In no particular order or anything. It talks about business a lot, but 100% of it applies to life, you are yourself an independent business.
Small Business – if you’re starting one, you need to spend AT LEAST 30% of your planning time looking at everything that can go wrong, and what your response is in each situation, lots of allegedly (so far, touch wood) successful small business people will tell you this is bollocks, if you do this you will never actually do anything, I say what they do is not called “business”, it is called “gambling”, and they aren’t stacking the deck, or even folding every bad hand rather than playing…. every single failed small business, without exception, I have ever seen, did not do failure planning.
Borrowing to finance a business – I once vaguely knew a man who started a *major* offshore oil industry logistics business with US$25 of his own money, he already had millions, but his rule was why gamble with your own money if you can gamble with someone else’s, and rule 2 was if nobody else is prepared to gamble on your business with their money, then it just isn’t that good a proposition, get over it.
Projections are not reality – This sounds like it applies to a new small business, the business plan, projected turnover etc, but it applies to everything, even the employee considering a car loan from the bank. So your projection is you are going to earn $5k in August 2014, my projection is you are going to earn $0, my projection is every bit as valid as yours, knowledge will only come in September 2014.
Never ever ever touch money that is not “yours” – seen this so fucking often, guy gets handed a wad of cash, some of it is for parts, some of it consumables and expenses, some of it is labour, guy spends the labour portion + 250 bucks because the van insurance came up due and it needed two new tyres too, guy is now insolvent and cannot buy the parts (which the customer has already paid you in full for) needed to finish the job… it goes lots of ways from here, but it always ends badly and always eventually fucked company dot com.
Define a scope – I used to say to people, I’m a marine engineer mate, not a bank, I can fix all your shit, but I cannot finance ANY of that work….eg stick to what you do, if they want 30 day terms tell them the bank is that way, you work for cash.
You can’t frighten off a good customer – Provided your work is done to the agreed spec by the agreed time to the agreed standard, you can’t “lose a sale”, that “sale” didn’t exist in the first place, the “customer” was not a customer, just a chancer trying to get someone else to make their dreams come true at their expense.
You can’t make a profit from a bad customer – see gambling above, it’s only a question of time, and it doesn’t matter how bad your cash flow or how much you need the money, or “a” sale “of any kind”, bad customers and bad sales and bad deals always cost you dearly, just a matter or time.
Every business is a people business, every deal is a people deal – I don’t care what trade you are in, you make the sale because the customer gave you personally the job, and it is now your personal responsibility, and you and the customer both know that. What the job is is utterly immaterial.
Specify and Quote, never ever work any other way – Fixed and rigid scope of work, schedule of work, cost of work, and schedule of payment, every last fucking thing nailed down. Yes, there is lots of shit where you say you can’t do that, yes you fucking can, if you do not know what is wrong with the engine you do not quote to fix it, you issue a limited and defined quote, to investigate and report ONLY. Once you have that data, go back to the customer and give them a quote to fix it.
Mission creep – never, no matter how small or how trivial. A work specification and quote is like a window pane, you can’t break only part of it, the fucking thing is intact or broken. Never ever ever break it yourself, and if the customer breaks it down tools and invoke the game over, pay me for work to date and storage from this point on clause… you did put that clause in your T&C didn’t you….
Subcontracting – never subcontract to anyone who isn’t as good and as honourable as you, you will eat the cost, and subcontracting covers waaaaay more than you think it does, that courier delivering a widget to site, that is subcontracting, you are stood there with your thumb up your ass and the clock ticking until it arrives.
Customers, suppliers, contractors, bosses – none of these people are your friends, sure, it is best to be on friendly terms with them, but they are not, can not, and must not be friends.
Your business is an incredibly hot total slut with an IQ of 12 and a mental age of 9 – You are the only person on the planet with any motive at all to protect it. It can’t protect itself. Everyone else on the planet will take a freebie when your back is turned.
The sale you did not make is not the same as the sale you lost – If you are a bricks and mortar shop you can track how many people walked into your shop, and how many made a purchase, how many came back 24 hours later demanding a refund etc… the most important thing you could possible know is the one thing you can’t track, how many people did not walk into your fucking shop, and why they didn’t
Is it a business or a hobby – I see this all the fucking time, people buy a pub and treat it like their own front room and alienate everyone they don’t personally like… and wonder why business is bad and takings are down, I can fill a pub and keep all the staff working flat out from opening to closing and fill the till, and I will SECRETLY despise 99.99% of the customers who fill the till, and SECRETLY never want to be seen dead in such a bar, much less drink there, but, if it is a business, filling the till comes 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, you get the idea… “I wanna open a biker / gastro / wine / theme pub” you’re screwed before you start.. see above, the sale you didn’t make…
Opportunities don’t grow on trees – there are not always opportunities, for you as an individual, where you are, forget all the marketing bullshit, the reality for 99% of people for 99% of their adult lives is shit is NOT going to land in their lap… if opportunities come along they will always come with a price, and it is a price that will have to be paid IN FULL, not one fucking cent short and not one fucking second late, ever, now you got a choice, take the opportunity or have a social life, have a v8, have a Harley, have a live in girlfriend, have sex, have Friday nights out with the lads, it’s fucking either or time. Can’t have both, not even a little bit of one, all or nothing.
Everything changes – what was true for your business last week may not be true this week, I cannot even begin to list the things that I have done that made a profit, however small, back when they were done, and for which there is simply no possible way to make a profit doing them today, because stuff changed… If you can’t change or too much of your business relies on stuff not changing much, you’re doomed.
Be a realist – it doesn’t matter how much you want something to be so, most of the time it isn’t, and there is nothing you can do to make it so, you have to be a realist, and that means being callous in the extreme, OK, so you lost one kid down the mine, meh, you have 6 other kids and the wife is still fertile, no big deal.
As far as small business ownership goes, it’s a tough one, it’s probably like being an artist used to be, you ain’t in it for the money, because there ain’t much, you’re in it because you can’t be an employee… and that shit comes true too, prospective employers who know you have run your own business do NOT want to employ you, so you better be able to completely omit that shit from your employment history… oh yeah, I was an employee of the black sea bubble company, here’s my reference, written by you, as you were the only employee and founder, but you don’t mention that shit…
There is NOTHING in that shit above that does not apply to me today, as a single guy, MGTOW, and an employee #1,736 of acme corp
Feel free to add / critique / ridicule etc in the comments.