Avoid False Promises

The most respected men and women follow through with their commitments, return favors, honor agreements, and exceed expectations. Without question, dependability is a virtue. Do not make promises you cannot keep. Breaking a promise causes more trouble than passing on the promise in the first place. Never string people along. Never say “maybe.” If you know you can or cannot, say so. If you do not know for sure, make no promises – make the facts known, do your research, and return with a definitive answer (if you have no intention of doing the research, get it out of the way and just say “no” now). Do not be afraid to say “no.” Smart people respect and value honesty over weak commitments.
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Mission Before Business, Horse Before Cart

People throw around the word “entrepreneur” like it’s a lifestyle trend. Many fancy themselves an “entrepreneur” with only the curiosity (or perhaps a lust) for building a business. Like movie or rock stars, many successful business leaders keep up a public image. Far too many people subscribe to entrepreneurship because it sounds and looks cool. Most fail to understand the real work involved.

Building a business is very hard. With very few resources at hand, you must pull everything together through favors and very long hours. If you do not truly believe in what you are building, then it will never work. You must have a mission or product you believe in first before chasing your lust for business. Not only that, but you must have a mission or product that can inspire other people to help you and customers to buy from you. That’s a tricky thing to find. Most wannabe entrepreneurs forget that the core mission or product is what it’s all about. And it must come first.

Everyone and his or her mother wants to start a business and be a boss. Nobody will care about you until you give him or her something to sink teeth into. If you cannot offer the world a product that changes lives, then you must start with a mission people can understand, sign on for, and follow to the end. You must get the team on board and excited. And to find success with your business, you must get customers on board and excited as well. As the character Proximo says in Gladiator, “Win the crowd, and you will win your freedom.”

Find your core idea, set your mission, build a product, and then build a business around it. You cannot have a business without something to be busy about.

The Economy of Favors [Film Friday]

Especially in low-budget filmmaking, favors can be essential to bringing a vision to life. Favors can help you fill missing pieces, augment talent, cover logistical needs, give you a foothold for success, and so much more. Most of all, favors can inspire long-lasting collaborations. BUT (and it’s a big BUT) – favors must be reciprocated. Promises must be returned. Or you may eventually find yourself without help. You can only last so long on false promises. Your project or company cannot sustain itself on favor poaching.As with all mutual relationships, there must be a give and take. A paycheck isn’t enough. Offer favors, accept favors, and follow through with your promises. Exchange a little, then exchange some more. Favors can make friends.

But make sure you follow through.