ve had to follow them like a puppy asking them every day “Have you already done it?”
My rule is this: I do what I say I’m going to do.
Amazes customers. They can’t believe that you actually comply with what is established, because it is very rare. Business is not magic.
Do what you say you are going to do. You will beat everyone else without an MBA or without a transformative set of competitive advantages, or Product-Market Fit, MVP/MLP, or any other meaningless business term.
Doing what you say you will do is good. My rule is to overdeliver. I make 1% more than the client expects.
If I say I will call at 11 am, I call at 9 am. If I say it will take 7 days to ship, I make sure it arrives in 3 days. If I sell an online course with 10 lessons, I publish 12 and give away some unexpected bonuses.
People are amazed when they get a better result than they paid for.
Sell less. Deliver more.
Business can be frustrating.
In business, you only lose if you give up. If you keep trying and learn from your mistakes, you will eventually win the game. But you may realize when you win the business game that it’s not what you thought it was going to be.
I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m stupid in business. That’s why I failed at seven different startups. I don’t regret that one bit. Seven failed startups in a row was better than a Harvard Business degree.
My rule in business is to keep fighting. The person who can last the longest usually understands the game.
I had a competitor in the old days of importing and selling products online. The guy who started the business posed as an investor in our business before going out on his own. He took our idea and operating model and duplicated everything.
What was even more interesting was that he decided to set up his warehouse exactly 50 meters from our warehouse. He wanted to show us how badly we had treated him.
One month, we ran out of stock. A colleague and I walked to his warehouse. We reconnected. We said sorry in the business manner, over a cup of coffee. We mentioned in conversation that we were having stock issues.
At the end of the conversation, he gave us all the stock we needed and had his forklift driver put it in our warehouse. And he didn’t even charge us for it. He just said: «Pay me when you can«. When we paid him 30 days later, he gave us all the shares at cost and made zero margin.
I was amazed. She showed us a love for business. I will never forget.
Show love to bad bosses.
Show love to your competitors.
Show love to former employees.
Life is too short to do business with an idiot.
Have you ever met a corporate ladder climber? They are smiling killers.
They’ll accidentally run you over with their Mercedes Benz in the parking lot so they can take your job. Your children’s smartphone knows them better than they do.
Every encounter and every interaction is about them and their career.
They couldn’t care less about the customer, even if they pretend.
They are better actors than Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. As a result of their selfish career goals, they make the lives of others hell for jumping on the ladder. Your ego runs the business, not your ability to unite humans around a single goal.
Then there’s the emerging Instagram entrepreneur. They’re just there for the show and the likes. Stroking your rock-hard ego is more important than running a business that helps customers solve a problem.
When you do business with these entrepreneurs you feel like you want to vomit in the middle of the meeting. You’re looking for an empty trash can to throw away, and then a bathroom to clean your face and swirl some water around your vomit mouth.
You can’t figure out where his parents went wrong. Were you given too many piano lessons as children? Nobody knows. Maybe no one will ever know. All you know is that you feel bad.
Avoid jerks and choose humble people to work with.
Content is the heart of any business. It took me six years to get it.
Every company needs content. It’s how you show a potential client what you can do with them. Customers need to prepare for a deal. Content is how you do it.
Become a master with written words, audio, video or graphics.
People in business will betray you. My friend Michael Thompson made a real estate deal with a person he called a friend. His friend’s father crossed out his signature on the deed to an investment property that would net him $250,000 and put his own name on it.
Michael lost everything.
He could have lived his life with vengeance and become a bitter and twisted old man. Instead, he moved to Spain, became a writer, met the love of his life, and dedicated his life to his two children.
Oh, and he made a lot more money later in his life because people liked working with him. He’s a fun guy to be with. He’s going to be my little Spanish tour guide when I visit Barcelona and climb mountains with him that you can only find in illustrated self-help books.
Revenge just isn’t worth it. Instead, choose to learn.
Networking in business is scary. Who wants to be “networked”? I don’t. I don’t want to be a contact on someone’s business phone.
My rule in business is to have conversations with people and turn them into friends. The best business opportunities I have found come from people I call friends. Doing business is more than doing business. There is a human connection. A story to tell. A late coffee.
How do you make a friend in business? I like this:
Listen to them first.
Ask them questions.
Focus on how you can help them, not how you can help yourself.
Build a good relationship. In other words, have a conversation about something you don’t like.
Business is boring. Humans are interesting.
The way you treat people becomes a magnet.
If you treat people well, people will talk about you and you will meet other people who can help your company. Treat people badly, and over time, word will secretly spread that you are not someone to do business with.
The challenge is that no one will tell you. It will happen quietly behind closed doors or in hallway conversations.
Treating people well leads to you and your company being supported by word of mouth and, therefore, your ability to find business opportunities will also grow.