Last week I sent an email to the email list (you should subscribe, by the way). I was talking about Basic advice and how important it is that, from time to time, someone reminds you how important it is to focus on the basics. My definition of basic advice is this: advice that’s really easy to understand, without too much explanation.
Chris, one of the people on our list, asked for more examples of basic advice.
What a great idea, I thought. Why don’t I make a list, while I’m at it and update it whenever I have more advice?
By the way, you can help. If you have more suggestions, make a comment below and I’ll add it to the list, along with your name. I’ll also add your link, if it’s not what I consider to be a spammy site :D
So, without further ado and in no specific order, here is the
MEGA LIST OF BASIC ADVICE (BUSINESS AND PERSONAL)
Initially, I was gonna do just a business advice list, but I was thinking of more and more personal advice, so I added that to the list as well. This means that the list is split in two: Business and Personal. Scroll down for the “Personal” section.
Business Basic Advice
1. Watch your costs
Most of the business go down because they spend too much.
2. Don’t hire too fast
Hiring creates lots of complexity in the business and it tries to sort a problem by throwing more resources at it. Most of the times it doesn’t work
3. Fire fast
Once you decided to fire someone, do it fast. Don’t postpone it, because it impacts your entire company/team.
4. Get a lawyer as fast as possible
Someone needs to read all those contracts and make sure they’re ok.
5. Get an accountant as fast as possible
The easiest way to break the law is by not paying taxes. Don’t fall into that.
6. Don’t send an email when angry
Write the email as draft. Wait 24 hours. If you feel the same, send it. If not, rephrase it. Anger rarely solves anything.
7. Raise more money than you need
There are lots of potential pitfalls on the way. If you raise money, try to raise at least 20-30% more than you think you need.
8. Raise money before you need to
Raising money takes a long time. Start raising money at least 9-12 months before you estimate you will run out of money. I would start 18 months before, frankly.
9. Read books about your industry
I’m biased here, since The CEO Library is about reading books. Still, I think that long form puts some things into perspective a lot better than articles online. No matter how many articles you read, nothing will make you feel the pain of firing people as much as The Hard Thing about Hard Things will make you feel. If you want to know how to read more, here’s a really good article on our site about it (Cristina, my cofounder at The CEO Library, wrote it).
10. Grind every day
Most businesses just need to survive to be successful. Do your work everyday, even if it’s boring during some days.
11. Don’t break the law
You really can’t run a legitimate business from jail.
12. Follow-up on email after every call or meeting
It took me a little bit of time to get into this habit, but following up on email after every call or meeting you have is the essential. This gives you a “paper trail” of the discussion and lets all people involved remember what you talked about. Also, if someone forgets something, there’s always someone to point that out.
If you have more suggestions for business basic advice, please add it in the comment section below.
Personal Basic Advice
13. Wash your hands
Really. You know how many people I see leaving toilets without washing their hands? Now, that I told you, you will never NOT see it.
Sometimes, that’s all you need to go through the day. One breath at a time.
15. Don’t send a message when angry
Really, don’t. If you are angry with someone and want to clear the air, talk face to face. Or at least on the phone. It will give you some time and it’s a lot more difficult to say stupid things face to face or on the phone.
16. Clean your living place
Really, clean your place. I’m not saying you should be Monica from Friends, a cleaning freak, but don’t keep weeks old food on the sofa.
17. Read books
I feel that long form reading activates parts of your brain you don’t normally use. Especially fiction. I imagine so many things when I read Science Fiction, I dream entire worlds after that.
18. Exercise/Go out and walk
I’m not the best in keeping up with this, but I still walk as much as I can. The best life I’ve lived was when I was working out constantly.
19. Get some sunlight
Really. Go out and take a walk. Get some distance from your life for a bit.
I’ve been sleeping 7-8 hours a night in the last few months and I’m seeing such a big change in energy and productivity. Cristina wrote a while back about sleep in our newsletter, so give it a read here.
21. Eat well
I need to remind myself this every day. I’ve been eating really bad food lately and I can feel it in the level of energy I have in the 1-2 hours after eating. Eating well improves your well being and productivity.
22. Don’t stop learning
Read new things, find interesting courses, watch videos, go to physical courses. Never stop learning.
23. Do things in moderation
Even the good things can be too much and they can lead to burnout if you overdo them.
If you have more suggestions for personal basic advice, please add it in the comment section below.