What's the top three rules every entrepreneur should follow?

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1. Be passionate about what you are doing
2. Set priorities
3. Set expectations

On being passionate, you need to choose a product or service you are passionate about. Being an entrepreneur is hard and requires long hours, as well as a strong emotional commitment. It's hard not to get burned out quickly, so you need to at least being really passionate about what you are doing to persevere through the tough times.

On setting priorities, you should set daily, weekly and then longer term priorities. You will need to adjust along the way, but there are so many "urgent" things every day, that if you don't set priorities, you will never get to the important strategic things that will take your business to the next level. Also, there is no structure imposed on you as an entrepreneur, you need to create structure. Otherwise, you'll get through a day and wonder why it wasn't as productive as you needed it to be.

On setting expectations, most likely, you're business is not going to be an overnight hit. Starting and running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. While working hard and moving fast is often very important, you also need some balance. If you sprint too hard in the beginning you will get burned out quickly.

And to throw in a number 4...remember to have some fun!


1. Be honest with customers
2. Be honest with employees
3. Be honest with YOURSELF!


I like to think of it as a mindset rather than rules. The mindset I've found most valuable as an entrepreneur is:

"Assume that everything you do is a learning opportunity, but that the lesson may not be the one that you want or intend to learn." David B. Peterson and Mary Dee Hicks


Know your purpose
Know your values
Get the right people on board
Make sure that everyone in your business is aligned to your purpose, vision and values


1. Focus - on your value proposition
2. Focus - focus on your message
3. Focus - focus on being persistent


1. First...innovate a way to expand 3 rules into 9 (see below):
a. adopt an innovative mindset
b. practice innovative thinking and behavior
c. use your own, and others', feedback to ensure you remain innovative.
2. Get in touch with your own, and others', values -- they drive everything, ultimately
a. Become a reflective thinker: connect your mind with your heart.
b. Empathize: learn/practice understanding the values, needs, feelings of others
c. Remain conscious of these as frequently as possible, and re-focus often.
3. Become a meta-manager of your own self and progress
a. Independence: Pursue and build your orientation of self-efficacy
b. Equilibrium: Remain balanced between/among the (too) many challenges you'll face
c. Perseverance: Never give up on your original commitment to purpose and mission

Ok...so I "cheated" (a.k.a. innovated a way around the rules).


Besides what's already been posted by Phil, Nevil and Mary-Alice, I would add
- consistency
- client/vendor relationship
- self-confidence

Consistency goes for how you present yourself, your business, your product/service. Be consistent with the product/service quality, as well as brand messaging.
Whether you are still searching for clients or have a waiting list, threat them all with respect and as they are your most important client. Well, obviously if one client spends $10,000 on your service/product and the other one $40, you will naturally make some difference. But what I find it very likable and personal is a follow up (especially after meeting with someone new), sending out personalized note (for a birthday or some other special occasion), those little things that set you apart.
- it all starts and ends with self-confidence and your mindset. You have to believe in yourself and your product/service before you can expect anyone else to do so.


Integrity is #1 #2 & #3

If you really want to succeed I can not express this stronger, everything will come back to bite you if you don’t

Of course there a a hundred other things after those.

David Chalk


• Never let one customer give you more than 25% of your business volume.
• When you set prices for your services (your time), remember that is is very difficult, even impossible, to increase your pricing with a long time customer; plan ahead and be firm.
• It is the client that you make the least margin with that will require from you the most unbillable time; people who pay full price tend to respect your time and it becomes a pleasure to give them complimentary hours, here and there, to show your appreciation of the value of the relationship.


Here are mine:
Always do what you say you will (meet deadlines, follow through on promises, be reliable and dependable)
Be honest in all dealings
Own your mistakes - accept that the future is yours as was the past and that all problems are reflective of your shortcomings because you can only affect your own behaviours.


Hi Jen ~

This piece I wrote for a client's blog focuses on how clarifying your life purpose informs every aspect of your work: http://www.reversefortunes.com/reverse-mortgage-news/your-business-purpose-sales-training


Hey Jen,

I would challenge that the question isn't specific enough and that the top 3 rules will vary based on the type of entrepreneur in question and the specific mission they aim to achieve.

A serial entrepreneur will view business and it's risks very different from someone who simply wants to create a consistent income for himself and his family.

However, If I had to pick 3 foundational things i'd choose...

1. Why - get really clear about why and confirm that you have no internal conflict about it. A man who is not in conflict with himself cannot be stopped.

2. Count the costs and be certain you and anyone else involved are willing to pay whatever price is asked along the way. Accept that it will cost you 2, 3, 10, 50 times more than you can calculate in the beginning.

3. Identify your targets and keep your eye locked on them as you put one foot in front of the next day after day trusting that you will find the resources you need to navigate the obstacles and barriers you will encounter along the way.

3.5 Pray

Very fine words Les! And a daily prayer definitely helps. I know...

Paul DeCouto


- Think Different
- Stick to your goals
- Don't worry, things will work out eventually after banging your head against a few walls.. (because you are able to see the negatives and face them which makes you stronger and wiser)


1. Think Big
2. Start Small
3. Do It Fast


You must have fun in what you are doing
Integrity in work
Your employees must think what you think


1. Be honest with yourself, understand your limitations- and fill the gaps with the right people.
2. Listen more
3. Failure is another word for education. Don't let your education go to waste, learn from it.


1. make a WRITTEN business plan, with a solid VISION (modify details of the business plan as you go along, keep the vision)
2. ask yourself if you have PASSION (if no, abort!)
3. implement with FIRE in your belly!


1. Take risks and don't be afraid to fail. Entrepreneurs must make lots of mistakes to learn and discover new approaches, opportunities, or business models.
2. Don't go at it alone. Find one or more partners in whom you believe. Your partner(s) will help you get through the tough times, offer advice, and help you celebrate the little wins. Also, new partners add new ideas to the mix.
3. Embrace your passion and don't lose determination. Entrepreneurship is 10% idea and 90% execution. Those who devote themselves fully and consistently to their new business idea to move it forward are already ahead of most other entrepreneurs.

Good advice all around, Rob. in many ways points out how open minded and multi-disciplined an entrepreneur must be.


1) Know what you don't know
2) Be willing to find the person/resource that does
3) Give credit where credit is due

Joseph--I offered my own 3 "rules," but also agree that yours are right on target!



Just one rule, as my grandfather once told me:

"Do what you gotta do."

If you are a true entrepreneur you'll know what to do, and find out what you need to know to do it.


Learn to say NO, Don't run out of cash, Don't reinvent the wheel just change the spokes


Entrepreneurs just don't play the game, they win!

Stay true to yourself ;)


Research everything know your strengths and weaknesses.
Never ever ever give up. Find a way around or over an obstacle.
Less Hype the better


1. Have a mentor or seasoned business advisor (someone who knows your particular business, or knowledge thereof and can provide value added insight)

2. Strong fiscal discipline. Watch every penny, as it is finite and goes quickly

3. Invest in some type of advertising (be economical, but learn to promote yourself through networking (such as BNI), social media, and, of course, spheres of influence.


Jen, I wrote a blog post some time ago that talk about the competencies of entrepreneurs vs small business owners that might be insightful...



I can only think of one rule: Don't have rules. They are useless and get in the way.


"1. Have fun
2. learn something every day
3. dream big." from Gary Mann my best friend's husband

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