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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The more things change, the more they stay the same

One thing I've had the good fortune to learn as my hairs grey is that some basic principals apply through time and that when you think something is wrong somewhere, you should review the basics before trying to reinvent your solution.

So, I will dare to outline my top 10 business guidelines(and I think you can do the same type of exercise for your business).

1. Most entrepreneurs receive dozens of ideas each year; only a few are worth investigating, and even fewer are worth implementing. Occasionally, we hit a home run.

2. 80 per cent of what we do counts for 20 per cent of the value of our efforts. The inverse also applies. Yet overly blind assessment of this rule is dangerous. An example: We can find that 80 per cent of our marketing call efficiency is achieved by working on the phone rather than meeting clients in person. But yesterday, I saw the value in knowing the exception to that rule, when I met in person with someone important (a meeting that could have been handled on the phone easily), and into the room walked someone with insights of incredible value to our business.

3. Accidents happen. All the time. Plans are meant for constant change.

4. Often you will find your best insights in places you least expect. So it is good to shake things up. On the other hand, you probably know what works best for you. So do it. (I for example always write better in the early morning rather than in late afternoon.)

5. Perseverance and talent are both important. You will be sure to succeed if you have both. You are doomed to fail if you have neither. But if you think you can succeed by persisting without talent, pick a career that requires very little brains or skill, please.

6. You have to have fun to succeed. Sure parts of your work may -- and probably are -- painful, but if you really don't enjoy what you are doing, find out why, really quickly, and change things. Don't do stuff just for the money.

7. It is really dumb to put anyone 'down' while you are acting high and mighty. It drives people nuts and makes enemies. I know I've done it, to my permanent regret.

8. It rarely helps to hold grudges. Sure, we should not be wimps if we are attacked or mistreated. But it is important to know when to move on.

9. People change. Listen to the changes. If you can help fix the problems (if there are are real problems in the people you know), it doesn't hurt to help. But if they are going downhill and don't get it, remember that they can pull you -- and others who shouldn't be pulled down -- as well. You will have to make the break.

10. People stay the same. Basic principals apply. Respect and recognize others and appreciate that great relationships are the essence of great business. New and old, through good and hard times, the entrepreneur who understands appreciates the basic rules of respect and integrity will succeed as fly-by-night operators come and go.

This blog posting ( at one of my favorite marketing/pr/communications sites set off the ideas in this blog. Warning: The language is foul and offensive and I truly disagree with someone who says you should listen to a four year old and ignore someone with wisdom and maturity. You should, of course, actually listen to both.

And if you want my Seven Tips for Construction Marketing Success, you can easily download them here.

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