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No Rules
by: Dave Balch
For an interesting experiment, I suggest that you go to any local
event where there are a number of different small businesses
exhibiting or selling their wares. A swap meet would be a good
example, or a street sale, or a local fair. When you are there,
observe the different styles of the businesses.

Some people put their merchandise on a table and then just sit
there and wait for the customers to come. Others arrange
everything "just so" with colorful table coverings, plants, and
other decorations to create an inviting look. They put up signs
that describe who they are and what they offer, and then they
greet the passersby with a friendly smile. Then there are the
outrageous ones who dress-up in costumes, have loud music blaring
from behind the tables, or try to entice customers with
entertainers. The variety of approaches to accomplish
essentially the same goal is fascinating.

But, as usual, there is a lesson here: there are no rules about
how to conduct your business. Sure, there are some basic things
you should do, but the key word here is "should". For example,
it's simply common sense to treat your customers with respect,
but even that can be ignored as in the case of a restaurant that
I know where the big attraction is that the servers are rude to
their guests! Insults are the "special of the day", and believe
me they let 'em fly! It's a successful business, too. Go

Since we're talking about rules, let me clarify one thing: there
are definitely rules to follow as stipulated by the management of
the event. If they say that you can't have loud music, then you
can't. If they say that you have to stay within your assigned
booth when doing business, then you do. I just returned from
sharing a booth at a book fair. Some of the people in the booth
chose to ignore that particular rule, and they evicted us! They
actually came on the morning of the second day and moved all of
our materials into the street so that new occupants could move
in! It was unreal, and it was done in a rude, arrogant, and
unprofessional manner (but that's another article!).

The point is this: don't worry about the "right" way to do your
business, but rather worry about what works! Just because others
in your field do things a certain way doesn't mean that you have
to as well. I think it's important to stand out from the crowd,
so don't be shy! I walked around that book fair (which drew
75,000 people the first day) in a bright white terrycloth
bathrobe with a sign proclaiming myself as "The Stay-at-Home
CEO"! Do you think that other authors were doing that, or
anything remotely like it?

We have a local tourist-oriented magazine and it carries a number
of advertisements from real-estate professionals. One particular
page caught my attention because there were at least a dozen
business-card-size ads that were virtually identical except for
the photos. I was astonished. What is it that would cause a
reader to pick one particular agent out of the crowd?

So, write your own rules. They are the only ones that matter.

"Make More Money and Have More Fun" with your small
business! Dave will show you how with his FREE newsletter,
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