Last month I wrote about my list of four things a business should never do, called The 4 Nevers. I was amazed at the amount of feedback I got from fellow businesses, confirming, commiserating or commenting on them. Many were glad to be reminded, and some had their personal Nevers to share. Apparently I touched a bit of a nerve for some of my readers! The Nevers included:
- Never work with anyone who treats you like you’re stupid.
- Never sell your product or service to someone who doesn’t understand its value.
- Never let your client set your price.
- Never ignore what your gut is telling you.
So as promised, here are my four favorite Always:
Always observe the Golden Rule.
This can be expressed in many different ways – karma, what goes around comes around, etc. – but what it comes down to is, the best way to treat people is how you would like to be treated. As a rule for doing business it is absolutely infallible. And not being rocket science, it is also really easy to remember. This is the flip side of the #1 Never rule above.
Always put agreements in writing.
No matter how hard we try to cover all bases and be clear, there is always potential for misunderstandings, misinterpretations and just plain forgetting, whenever we make agreements about doing business. For the sake of everyone’s sanity, every project should begin with a written agreement about the scope, budget and timeline, and have a process for scope changes.
Always strive to do better and learn more.
It’s very easy, especially after you’ve been in business for a while, to get complacent and find yourself in a comfortable place of “we’ve always done it this way.” Comfort is the enemy of growth! If you are not making time to stay up on new developments in your field, you are writing a slow, painful death warrant for your business.
Always believe in the value of your work and your expertise.
If you don’t, then why should anyone else? Even though we may have days when we feel insecure about our worth as businesses, this belief needs to be consistently conveyed, not only to our clients but to ourselves. Transient mood swings happen to all of us, and have nothing to do with our basic worth. Believing in the value of what your business offers is the bedrock of all effective marketing.
Slightly More Amusing Business Rules