- Always make sure there is and will be enough cash in the bank
The most common business-failure mode, hands down, is running out of cash. If you know you’ve got a cash flow or liquidity problem coming up, fix it now.
2. You can’t fire bad employees fast enough
3. The problem is probably you
Learned was that 90% of all problems are management problems. When things aren’t going well, the first place to look for answers is in the mirror.
4. Take care of your stars
The cost of losing a star employee is enormous, yet business leaders rarely take the time to ensure their top performers are properly motivated, challenged, and compensated.
5. Your people are not your kids, your personal assistants, or your shrink
6. Learn to say “yes” and “no” a lot
The two most words business owners and and founders have at their disposal are “yes” and “no”. Learn to say them a lot. And that means being decisive. The most important reason to focus- to be clear on what your company foes – is to be clear on all the things it doesn’t do.
7. Learn two words: meritocracy and nepotism
It boggles my mind how little most entrepreneurs value their customers when, not only are their feedback and input among the most critical information they will ever learn, but their repeat business is the easiest business to get.
8. Listen to your customers
The first is how you run an organisation- by recognising, rewarding, and compensating based solely on ability and achievement. The second is how you don’t run an organisation-by playing favourites and being biased.
9. Know when and when not to be transparent
10. Trust your gut
11. Learn to read and write effective agreements
You know the expression “good fences make good neighbours?” It’s the same in business. The more effective your agreements are, the better your business relationships will be.
12. Run your business like a business
Far too many entrepreneurs run their business like an extension of their personal finances. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Construct the right business entity and keep it separate from your personal life.
13. Protect and defend your intellectual property
14. Know your finances inside and out
If you don’t know your revenues, expenses, capital requirements, profits (gross and net), debt, cash flow, and effective tax rate-among other things- you’re asking for trouble. Big trouble.
15. You don’t know what you don’t know
Humility is a powerful trait for leaders, and that goes for new business owners, veteran CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and everyone in between. More times than not, you will come to regret thinking you knew all the answers.
Behind every failed company are dysfunctional, delusional, or incompetent business leaders. The irony is, none of them had the slightest idea that was true at the time. Even sadder, most of them still don’t. Don’t end up like one of them.