Business Rules of Thumb Wiki

I’ve launched a new project: Business Rules of Thumb — it’s a public wiki to track useful rules of thumb from negotiation to marketing to presentations to PR. Please contribute rules of thumb to the wiki! The password is: "thumb".

Some of the content is taken with permission from Seth Godin‘s and Chip Conley’s 1987 book Business Rules of Thumb (now out of print).

Below are some Editor’s Picks from the existing collection. Let’s make this the largest repository of business rules of thumb on the web!

If you don’t like what you’re hearing, respond with a question, even if it’s no more than "Why are you saying that?" – Mark McCormack

Successful negotiations are 70% preparation, 20% implementation, and 10% acting. – Robert Olson

In dealing with community groups, you must allow the groups to have a pound of flesh in the first meeting (let them shit all over you). Once they have voiced their anger they’ll be more trusting. – Kirk Hanson

Stratify suppliers into those that: a) must be paid currently, b) accept late payment occassionally, c) take late payment as a matter of informal policy. – James Wicker

An entrepreneur is somebody who steals office supplies from home and brings them into work. – Auren Hoffman

Before going into a partnership with someone, spend time with them in three different kinds of situations: a relaxing one, a competitive one, and an intellectually stimulating one. – Joan Kelly

Sprinkle your sales letters or presentations with references to your subject’s first name. – Mell Holloway

If you’re only there to sell one thing, make a suggestion or assumption and let them tell you you’re wrong. People have a need to feel smarter than you are. – Mark McCormack

"Career Networking" events are filled with people you don’t want in your network. – Ben Casnocha

People don’t steal ideas. Ideas are cheap. Implementation makes the difference. – Seth Godin

The two worst things to say to a creative person: 1. That’s been done before. 2. That’s never been done before. – Seth Godin

Rather than telling an associate, "You look good in that suit," tell the person, "That suit looks good on you." – Dale Carneigie

If you’re interested in obtaining something from someone else, always preface your request with "I have a favor to ask you" as people hate turning down favors. – N. Bruce Ashwill

The best way to find good ideas is to let people tell you what the good ideas are. – Niel Robertson

The biggest impediment to creativity is self-censorship for coherence or perceived intelligence by others. – Ben Casnocha

Give everyone a title. Nothing pleases mankind as much and costs as little. Give everyone their own coffee cup. – Jerry Favretto

A bad reference is as hard to find as a good employee. – Robert Half

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. – Guy Kawasaki

Exercising during the lunch hour makes your afternoon twice as productive. – Grant McLaren

The success of a chief executive officer is directly proportional to the length of time he has worked with his executive secretary. – Chip Conley

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