6 Small Business Rules to Build Success

by Guest Author on October 24, 2012

There are certain sayings that we’ve all come across that are meant to serve as warnings, or motivation, for our work or life. If you’re like me you probably follow someone on Twitter or Google+ that does nothing but spew motivational quotes all day long. I usually unfollow these people.

However, there is certain value in understanding and knowing maxims that can guide your hand as you grow your business. Unfortunately there is no way to talk about some of these without sounding full on cliché-tastic (yes, that is my new word for the day). So to that end I will apologize now for it, I’m so sorry.

Monkey See Monkey Do.

There are two aspects to this saying. At least the way I think about it. First, both you and your customer are monkeys (or any other animal you prefer. For instance if you have a thing for zebras, go for it). In other words, there is no difference between you and the person you are trying to interact with. If you live amongst the people you will understand them better. If you live above the people you will see little and understand less.

A great example of this behavior is the company Red Sweater Software, who make many different applications that help their users. Their reason for doing so, however, is that they needed the software themselves and recognized that the software would be useful for others as well. What they realized is that their customers have the same needs as they do.

Second, if you want the customer to be engaged with you, you must be engaged with the customer. Successful relationships require reciprocity.

id agas tuo te merito ne quis oderit

So first, what the hell does that mean? Translated it means, “take care that no one hates you justly.” It was said by a guy named Publilus Syrus.[SOURCE] He was one of those guys who sprouted this maxim stuff all day long. I’d probably have unfollowed him on Twitter as well (if they’d had Twitter in the 1st century BCE).

One of the things you have to realize is that you can’t please everyone. However, you can ensure that you’ve never done anything to rationally justify someone’s hatred. Some people will hate your company just for the heck of it. That isn’t anything you can control. Never be justly hated.

Everyone can think of at least one company they truly hate. For me I really hate General Motors. I’ve always been a Ford guy, which I guess is why I have such immense dislike for all things GM. GM hasn’t done anything to justify my hatred. There will be people out there that feel this way about your company. The only thing you can do is make sure it really isn’t your fault.

You fail only if you quit

Again, very cliché. However, it’s true. This (if you keep in mind the maxim about money at the end) is especially helpful. Knowing that the only way you can fail is if you quit broadens your possibilities and enhances your chances for the next maxim.

Many people use the service Dropbox to backup files, share files, and keep files in sync. Dropbox exemplifies this maxim because despite daunting odds against it (Google, Apple and Microsoft have all entered the storage space as direct competitors) they have innovated and fought on, never giving up despite the odds against them.

Define Success, then Live it

Know what you want when you set out on your journey to success. What will success look like, how will it feel? This isn’t set in stone, however. Just because you know what success will look like for you at the beginning doesn’t mean that definition won’t change by the time you actually succeed.

Be a Force of Change

Don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it. Mobility, fluidity, and flexibility will help you achieve all of your goals. Never be timid in your changes. That being said, be smart with your changes as well. Know that when you change things, you risk alienating people who have become accustom to the status quo.

When you make your changes, embrace your community. If your following/customers have a say in the changes there will be less risk of everyone freaking out when the change happens. GetClicky is a company that provides web analytics for thousands upon thousands of Web sites out there, yet they find ways to incorporate user feedback into all of their changes. They do this by blogging about upcoming changes, possible features, and accepting feedback.

Money is Evil

Never let money rule your success. Sure money is great, and we all need it. However, most people won’t be happy if they only seek money. Instead, seek your definition of success. You’ll be much happier. Money should be the result of your success, instead of it being the success itself.

If you run your business like you did when you were broke and living in your parent’s basement, your company will be more likely to always have the flexibility of a startup even after it is monetarily better off.

There are several companies out there that exemplify this maxim, but I thought I would choose an example that would provide some shock and awe. I think Apple really does care more about their customers than making money. I know what you’re thinking: Doesn’t Apple have a crap-ton of cash and charge obscene amounts for their products? Yes of course they do. However they focus on design and manufacturing excellence first. By focusing on design and limiting their product line to a few items, they keep their focus. If their intent was to only make money, they would be in many more markets than they are.


There are many more, I’m sure. For instance, “Never read too many motivational maxims.” You should only have a few rules that guide you. Simplicity is not only easier to remember, but also easier to follow.

My last piece of advice for you today is to write these down in your own words. What do they mean to you? How can you best implement them in your daily work? How will it change the way you do things? Knowing these sayings does nothing to help you. You need to understand them and make them yours for them to be of use.

Mathew WebberAbout the Author
Matthew is the Editorial Director at T3KD.com a tech news and how to site. His brand new blog is Democratify which is his place to spew liberal leaning political views. You can follow him on Twitter here.



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  • http://twitter.com/haroldlgardner Harold Gardner

    Truth has kept a lot of these old saying around.