If you haven’t heard the expression before, a cardinal rule is a fundamental rule. It’s a basic rule, and it’s an essential rule. In business, as in life, there are cardinal rules, and if you disregard them, the consequences will impact negatively on your business.
1. Social skills that impact positively on others are vital.
Like it or not, the world is divided into two groups at all times, although the membership in each group is never static. The two groups are “Us” and “Them.” It’s so entrenched in society that the tendency is to gravitate to marketing messages that clearly show who the “Us” people are, and who the “Them” people are. The cardinal rule when it comes to social skills is to hone your ability to adapt and fit in so your business can survive … and to do so without sacrificing your core values and beliefs. In refining your social skills, you should be able to travel inside the “Them” camp without alienating the “Us” camp, and vice versa.
2. The real world isn’t anything like the virtual world or the contrived world.
In books and movies and plays and songs, everything turns out exactly the way the copyright owner(s) says it will because complete control of the end result lies with the copyright owner(s). In the real world, nothing is static. Everything is constantly in motion. Again, as with social skills, learn to adapt and fit in with what reality throws at you without sacrificing your core values and beliefs.
3. Time cannot be replaced.
Don’t waste other people’s time, and don’t let other people waste your time. Once time has passed by, it cannot be recouped. Instead, make the most of the time you have, and make the most of the time you are granted by others. The closer you adhere to this rule, the more you will attract others who also respect the value of time … their own as well as yours.
4. If something sounds too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.
You’ve probably heard a parent or grandparent say something along the same lines. This cardinal rule is the corollary to the rule that says, “If it’s a good deal today, it will still be a good deal tomorrow, and if it isn’t going to be a deal tomorrow, then it wasn’t a deal today.” Do your research and check the facts with more than one source. An honest professional will urge you to do due diligence; a dishonest professional will be insulted and offended by your actions.
5. The best deals are the ones where everyone comes away a winner.
You’ve heard terms such as win-win and win-win-win. The fact of the matter is that there should be as many winners as there are partners involved in the deal. If there aren’t, that means someone didn’t come away a winner. If that’s the case, just remember that someday, you might be the one who doesn’t come away a winner. If you wouldn’t like that happening to you, then don’t let it happen to anyone else. Negotiate everything until everyone gets a slice of the pie.
6. Leveraging matters.
Yes, money matters, but leveraging matters more. Why? Because there are some situations where leveraging wields more power than money. When used effectively, leveraging is what makes the best deals where everyone comes away a winner. Don’t let the success or failure of a business idea rest solely on who has the most money to invest in the venture. Take into account the talents and skill sets that everyone brings to the project, and work from there.
7. You don’t know everything.
The good news is that nobody else knows everything either. This allows you to benefit from two important facets in business. The first is that you have an opportunity every day to learn something you didn’t know before. The second is that you don’t need to subject yourself to the pressure of knowing everything, and can surrender micromanaging your business by working cooperatively and collaboratively with other professionals.
Final Note On Cardinal Rules
Are there other important rules when it comes to doing business? Of course there are. In fact, there are some who have other cardinal rules on their list that I haven’t mentioned. Why? Because for me, these seven rules are the main rules that open up to secondary and tertiary rules.
Take some time away from your business to identify and record the cardinal rules you follow in business. Keep them in a safe place, and remember to refer to them often. Daily even. You’ll be glad you did.