Every semester I give the same closing lecture in my entrepreneurship class at FIU. Basically it is a combination of course summary and practical advice learned over my 35 years of business. I call it "10 Rules for Success".
- All problems start with strategy. Every problem should be evaluated for its most far reaching consequences, which typically makes it a strategy issue; this approach also helps to avoid treating a symptom instead of a problem
- Focus on the core business. Be slow to diversify into new businesses or lines of business; critical competencies are usually more narrowily focused than you think
- Constantly be trying to improve your business. When you become complacent the problems start
- Trust employees and build good control systems. This approach reduces the likelihood of micro-management, which is the biggest cause of slow growth
- Hire 1 qualified person instead of 3 cheap ones. Good people are self-motivated, more productive and require less supervision
- Invest in people and IT--not boats. Keep the money in the business and invest it in your people, IT and cash reserves; luxury goods are of no help to the business when times get tough
- IT is always a competitive advantage. If IT systems give you a competitive advantage, do not worry about return on investment; good CEOs always have a profound understanding of IT
- Good accounting is invaluable. The management information system is only as good as the accounting information; hire the best internal accountants you can afford
- Ethical behavior is the best practice. If you have to be unethical for your business to survive, you are not running the business very well; if you can not tell your mother about a decision, it's a bad decision.
- Don't run out of cash!!!
Tomorrow I will post on my closing advice to my young students.