These principles were first published in poster form in 1983 as The Ten Commandments of Managing a Young, Growing Business.
The story behind the poster has been published here and here.

The Ten Timeless Principles

Managing a Successful Business

I. Think Straight

Maintain a detached point of view.
Reduce stress with exercise, eating right, breathing, meditation, and rest.
Think big, start small. Think, Plan, Do, Repeat.

II. Travel Light

Minimize the number of founders, investors, board members, and executives
to those who can agree on, and contribute to, the goals of the business.
Terminal conflict is likely when key people disagree.

III. The Customer is King

Define the business in terms of Who buys What, and Why.
Create incentives to attract the most profitable customers.
Create products and services that are easy to buy and use. Remove the risk of buying.

IV. Write It Down

Execute the written Plan that shows Who does What, by When.
Unwritten intentions result in uncertain communication and unreliable execution.
Focused execution delivers results. Do it, Document it, Delegate it.

V. Hire Experience

Recruit people with records of success at doing what needs to be done.
Hire in harmony with the culture and goals defined by The Plan.
Always be recruiting. Hire slow; fire fast.

VI. Motivate

Reward superior performance.
Define the minimum results for each team member; pay more to get more.
Create systems for success. People don't fail, systems fail.

VII. Conserve Energy

Focus resources on achieving two or three specific objectives at a time.
With limited resources, focus on market Positioning.
Prioritize. Use Leverage. Work on the business, not in the business.

VIII. Let There Be Cash

Keep cash and credit available for the unexpected.
Survival is determined daily by the cash account, not the financial statement.
Sales solve all problems.

IX. Be Not Greedy

Expand methodically from a profitable base toward a balanced business.
Sequential growth over time is the wise path to success.
Make managing a competitive advantage.

X. Test

Improve continuously.
Measure and learn from every action. Accelerate the Feedback Loop.
Do good now, make it better later.

Michael McCafferty
Advisor to Entrepreneurs

© Copyright 1983, 2013 - all rights reserved

Last updated April 23, 2014. This is the terse version. Click here for the Classic version

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