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Simple Rules are the Best Rules

What's a simple rule you can remember from your childhood? Go...

Treat others as you want to be treated.

Don't eat yellow snow.

Bedtime is at 9:00.

Stay away from "bad" kids.

The list could go on. But, the point is, they're all one sentence, easy to remember (I still remember 35 years later), easy to communicate, and simple to follow.

Simple Rules Help Us Thrive in a Complex World

I read a book on vacation called, Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World. The gist of the book can be summarized in this statement from the description on Amazon: "By developing a few simple yet effective rules, people can best even the most complex problems."

As I read through the book, I thought, "How might this apply to me and my business?" And, I immediately went to make notes in my phone related to the "simple rules" for selecting, and ultimately doing business with the best/right-fit clients.

I discussed with our team, and we came up with five simple rules that really cover it all. If we can get a YES to all these simple questions/rules, then we should be working with the right clients who need exactly what we offer, and everyone wins.

Here are our five simple rules:

Can we genuinely help?

Will the customer benefit, both short- and long-term?

Do we share similar values?

Will we both profit from the relationship?

Will a valuable partnership of at least 12 months be formed?

Can we genuinely help?

Pretty simple. Sometimes we can't help, and that's okay. The sooner we know that, the better it is for everyone involved.

Will the customer benefit, both short- and long-term?

Our focus has always been on the customer, so this is a natural "rule." Following a YES answer to #1, the next logical question is "how much can we help, and what's the benefit?"

Do we share similar values?

For me, this is huge. I, and therefore "we" as a company, have very strong values - being nice, treating people respectfully, doing your best work, being honest, etc. If these values aren't 100% clear in the prospect - if there is ANY doubt - it's a red flag and likely a deal breaker.

Will we both profit from the relationship?

We are running a business, and the goal is profit; the same is true of our clients/partners. It must be clear that not only will the client be profitable, but so must we.

Will a valuable partnership of at least 12 months be formed?

This is one that is newer to the conversation for us. Sure, we've always had several clients on "retainer" or ongoing projects; but, what we've learned is that these are our BEST clients. Not just because of the money, but because we're both vested...we both want to create success in the long run.

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