Small Business Talk For Coaches

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Does Your Business Play by the Rules?

Show Notes

Rules are meant to be broken is a very odd saying but is it a good practice to live by?

There are rules and rules.

Some rules should never be broken; they are there to keep you safe and the world in order. Like road rules. Imagine what would have happen if everyone suddenly stopped obeying the road rule, it would be a disaster. Unfortunately, when people do stop obeying the road rules – especially sticking to the speed limit then that is often when accident happen and people get killed.

Does Your Business Play by the Rules?

There are some rules that your business depending should follow, some that can be broken or bent and others that can be reassessed, looked at or even changed completely.

Think of an accounting rule. Sales – expenses = profit this has been how it’s been done forever, it is ingrained it has become a rule. Unfortunately, a lot of small businesses following this rule never make a profit or the profit is very small. Mike Michalowicz from Profit First said enough is enough and turned this rule on it its head. Mike said why not try,

Profit + Expenses = Sales

It is a similar equation yet a big mind shift that has now made many of the same It small business from above profitable. Think about the profit you want to make, the cost involved to make that profit and then that is the amount of sales dollars that you need to be bringing in each week, month, year

Breaking the Rules

Other rules that can be bend or broken might be industry rules. Everyone in your industry does it a certain way, that doesn’t mean you have to too.

Great innovations have come from business owners bucking the system and not following the industry rules such as:

  • Netflix changing the way we buy our movies and TV series
  • Spotify changing the way we listen to music
  • Amazon changing how we buy products.

What rules does your business follow just because it has always been done that way?

Ask yourself why you do things in your business and is there a better, cheaper, smarter way of doing things.

With everyone being aware of the harmful effects of all the waste plastics that the world now has takeaway/takeout food supplier are changing their rules for the better and introducing more environmentally friendly packaging, containers and reusing practices. A few years ago, that would have been against the rules.

Redefining the Rules

Sometimes, you need to look at redefining your industry rules, the way things are done.

The inventor of Velcro took his idea from nature when he saw a bur being caught up in animal hair. He saw a way for a non-sticky application that would hold things together that could then be applied, broken/unstuck and then reapplied over and over.

Look outside your industry and see what rules, common practices that are being used and whether they could be applied to your business/industry to make you stand out above the crowd.

Remember your customers might not know your internal industry rules, what might seem common place to you might be total unknown to them.

In the web design industry, we have issues with customers supplying photos/images and videos that they often don’t own the copyright or of have permission to use.

“We just got them from the internet.”

“Downloaded them from Google.”

What they don’t realise is that they are breaking the copyright laws and could be charged fines for doing so. Remember to clearly define your rules so everyone knows where they stand.

Rules Not to Break

Now, there are some rules never to break. Generally, the unbreakable rules re the laws of your country and now, global laws too.

  • Copyright
  • Tax laws
  • Employee laws
  • Human Rights Laws

That sort of thing.

Can Breaking the Rules Benefit My Business?

Sometimes, breaking the rules can benefit your business as we have talked about some examples in this podcast.

 “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” Picasso said

You need to know the rules, the foundation or your business and then you can do some reinventing if needed.

Without rule breakers, we would never have had a round wheel or Uber either.

Famous Rule Breakers

Some famous rule breakers are

  • Drew Hustom from Dropbox
  • Blake Mycoskie from TOMS shoes
  • Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook
  • Elon Musk from Paypal

Drew Huston

Dropbox the product via a 3 minute video to prove his concept before even building a single thing. At the time, syncing files to a cloud platform was difficult and technically challenging. Drew wanted to be sure that people would want his product before committing money to creating it.

Blake Mycoskie

Blake started his business from this apartment with the one to one model. You buy one pair of shoes and we will help 1 child in need with a pair of shoes. This wonderful initiative started after a visit to Argentina where he saw the hardships of children growing up without shoes.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark is obviously legionary for rejecting over advertising and joint venture capital to grow fast. Later he changed the business model to include more advertising.

Elon Musk

Elon founded which later changed its name to PayPal before it was sold to EBay. After succeeding in this finance venture, Elon turned his back on it and went in a completely different direction with Space X and his electric car company Telsa

Assess the Risk

Before you get completely crazy and set your business on a collision course with rule breaking, you need to assess the risks involved.

“If it ain’t broken down, fix it”, will never allow you to innovate and move with the time. Just ask Blockbuster, Kodak, Polaroid, Pan Am and more.

Should Your Business Break the Rules?

Whether your business will do better or worse by breaking the rules, is only a question you can answer. Remember to do your research and assess the risk before making your decision. Keep a very good eye on market trend and tactics from other industries that you may be able to do to your industry. Then don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. No decision is still a decision and now always the best way to go. Assess your situation, make a decision and back yourself.

Business is hard, rewarding and one hell of a ride so hang on and go for it.

Does Your Business Play by the Rules?

1. Should your business paly by the rules? Listen to Small Business Talk Episode 52 for the full episode.

Next week, our special guests talks about “How Small Business Can Get what they Want by Asking for it”.

Does Your Business Play By The Rules

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