1. Business is personal. It is all about relationships and feelings. My parents not only made friends for life from all walks of life at their shop – they fostered loyal customers whose business they could depend on. Offering superior products and services at competitive prices is still only half the battle. When you make the experience pleasurable for all concerned, you will have repeat business.
2. Your lifestyle and livelihood should be compatible. Making friends of customers and suppliers makes doing business so much more fun. What greater gift is there than loving what you do?
3. Your word is a contract. A piece of paper cannot instill trust in people, but developing a track record of looking people in the eye and meaning what you say can.
4. Treat every person with respect and dignity. If you cannot respect someone, doing business with him or her is a mistake that will haunt you later. Even beggars deserve to be treated respectfully, but beware of people who flaunt their wealth.
5. Take pride in what you do. A job worth doing is worth doing in the best way possible. Budget can be a factor but there are solutions for every budget.
6. Enhance your product by selling your professional services. In my parents’ case, they encouraged customers to recycle their existing wardrobe by consulting with them on how to mix and match what they already had, while adding new accessories. In the media world we can integrate the existing materials of our customers along with new ingredients and a fresh approach. There is no use in trying to sell ice to an Eskimo, but finding creative ways for them to use that ice, compliment that ice and care for that ice is a valuable service.
7. Be a matchmaker. Introduce your customers to each other as much as possible. Fostering new relationships, makes your connections to those people even more valuable.
8. The Golden Rule (no explanation necessary).