Saturday, May 06, 2006

Daves 9 rules of business

Here are a few of my rules for business. Some of these don't apply to programmers but they are observations I wanted to share.

1. Business certificates can make a lot of money.
-For one they are usually gifts to people and either the receiver will not have a use for the item
or else they will loose it. I have no stats to back this up the number of unused gift certs out there must be high.
-The only issue is the cost of implemeting a gift cert program. If the costs are minimal then go for it

2. If a customer is unhappy do whatever you can to make them happy

3. If a customer wants to leave and you can not make them happy then do everything you can to get rid of them. If you drag your heals on releasing them from something then they will complain louder and louder to not only you but their friends and clients giving you a bad name.

4. If a customer is constantly unhappy or trying to devalue your service, get rid of them. Clients that are a pain cost more money and take away time from keeping your good customers and developing new ones. Also the stress applied to you and your staff from negative clients is a real downer. My rule of thumb is if you do not pick up the phone due to the number on the call display get rid of them.

5. Charge what it is worth. I have cut my prices for friends and companies that are tight on cash and have always resented it. If they want a quality project then they should pay for it. This is why the term is called cutting your own throat and it is sooo acurate.

6. The first person to a market with a new idea will always succeed. If you come in second with an idea then no one will know about you. This is why mcdonalds, IBM, coca-cola are so well know and have the best sales even though their markets are ripe with competition. I have no idea why this phenomenon occurs only that everywhere I look it seems to be true. Basically what I am saying is that if you are copying someone else you can never expect to usurp them.

7. If you are working more than 8 hours a day to make ends meet you are not charging enough. Eventually you will burn out and get behind. Start charging more. If you only get one contract at double the price of 2 you will work fewer hours and soon be able to bring on more staff.

8. Good management knows what is going on. If you have employees keep in touch with what is going on. Even more so get to know them. Have them out for a beer after work. If an employee likes there manager they will be happier, not complain about money, and have greater job satisfaction. This is a key to employee retainment.

9. Don't lie to your client to make them happy. If you tell your customer a project will be done in a week and takes a month they will be upset. If you tell them it will take two months and you have it done in a month then they will be happy they got it so early. If you tell them it will take four months and it is done in one then they will feel that you charged them for four months of work but only did one. Lies seem to compound themselves until finally you have to come clean with your client. If you tell them bad news as soon as you can they will probably be a little upset but at least aware. If you tell them their project failed because of something you discovered 6 months ago you are going to loose a client.



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