At Bare Bones Biz, we focus on business basics, the few things that will make all the difference to your success and profitability. Here’s a list of simple business tips gleaned from the smartest business people I know. I spend much of each day on the phone, talking business. On the seminar trail and onsite with clients, I meet lots of folks who love to tell me what works for them…and what NOT to do. I’d love to share this wisdom with you. So here is a collection of Do’s and Don’t’s for every area of your business.

DO read this list. DON’T neglect to do things that will make you more money!

Setting Sight! Leadership Do’s and Don’t’s…

  • DO join a trade association. Shop around first, and find one with a mission and philosophy that matches yours.
  • DO find a successful business owner with whom you don’t compete, and offer to become his or her mastermind partner. Commit to help each other improve as business people.
  • DO have a book that you are reading all the time. Alternate between classic novels, humorous fiction, and business books. So many classics are free on Kindle and iBooks!
  • DO read the autobiography of Christie Brown. It will keep you from feeling sorry for yourself.
  • DON’T miss your kid’s football game because you choose to work instead.
  • DO commit your hopes and dreams to ink and paper, or computer bytes. Keep a journal.
  • DO listen to books on tape or CD in your car.
  • DO handle the issues that keep coming up and spoiling your success. Talk to a friend or a minister. Go to the desert for forty days and forty nights.
  • DON’T lie. Even “white” lies chip away at your integrity. DO say, “Tell him I’m busy right now, and I will call him back later.”
  • DON’T say, “Tell him I am not here!”
  • DON’T look for service standards within our industry. Go to Disney World and watch how they do it.
  • DON’T imagine that you are irreplaceable. Hot Rod’s partner’s last words to me were, “If I don’t do it myself, it will never get done.” He died two days later. Things got done.
  • DO make a sale yourself every once in a while. Just to show the rest of the team that you still got it.
  • DON’T enter into a 50-50 partnership. There is no such thing.
  • DO find ten things that are going right…and congratulate the people responsible.
  • DO your best to keep your family together and communicating.

Making Money! Financial Must Do’s and Mustn’t Do’s…

  • DO understand that you are in business for the MONEY.
  • DON’T be ashamed about that.
  • DO run a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow report every WEEK! Once a month is NOT enough!
  • DON’T trust industry averages for budget and performance comparisons. If most businesses stink, and they do, what can you learn from industry averages?
  • DO base your selling price on YOUR costs of doing business.
  • DON’T pay any attention to what your competitors are charging. What do they know?
  • DON’T forget what you really sell…time and knowledge.
  • DO remember that the knowledge takes time to deliver.
  • DO create a line item in your budget for “customer satisfaction costs.” Allow 1-2% of total sales.
  • DO understand that the proper selling price is the first and most important step in making more money for yourself and your employees.
  • DON’T spend money on marketing, uniforms, new trucks, computer systems, and new employees until you have raised your prices to cover the new costs.
  • DON’T call me if you are convinced you can’t raise prices in your neighborhood.
  • DO call me if you want to discuss how to do it.
  • DO learn about real estate. 8 out of 10 self-made millionaires have significant real estate investments.
  • DON’T forget Warren Buffet’s rules for business. Rule #1: Never lose money. Rule #2: Never forget Rule #1.
  • DON’T forget that there is more than one way to make a living.

Getting it Sold! Sales and Marketing Pitfalls and Windfalls…

  • DO whatever it takes to make a customer happy, even if it means giving them all their money back. If you honestly think you are being taken advantage of, then…
  • DON’T work for that customer again.
  • DO spend more time asking questions than pitching your product.
  • DON’T make a sale if it isn’t in the best interests of the customer.
  • DON’T forget what they