Sam Walton’s (Walmart) 10 Rules for Success are summarized in an article written by Harvey Mackay (author of Swim With the Sharks & many more). The article can be found here: http://www.success.com/article/sam-waltons-rules-for-success. The 10 rules are listed below and I’ve shifted the thinking to apply to most solo-preneurs, no matter the size of business:
1. Commit to your business – Passion is key. Whether you intend to open the world’s largest retail chain, be an international speaker/trainer, the communities most sought after caterer/chef or gain top MLM status – Passion is key.
2. Share profits with employees – You may not have employees but you can reward affiliates in different ways. It’s about building strong business relationships and sharing successes in different ways. There are dozens of ways to increase share your success with others and it doesn’t always mean giving them money! An even more important approach is to find 6-8 strong referral partners and build their success into your won. The referrals will continue to grow your business.
3.. Motivate your partners – To keep your referral partners motivated a little bit of competition can go a long way. In Mackay’s article he writes about the importance of seeking out your competition and setting goals and high standards. Imagine the power of your 6-8 referral partner team keeping an eye out on the competition for you? Work smarter not harder. This team can and will “have your back” and in addition to that, imagine the power of team goal setting and accountability with your partners. Much like an Advisory Board, each solo-preneur pushes the other to reach the next level of success.
4. Communicate – No employees? Working on your own may seem isolated at times. It doesn’t have to be. Yes, getting out and networking and being involved in your community and family can be a sanity saver; it’s not the answer to true business communication. Establish a business connection, a “go-to person”. As you would with an employee, share snippets of information about what you are doing, how it’s going and even test-drive a new idea. Another solo-preneur can appreciate how you are feeling, what the challenges might be and certainly recognize a small but meaningful success.
5. Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. In Dr. Ivan Misner’s book Business By Referral, he writes about the 18 Ways to Motivate Your Sources. While I won`t write them all here, I cover them in a workshop but here are two ways you can motivate your referral sources:
a. Volunteering – offer your assistance to a referral source`s project or assignment.
b. Recruiting – Offer a network member the opportunity to serve on your board of directors or advisory board, to make a presentation to an important group, to write an article for a key publication or to serve as a judge for a contest you are sponsoring.
6. Celebrate your successes. Refer back to #4 – celebrate each step forward with your “go-to person” or your referral sources. It’s encouraging, motivating and keeps your passion alive. Mackay writes, “find some humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously”. Certainly good advice no matter what type of business/industry you are in. Learn from those mistakes and move on.
7. Listen to everyone in your company and figure out ways to get them talking. So far I’ve written about communicating, sharing and passing along information to your referral partners. Encourage your partners to open up and share their thoughts and suggestions and what challenges them. Listen carefully with a view to helping them solve a problem, challenge or ways to celebrate their successes. If you show genuine interest in their business and success, they will do the same in return.
8. Exceed your customers’ expectations. No matter the size of your business or who your target market is, from the largest of retail changes to the smallest home office a standard rule of success remains – “deliver more than you promised”. Word-of-mouth (WOM) is at work – GOOD or BAD. It takes several more positive WOM customers to combat and overtake the negative word of mouth so exceeding expectations is critical to balance out the times when things just don’t work out as planned.
9. Control your expenses better than your competition. Can you deliver your product/service, faster, cheaper and with exceptional quality? Manage the expenses and you’ll be able to deliver more with spending less and as noted in #8, exceed client/customer expectations. This rule isn’t just for retail giants, it’s applicable to everyone.
10. Swim upstream. Last but not least, if you are like everyone else out there you will need an exception marketing plan and big budget. Swim upstream, challenge yourself, find the uniqueness in what you do and how you do it. A good example:
In BNI (Business Network International) the world’s largest referral organization, when it comes to their guest days and starting new chapters, members send out letters by mail! Really? Isn’t that a bit old-fashioned you say? In this day and age, everyone send e-invites, online marketing, social media invites and/or emails. There are apps for everything, online tracking mechanisms and a variety of technology driven ways to get people to events. BNI members write letters, hand sign them, hand write envelopes and yes – even put a real stamp on the envelope. WHY? Because this makes them different from the rest, they swim upstream. Do you open a hand addressed, stamped envelope? How many people get real mail these days? Doesn’t that make the invite just a bit more special than the email you’ve stashed in the “read later” or “circular file”?
Swim upstream. Be different.
Sam Walton’s 10-Rules to for success, summarized by Harvey Mackay, apply to everyone in business regardless of size, reach or market. It’s just a matter of adjusting how you think about and apply them.
Cindy R. Mount’s talents have helped numerous corporations, institutions, non-profits and entrepreneurial businesses become better networkers and referral partners. She is a contributing writer to the NY Times best-selling books, The Masters of Networking, and the Masters of Sales, a trainer with the Referral Institute and Managing Director with BNI Toronto. Keep following her to find out more about the soon to be released “If you are networking for prospects/clients instead of referral partners ~ “You’re Doing It Wrong”. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org