When I first got into this business, my focus was on solving the problems of the people that called. I would say, “No problem,” and get it fixed ASAP.
But as time went on and I became very busy, I began to try to get them to wait on me by getting them to sympathize with my problems in getting there in a timely fashion. I talked about too many of the things going on in my life that were negative.
As I was talking one day, I could tell by the man’s face that he really did not want to hear all that. As I thought about what I was doing, I realized that my focus had dramatically changed from being a problem solver to being a problem teller.
People are looking for problem solvers. They’re not concerned with your problems. They just want their problems fixed. If you have too many problems, they will find somebody who doesn’t have so many.
So that’s how Rule #6 came about.
Rule#6 Don’t tell people about your problems!
Your business will do better!
Rule# 12 Never work for just one company or client.
My boys were in Boy Scouts several years ago and the Scout Master at the time was an attorney. He had worked for the same company for about 20 years and had no private practice. He had a nice home, a son in college, but when the oil company made some cuts, he was out of a job. Since he had never developed a private practice, he was in bad shape. He finally went to work for another attorney in the troop that had his own law firm.
It is never good as a contractor to only work for one company or client. They can really put your feet to the fire at times to get lower prices, their own houses done cheaply or their jobs done for free.
I worked for an acquaintance one time that had just had a new home built by a large builder. She told me that all the contractors on her home told her that they had just built their foreman a new home with free labor. They either did his home for free or found another job. What could they do? He was their only client.
I have been offered large jobs in the past that may take a year or so. First, they want it done at a cheaper price because of the volume of the work and the job security it offers. Then they want to be your only client. I have always turned those deals down. What happens at the end of the work? I would have no business left to go back to. All my clients will have found other contractors, and I will have to start from scratch building a business.
They may decide in six months they want the price even cheaper. They have you over a barrel. They are your only source of income.
What if they decide in six months that Bob can do it even cheaper? They will drop you in a heartbeat.
Trading your freedom of running your own business for the security of work every day is not worth the risk.
# 24 Don’t stir the pot.
This can cover many different areas.
I used to tell builders things that I saw wrong with their houses that might cause them trouble down the road. I found they usually took that as criticism. Now I will tell them if the house is on fire but that is about it.
I used to try to help people get their jobs done under the warranty they had. That required many phone calls to set it up. I found that the some of the people I had to contact in order to accomplish this did not appreciate it. As we could not turn in the warranty job ourselves, it required several calls to find out if the responsible entity had turned the job in for the people. I quit stirring the warranty pot also.
Not stirring the pot is a good principle to live by in your work and in everyday life. The more you ponder it and watch the better you will understand.
# 25 Keep how much you make to yourself.
This is a great rule. Each business has its own list of expenses and financial duties and benefits that most outside that business will not understand.
Years ago my mother saw a milk check (proceeds from a dairy farm for the milk they sold that week) that came into my aunt’s books. Mother said, “Boy, I would like to have that for a week.” My aunt said, “It looks like a lot, but if you saw the bills I have to pay, it would not seem like very much.”
People will not understand how your business is set up and perhaps what all is involved in the price you set. So it is best to just keep what you make to yourself.
# 41 Keep Your Integrity.
Integrity is a most valuable asset you can have as a business person. Integrity says you can be trusted: trusted to tell the truth in situations – trusted to do what is right.
But integrity is often sacrificed on the altar of money.
I have a book that I look at often that has things I pray about in it. At the top of the page is list of priorities for life that I learned from Jim Rohn (a self development speaker). It is a very good way of ordering the priorities of your life.
Many people put their career in the number one position. That would have to do with the making of money. If you do this, you will sacrifice your relationship with God, your health, your relationship with your family and your integrity for the sake of your career or in other words, money.
God should always come first. Then should come the taking care of your health. Without health you are no good to your family or your career.
Family should come next and always before your career. Then comes your integrity. If you sacrifice your integrity for the sake of your career, you may lose your career also.
You may be tempted to lie to benefit a builder or plumber, etc. But once they know you lie, can they ever really rely on your telling the truth in any other situation? If they really need an honest assessment, they will have to ask someone else. Because they know you cannot be trusted.
I have lost accounts and friends because I would not change the facts to benefit them. But if that is what they required for them to be my friend or for me to keep their business, is that what I want to build my life on? My answer is always the same. NO. Keep your integrity. It is worth far more than money or position or more jobs.
I was analyzing a job for a hotel one time and told them what they should do. One partner said to the other, “They told me you may not like what he tells you, but he will tell you the truth.” That is the reputation that you want.
In the long haul, having great integrity and being a person that can be trusted will pay great dividends. Always Keep Your Integrity.
- Proverbs 14:24 The wise accumulate wisdom; fools get stupider by the day. (The Message)
- Proverbs 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
Accumulating rules that govern life are all part of The Prosperous Life.