The Dozen Principles of Business Success

These are particularly relevant in this ‘anything goes, whomever has the biggest bucks, lie when you can” business world. They’re for politicians, doctors, lawyers, anyone that runs a business. These principles have guided me for many years.

Businesses are about relationships between people. Owners and their employees will develop reputations for being easy or difficult to work with: for delivering what is promised, or not, and for being ethical, or not. Bill Graham, my old boss, at Fillmore Management, used to say, “Be nice to people on the way up, because you may need them on the way down.’

  1. Commit to making the business succeed. Without 100% commitment, the motivation to overcome challenges will erode.
  2. Work hard and provide leadership.
  3. Develop personal relationships with the people your business works with. Cultivate long-term relationships: they will earn you trust and good-will.
  4. Make it easy for people to associate and do business with you.
    1. Show up for gigs and appointments on time
    2. Keep promises you make.
    3. Return phone calls or respond to emails in a timely manner.
    4. Pay your bills on time. If you cannot, call people up and explain your situation.
    5. Be kind to secretaries and receptionists.
    6. Do not waste people’s time. State what you want succinctly and politely
    7. Say ‘thank you’ frequently. Forgive easily.
    8. When you make a mistake, apologize.
    9. Cultivate positive attitudes.
  5. Provide value-added services to people that you to business with. It could mean giving away something for free or giving advice and mentoring.
  6. Treat your employees courteously; pay them a fair wage; be appreciative of their good work; and when you can afford it, reward them with bonuses and other benefits. They will repay you with loyalty and hard work. Training new employees costs time and money.
  7. Listen to others; find out what is important to them; listening, even to criticism, costs nothing, and you might learn something valuable by not being defensive,
  8. Ask for and invite advice. Good advice is invaluable Feedback is important, even when it is negative. Receive advice and criticism with enthusiasm and graciousness.
  9. Do every job and gig as though it were for the kingpins of your industry.
  10. Keep track of your money. Negotiate prices and services. Keep debts to a minimum.
  11. Cultivate a good reputation. Leadership in ethics, will be rewarded many times over in loyalty in people speaking well of you and dealing fairly and ethically with you.
  12. Give something back to the industry that fed you. Share information with others. Donate time or money to worthwhile causes. Count your blessings and help those that are less fortunate.