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24 Rules by Which to Live and Prosper in Business

By SueCanyon | August 11, 2007

GoDaddy has been my website host for more than two years. They do an excellent job of providing the services I need, develop new services, the products work well, and the customer service is very good. While I was on hold with them a couple of days ago, I noticed a button on their main site that led me to a blog written by the owner of GoDaddy, Bob Parsons. In it he shares his 16 rules for success in business and in life. In them, he has captured the essence of entrepreneurship.

I offer his 16 and eight of my own here to you. While my teachings naturally embrace much of his popular guidance, you’ll also find in my work references to these eight more personal rules that have helped me and my clients over the years. Enjoy.

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone. I believe that not much happens of any significance when we’re in our comfort zone. I hear people say, “But I’m concerned about security.” My response to that is simple: “Security is for cadavers.”

2. Never give up. Almost nothing works the first time it’s attempted. Just because what you’re doing does not seem to be working, doesn’t mean it won’t work. It just means that it might not work the way you’re doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn’t have an opportunity.

3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think. There’s an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be. Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of “undefined consequences.” My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, “Well, Robert, if it doesn’t work, they can’t eat you.”

5. Focus on what you want to have happen. Remember that old saying, “As you think, so shall you be.”

6. Take things a day at a time. No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don’t look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.

7. Always be moving forward. Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.

8. Be quick to decide. Remember what General George S. Patton said: “A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

9. Measure everything of significance. I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate. If you want to uncover problems you don’t know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven’t examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.

11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.

12. Never let anybody push you around. In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you’re doing as anyone else, provided that what you’re doing is legal.

13. Never expect life to be fair. Life isn’t fair. You make your own breaks. You’ll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).

14. Solve your own problems. You’ll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you’ll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: “You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others.” There’s also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: “A wise man keeps his own counsel.”

15. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

16. There’s always a reason to smile. Find it. After all, you’re really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: “We’re not here for a long time; we’re here for a good time.”
                                        – Bob Parsons

I particularly support his numbers 5 and 9, in the Profit Power Lessons and I teach you how to do both. The following are my eight additional rules which have served well the businesses I have been involved with over the years.

1. Tell the truth. It’s hard to tell the truth in this world where it seems as if everyone lies, and we have ‘good’ reasons for it… to spare someone’s feelings, to reduce judgment, to keep the peace… And because we all believe that everyone lies, it’s difficult to see it when someone does tell the truth… so why bother? If you always tell the truth, then eventually people will begin to notice that you can be depended upon, and that’s one thing people are looking for at every turn. Once you can be depended upon, the world will land at your feet.

2. Love everyone. This speaks for itself.

3. Leave other people and their things alone. This sounds like it has to do with theft, but I think it also has to do with gossip and people’s private lives.

4. Do what you say you’re going to do. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just get someone to do what they said they would? If you were an example of that behavior, it would be so much easier to see it in others.

5. Become an expert in a new subject every two years. Exploring a subject deeply, rather than remaining on the surface of things will earn you a reputation as an expert… you’ll become the go-to person. This allows you to earn ‘influence power’, which is much more valuable than the ‘given power’ of being an owner or a manager.

6. Help those who ask for help. People who aren’t asking for help don’t generally want it and you’ll be wasting your precious efforts. But those who ask for help tend to be willing and open to receive new information. Your business will grow commensurate with the amount of energy you put into feeding these sponges.

7. Ask the right questions and seek the right answers. Many times, just a little more thought about what the question ought to be, will give you a much higher quality answer. Then, spend a little more time looking for the right answer as opposed to acting upon the first answer, and you will save a great deal of time in solving your business issues.

8. Remember: Everyone’s trying to get by the best they can. This is the most difficult, and a most important concept I have to share with you. Many frustrated business owners think that their employees or vendors are purposely trying to sabotage the business. W. Edwards Deming, a man who has been called ‘the Father of Quality’, says that 95% of the problems you have with people are problems with the system within which you make them work.” People want to do their best, but if your systems hinder that effort, or if you haven’t really told them what you expect, then the problem is not theirs, it lies with you.

                                          -Sue Canyon

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