I think rules are boring and I have never been a fan. They say life doesn’t come with instructions, but in business it’s pretty tricky. Deciding to go freestyle is not only a recipe for disaster, it can be considered an exhibition of undiluted folly.
Every successful entrepreneur has a story of rejection. Recently, a colleague told me the choice names of a new gadget which a client is about to launch and wanted my opinion. The first thing I thought was that all the names were beyond silly and should never have crossed anyone’s mind for an electronic gadget in the first instance.
Then I remembered “APPLE”! I mean, who names anything gadgets related “Apple”? In case you have grown to accept the name and you’re wondering “what’s wrong with that?”- imagine I bring this phone to you to purchase and when asked for the name I say it’s called “Pawpaw” Paw-Paw!
I had to keep my opinion to myself as I didn’t want to end up in a memoir as one of those who didn’t think “breezy ants” would work. After all somehow someone had ignored all the negative talk and launched Apple inc. He further tortured and surpassed our creativity by simply adding “i” to everything he worked on.
Recently, I came across an article with business rules that in the eyes of the world looks good enough to follow, I beg to differ. Please don’t get me wrong, some “rules” are not to be broken. For example, “start small – everyone should start small”. It is risky enough to do business, over exposure when one is not experienced can take its toll on the business. Like fine wine, it only gets better as it ages. Even telecommunications companies started small and they have grown. It’s more of using common sense than following a business rule.
However, there are some business rules I don’t quite agree with.
Never Mix Business With Pleasure
Whoever said this must have been a sadist. My former boss would say “business talk starts from a semi-formal setting and only ends up in the office when you want to cross the dotted lines”. Mixing business with pleasure works! Why? In your eyes your business idea,product or services may be the best thing to happen to mankind but we don’t care. There is always an alternative.hey may be good, bad,cheaper,more expensive or even different… but there are alternatives.
People survived before you decided to start your business,why wouldn’t they now? People invest in people. We are our own support system. Break down your office walls, meet with your clients at resturants, bars(depending on your type of business). Even invite your clients home for dinner, discuss sports, politics or whatever topic you find interesting before or after business talks.
My point: you want a deal? Then have fun getting it. When people say “it was a pleasure doing business with you”, “the pleasure is all mine” what do you think happened? Pleasurable business.
Have a Business Plan
The truth is if as a start-up all is going well according to your business plan, my friend,you should have the ability to create another universe. A start-up needs more of a to-do and target list (realistic and attainable ones only )than a 20-100 pages of business lies.
A start-up is very vulnerable and flexibility is necessary. You may think you know what would work for you but oftentimes we get surprises. However, if your business has gone beyond the green field stage,you can and you should have a plan. At this point, you have the power to play with possibilities and probabilities based on experience and not assumptions as would be the case of a start-up.
My point: The “Have a business plan” rule should have come with a clause stating that it is meant for existing businesses and not start-ups. As a start-up don’t be bothered with this. If you are going to need something for your investors and bank, simply put pen to paper and write what comes to mind about your business. Write your idea, your dream for it and what you need from them. Be original and truthful. Anyone who doesn’t value your sincerity doesn’t deserve to be a part of your business and yes you do have the right and power to turn down an investor.
Always Have a Plan B
What a plan B does is simply erase the original plan. The human mind is such that once you know there is an alternative, you subconsciously or not, give room for the Plan B to manifest. Most of the celebrated inventors and business men are college drop-outs or were not in a place of abundant opportunity. Have you ever wondered why they made it? Their bridge had been burnt or so they felt. So,this crazy plan of theirs had to work.
Some might argue – just in case! “just incase what?” In order words, you are planning to fail.It’s acceptable if both plans are in the same terrain and are related. Different and unrelated plans is a no-no.
My point: Entrepreneurs usually take more shots than one before hitting the bulls eye. Like the story of the warriors who burnt down the bridge that linked their town to the rival town. It was the knowledge that victory was the only option available to them that helped them. If not, the commander would have at have at some point called for a retreat. Legend has it that they were victorious. Whilst people believe burning down bridges connotes negativity,in this context, it’s a positive move.
A winning mind doesn’t ever have a plan B!
I attended an event where this speaker told his audience they do not have to satisfy a client’s every order especially if not convenient. Truth is I quite agree; however, don’t be a diva by saying “that order is too small”or “that job would not pay enough”.
Let your customers know you will be available for them. Be the first on their minds. Your actions of sacrifice would be remembered. You know that bakery you referred your friends to when they needed cake last minute? You only remembered them because they had proven to know how to go an extra mile for customers.
Photo Credit: blackinkmagazine.com
Tayo Phillips turned her passion into a career. No it’s not baking.It is helping people setup their businesses. Unapologetically ambitious,overzealous with work and loves life. Her big dream is to run her group of companies from her kitchen and retire to live in Greece. She lives in Lagos and earns a living as a business development consultant with a niche in start-ups.