Rule 1: Say please and thank you
This rule is all about customer service. The business has to understand that their customer service can make them stand out and be remembered. Too often today, we get excited about receiving reasonable customer service. It’s exciting because we don’t expect outstanding customer service anymore. When we go to customer service, we assume that things are going to take longer than they should, that things aren’t going to be as good as we expect them to be, or that the people aren’t going to be friendly. It is unfortunate that that has become the normative for business today.
But if you look at businesses that charge a premium for their products and services, you will see that one of the fundamentals that they apply is world-class customer service. They know how to say please and thank you. So take the rule of business and apply it to your personal life and professional life. Please and thank you is a great start, but these words mean more than just having good customer service.
Rule 2: Be five minutes early
In application, this rule is mostly figurative. For example, if you show up to a business meeting five minutes early, you have time to gather your materials and prepare yourself so that you are in the right frame of mind before the meeting starts. If you show up five minutes late, however, you are going to be worried about disrupting the meeting and the way others perceive you because you are late. It is going to take you at least 10 minutes to recover and get into the frame of mind for the meeting. If you had been 5 minutes early, you would have been completely prepared and calm for the meeting. Those 5 minutes early will aid your preparation in all situations.
Rule 3: Finish what you start
When someone asks you to do a task, the first thing you should ask yourself is “am I going to be able to see this task through completely?” If you cannot answer that question with a “yes,” you should consider turning down that opportunity, because you need to be able to finish what you start. This is especially true of large projects.
So many people and so many businesses in this world don’t think tasks through. Instead
they get excited and get caught up in the appeal of the task. They don’t think about the energy, devotion, time, and resources that task or initiative is going to take. They start down the road and when the initial enthusiasm wears off, they abandon the project and then the mission. That abandonment is what derails businesses and people.
The best businesses don’t take on initiatives or projects that they know they can’t finish. If they start a project, they finish it. It’s that simple.
Rule 4: Keep your promises
I always tell people, “be careful what you promise.” Personally, I don’t make promises very often unless I know I can absolutely deliver because that is my integrity and reputation. The Chinese have a saying, “lose your money and you have lost nothing, lose your health and you have lost something, lose your integrity and you have lost everything.” Keeping your promises is all about integrity. When I do make promises, I keep them.
I’ve often heard the saying, “under promise, over deliver.” I think there is a good lesson in that saying, which is to not promise very much and then provide more than you have promised, but I don’t necessarily buy into that saying. I don’t believe in downplaying things. I just believe in keeping my promises. A better saying is “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” If you make a promise, no matter how big or small, make sure you can follow through with it.
Businesses and individuals that apply these 4 rules of business in every opportunity they take on tend to do very, very well.