My # 1 Business Rule

There are a lot of business rules out there…some better than others. Some worth following, others worth ignoring. But there’s one single rule that trumps them all. This is the # 1 rule I use in my work and it has never failed me. I use it to assess new business opportunities, working with customers or vendors and even with potential employees.

Want to know what this rule is? Well, here you go:

If it starts hard, it ends hard.

Let me give you a few examples what I mean. For instance, a large government entity in California wanted to buy our SAP training solutions. They asked us to fill out a million forms (not kidding, it really felt like a million forms), made us register for an online vendor management system, provide insurance indemnification letters and much more. And then they finally placed their order for $600 worth of our training and demanded that we print and snail-mail the invoice we just emailed.
If it starts hard, it ends hard.

Want another example? OK, here you go: a major Fortune 500 company wanted to purchase SAP training from us and demanded that we reduce our minimum order quantity, extend our payment terms and allow them to pay the invoice in 2 installments. All this for a fairly small deal (in fact, I think they spend more money on ketchup packages in their cafeteria than they spent on this deal).
If it starts hard, it ends hard.

Need more proof that this is the # 1 business rule to follow? No problem. We received an application to one of our open job postings. The candidate had a good resume with the experience we were looking for…but he was almost impossible to get a hold of to schedule an interview. First, the emails to him bounced. Then his voice mail was full. When we finally were able to set a date and time he rescheduled the interview in the last minute. And then he didn’t even show up at all for the rescheduled interview!
If it starts hard, it ends hard.

I could go on and on with examples like this but I’d much rather hear from you. Do you have similar experiences? What are the rules you follow? Please add your comments below.

And, as always, thank you for sharing this post!

Thomas Michael

Thomas Michael is the CEO of the Michael Management Corporation, the leading provider of award-winning online SAP training. He keeps 3 lists: his New Year’s resolutions, ideas to make businesses run better and the best happy hour bars in Manhattan.

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