I am currently reading Martha Stewart’s The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Build, or Manage a Business, and for anyone thinking of starting a business, or if you dream of one day running your own enterprise – this is a must-read. To be honest, as someone who doesn’t cook, knit, garden or entertain (wow that sounds so sad); Martha was never someone I gave much attention to. After reading this book, though, she may be my new business mentor. Like myself, she started off as a model – tried her hand in a bunch of different things (including real estate) until finally finding her passion in a small catering business that she managed to grow into a multi million dollar omnimedia company today.
She proves that your “Big Idea” can really be found anywhere, and if it’s something that excites and even scares you, then it’s worth exploring. The book has so many valuable pieces of advice, but I thought I would share her 10 rules which are inspirational and incredibly valuable.
Martha’s 10 rules for starting a successful business:
1. Build your business success around something that you love – something that is inherently and endlessly interesting to you.
2. Focus your attention and creativity on basic things, things that people need and want. Then look for ways to enlarge, improve and enhance your big idea.
3. Create a business plan that allows you to stay true to your big idea but helps you focus on the details. Then remain flexible enough to zoom in our out on the vital aspects of your enterprise as your business grows.
4. Teach so you can learn: By sharing your knowledge about your product or service with your customers, you create a deep connection that will help you learn how best to build and manage your business.
5. Use smart, cost-effective promotional techniques that will arrest the eye, tug at the heart, and convey what is unique and special about your business or service.
6. Quality should be placed at the top of your list of priorities, and it should remain there. Quality is something you should strive for in every decision, every day.
7. Build an A team. Seek out and hire employees who are brimming with talent, energy, integrity, optimism and generosity. Search for advisors and partners who complement your skills and understand your ideals.
8. When faced with a business challenge, evaluate or assess the situation, gather the good things in sight, abandon the bad, clear your mind, and move on. Focus on the positive. Stay in control, and never panic.
9. In business, there’s a difference between a risk and a chance. A well calculated risk may very well end up as an investment in your business. A careless chance can cause it to crumble. And when an opportunity presents itself, never assume it will be your last.
10. Make it beautiful. Listen intently, learn new things every day, be willing to innovate, and become an authority your customers will trust. As an entrepreneur you will find great joy and satisfaction in making your customers’ lives easier, more meaningful, and more beautiful
This was simply a recap, but pick up the book if you’re in need of some guidance from a woman who obviously knows a thing or two about being an innovator and highly successful entrepreneur. And gardener. And cook. And prisoner. She’s just amazing. Thank you for being you, Martha.