“Do what you love,” Apple founder Steve Jobs so famously and rightly said, and I am thankful that I can live by that. Business is awash with supposed pillars of wisdom. Some make perfect sense but others, I’ve come to realise, just don’t stack up…
1. Nice guys come last
The business world has happily changed. Fair play, humility and respect will get you everywhere, as long as they’re mixed with things like passion, knowledge and hard work. Civilised, ethical business is what it’s all about now.
2. There’s no place for emotion in business
Most buying decisions are made on a more emotional than rational basis. Successfully connecting with others at a personal level – whether colleagues, other businesses, or customers – is critical.
3. Working smart is better than working hard.
You have to do both.
4. Failure is not an option
Yes it is. I’ve failed many, many times but as I’m still here I can tell you that feeling the fear and doing it anyway is the way to break new ground, tackle the toughest problems and improve one’s expertise. And, of course, if we ask our teams to work in fear of failure, they do not do the best job
1. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
I love the application of Darwin’s quote to business because it makes success an option for anyone who is willing to be adaptive and inventive.
2. If you build it, they will come.
Adapted from the 1989 movie Field Of Dreams, I often hear this from successful entrepreneurs. For me, it’s an elegant expression of the idea that sometimes one must have faith that people will want what you’ve made for them, even if they don’t know it yet. Henry Ford’s statement, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” teaches me the same lesson.
3. That which is measured improves.
As much as I believe in instinct, I know that hard facts are among the greatest drivers of success. Gather and interrogate business data of every kind – sales patterns, customer surveys or market trends – and act on it.
4. Cash is king.
Always, always, always. It is the master of opportunity, freedom and survival.
What are your business maxims? Tweet me @SophieVCornish or @StylistMagazine to let me know.