I believe it was the Dalai Lama that said: “know the rules very well, so you can break them effectively.” When it comes to business, sometimes it’s the entrepreneurs that do the opposite of everyone else and forge their own paths, who end up with the most success. Many of these entrepreneurs are laughed at, mocked, and roasted at the very beginning, as others within “the circle” believe they are insane to break certain “rules.” But it was Gandhi that said: “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
1. Know the Rules So You Can Break Them
There are certain rules of business that seem universal and aren’t available for modification, such as rules regarding having good customer service, good marketing plans, along with following particular national, state, and industry regulations. But there are indeed particular “cliche” business rules that can be broken and for this article, I will go into more details on how you too can be a rule breaker.
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2. Bend Social Rules
Socializing from a business perspective would include various activities such as participating on LinkedIn, setting up a Facebook page for your business, attending business networking events, and meeting/collaborating with other business professionals who are either directly in your industry or might be involved professionally in some capacity “near” your industry.
Certain “cliché” rules of business social engagement might include giving out your business cards and providing your “elevator pitch” to the various associates, which is a quick 10 – 20 second commercial about what you do. These rules can be broken in a variety of ways, such as instead of giving out business cards, you add individuals to your LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media channels right there during the conversation. I’ve found that taking this alternative path helps individuals remember you more distinctly, due in part to the active connection addition that took place during your initial meet.
3. Toss Tradition
One of the best things about operating a business, is the creativity you are allowed to exhibit in marketing your business, managing labor, and structuring a variety of business contracts/agreements. In relation to standard operating rules, there are a variety of “cliché” rules, theories, and structures that are promoted in the business academia “bubble” that can be broken due to the creativity we are all allowed in operating our business. Most of the “cliché” rules found in many business academia textbooks are written by business professors who, themselves, have never run a business. When it comes to business, it’s true that the best lessons are taught in the field and not at the desk. As someone who has an extensive business academia background along with more than 11 years of field experience, I can certainly say that the only rules of business that matter are those from the field. The business academia rules, theories, and outlines are usually outdated. By the time a theory hits the business textbooks, many times, the general marketplace has already moved on, changed, or shifted.
4. Know When to Comply
While social and traditional business cliché rules can be broken in favor of creative approaches, the regulations and rules from the federal government, state government, and industry regulators cannot be broken without paying a price. There are a variety of regulations in existence and many business owners and politicians have argued that we should be seeking to cut regulations, rather than add them. As we close this article, here’s a list of just “some” Federal regulations and rules that America’s small businesses have to deal with, that should not be broken unless you are willing to pay fines or experience potential imprisonment:
- The Affordable Care Act Laws
- Anti-Money Laundering Laws
- Independent Contractor Laws
- CAN-SPAM Act
- Fair Labor Standards Act
- Tax Code Regulations
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Laws
- The FCC Laws
- The FTC Laws
- The Telephone Consumer Protection Act
- The Telemarketing Sales Rule
- UDAAP – Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices
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