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Benjamin Franklin Business Advice

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These rules were written by Benjamin Franklin in the mid 1700s as a guide for good business practice…

  1. Endeavor to be perfect in the calling you are engaged in; and to be assiduous in every part there of: INDUSTRY being the natural means of acquiring WEALTH, HONOR, and REPUTATION.
  2. Lay a good foundation in regard to principle. Be sure not to overreach or deceive your neighbor, but keep always in your eye the golden rule of DOING AS YOU WOULD BE DONE BY.
  3. Be strict in discharging all legal debts. Do not evade your creditors by any shuffling arts, in giving notes under your hand, only to deter payment; but if you have it in your power, discharge all debts when they become due. Above all, when you are straitened for want of money, be cautious of taking it up at high interest. This has been the ruin of many; therefore endeavor to avoid it.
  4. Endeavor to be as much in your shop or warehouse, or in whatever place your business properly lies, as you possibly can.  Leave it not to servants to transact; for customers will not regard them.
  5. Be complaisant to the MEANEST as well as to the greatest. You are as much obliged to use good manners for a farthing as a pounds the on demands it from you as well as the other.
  6. Be not talkative, but speak as much as is necessary to recommend your goods, and always observe to keep within the rules of decency and truth.
  7.  Take great care in keeping your accounts well. Enter everything necessary in your books with neatness and exactness; often state your accounts, and examine whether you gain or lose, and carefully survey your stock, and inspect every particular of your affairs.
  8. Take care, as much as you can, whom you trust.  Neither take nor give long credit; but at the farthest, annually settle your accounts. Deal, if it lies in your power, for ready money.  This method you will find most profitable in the end. Endeavor to keep a proper assortment in your way, but not overstock yourself.  Make your business your pleasure, and other entertainments will appear necessary only for relaxation from it.
  9. Strive to maintain a fair character in the world; that will be the best means for advancing your credit, gaining you the most flourishing trade, and enlarging your fortune. Condescend to no mean action, but add a luster to trade by keeping up to the principles of justice and Christian morality.

How would we be different today if these were put into practice in our business?

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