Are There Rules In Business?

John, not his real name, broke the rules.  You see, John is 82 years old and he decided to start a business.  It gets even better as John started a technology business.  Everyone he knew, friends and family, told him he should be retiring and not becoming an entrepreneur.  John broke the rules.  By the time he was 85, John’s business was grossing over $1M.

John Broke a Rule

Sarah, not her real name, broke the rules.  Sarah was a single Mom, 32 years old and possessing a High School Diploma with a few college classes. She needed to be home for her young children but Child Support and her part-time minimum wage job were not enough.  Sarah started her own e-Commerce business working when the kids were in school and sleeping. Everyone she knew, friends and family, told her she should be focusing on raising her kids and not becoming an entrepreneur.   In just 2 short years, Sarah had created an $850K a year business from her kitchen table.

Sarah Broke a Rule

Some say rules are meant to be followed while others say they are meant to be broken.  Many success focused books have been written about “The first thing you do is break all of the rules.”  That overreaching statement could easily be a disaster waiting to happen; but, if you are a little more selective about what rules you choose to ignore, you may well be building significant success.

Let us start simply…there are no rules.  Oh, certainly there are laws and regulations.  I am not suggesting those don’t matter, as much as sometimes in our frustration we may want some of them to go away.  There are two so-called “Rules” above.  People of retirement age, or older, should not start a business, and, Single Mothers of Young Children should not start a business.  Those both are true stories, they are people I either know or have worked with.  They demonstrate one consistency, perhaps even consistent enough to be a rule; People who take risks are the ones who succeed. Or maybe that old fashioned rule, necessity is the mother of invention.

Starting a business is a risk.  According to Forbes Magazine in a 2015 article titled interestingly 90% of Startups Fail 9 out of 10 startups fail for over 20 different reasons (found through a link in the article itself).  Someone might interpret that as a rule – don’t start a business.  However, that would be a rule that impedes any business owner, any business founder, from being successful.  What that “rule” is telling us is simple; Make sure you know what you want, that a market exists for what you want to do and that you accept you do not know everything and need to learn.  That learning includes you ignore nothing.

John and Sarah both followed those two rules; have a marketable product or idea and ignore nothing by accepting I do not know everything.  They sought help, they asked questions, they learned and they monitored everything important in their business.   One is no more important than the other, both are equally important.

The answer to the question, “Are There Rules In Business?” is a resounding yes.  There are rules, but not as many as we would think.  Besides the two above, Have a Marketable Product and Ignore Nothing, there are a couple more:

  1. You don’t need an advanced education to be a successful business owner.
  2. You don’t need people who tell you that you will not be successful.
  3. You do need access to reality and real information.
  4. Owning a Business is not a 9-5 Job.
  5. You don’t know everything.

Don’t Break These Rules

It is not uncommon for small business startups to begin with a single founder.  It is also not uncommon for single founder businesses to fail.  Finding a partner, a trusted advisor, Mentor or Professionally Certified Coach is a rule that can help you build and sustain your business.  Find those individuals you like, respect, and trust to help you become successful.

Yes, some rules should be broken.  Rules that restrict or limit you, your potential or your dreams are rules that should be looked at for breaking.  A tactic I use with my Coaching Clients may help you; I borrowed it from my youngest son when he was 2.  The tactic is to ask “Why?”  Why do I have to do it this way?  Why can’t I do it that way?  The answers will help steer you toward your goal.   So go break some rules…after all, it’s a rule.