#1. Pay a fair price: Some people say watch the pennies and the pounds look after themselves. Whilst I agree that monitoring business expenses is important, I don’t believe that pushing suppliers into the ground is in your best interest. Not only could you use this negotiation time to meet new clients and make more money, you should also want your suppliers to be successful.
#2. Define success: Everybody talks about success like they know what ‘success’ is. I am always looking to align myself with suppliers, clients, staff and business partners so we all share the same vision of success. I hear many people talk about a: ‘Successful Exit’, but when I ask what this is, they say something very generic like “Errr I don’t know… Maybe 1-5 million in value”. What is even more alarming is when you ask their business partner and they have a completely different number. Defining success, will mean you are really able to focus on the goal of making everyone successful.
#3. Be as accountable for failure as you would be for success: I truly believe that you can’t accept the credit, if you won’t accept the blame. I see this so much in sales people. When we win a deal we say it was because of our strategy and how well we presented, but when we lose the deal we say it was due to market conditions, the time of the year or anything else that shifts the attention away from us. Just say “I lost the deal and it’s my fault”. This may be due to the market conditions, but it admits that you didn’t take that into account when making your proposal.
#4. Don’t always be looking to make ‘a cut’. As you progress through your business life, there will be opportunities to make ‘a cut’ here and there. This could be that a client needs design services and you have a friend you could sub-contract it out to. Unless you are a design agency, then just pass on the lead and introduce two people who can do business together. Focus on what you do and you will make money. Spend your life looking to skim others and it’s likely you will lose focus.
#5. Maintain integrity: In order for long term success, you need to play the long game. Without building credibility and integrity, you will struggle to see long term success. People need to remember that you were the person who did what they said they would do, and not the person who just said yes in order to ‘get the business’. A huge amount of the business I have done over the years is from recommendation. People won’t recommend people easily as they won’t want things to come back on then if things don’t work out.
#5.5. Get a cat: There will be times where you just need someone to listen without them giving an opinion. Cats are best for this in my experience!