| By: Shawn Christopher
Investment Director for the Page Murphy Investment Group
One of the most iconic rappers of all time – The Notorious B.I.G – crafted one of the most brilliant manuscripts in Hip-Hop – “The Ten Crack Commandments.”
While listening to it, I decided to give my spin on it by applying the philosophies to business and entrepreneurship.
[T]hese TenCommandments are excellent for people getting started or people who may be deep in their trade already. Regardless, we can all learn from these timely principles so we can have mad cake to break up and not get our wigs pushed back.
Rule #1: “Never Let Know One Know How Much Dough You Hold”
If you have a competitive advantage such as a secret recipe, a special connection or network, an art style – whatever it is, never let the competition know.
In doing so, you risk your entire business and losing the thing that makes it innovative.
In business, your competitors are ruthless, and they will copy what made you so successful.
Rule #2: “Never Let Anyone Know Your Next Move”
The great Notorious B.I.G once flipped a classic BDP line saying, “Don’t you know Bad Boys move in silence?” He couldn’t be any more right. Keep your next project under wraps until it is ready to go. Automobile companies often conceal their next designs until the auto shows, while movie studios use trailers to spark your interest in an upcoming film.
Letting people know prematurely what you’ve got coming could cause interest to wane and raise expectations too high. This could hurt your marketing strategy and more. Use the element of surprise to your advantage.
Rule #3: “Never Trust Nobody”
Be very careful out there because not everyone is your friend. You do not need to be embroiled in nonsense that can take time away from being able to work or getting caught up in mental conflicts with people.
Whether it is a new crew you are rolling with or a woman you’re dating. Associate with people who have positive energy, are working towards something and want to be more. You can pick up bad habits from bad people, but you can also pick up good habits from good people as well.
Rule #4: “Never Get High On Your Own Supply”
Don’t let success get to your head, don’t let people over-hype you. Remain humble and keep working no matter what. Things can change, but adversity is the greatest test of an entrepreneur, and you MUST remain humble to face it.
Conversely, if you’re running a business, you cannot grow or make money if you’re taking out of your product and blowing money. Pay yourself first, but aim to spend what is left after investing rather than spending what is there. If you buy things you don’t need, soon enough you will have to sell those things to keep what you really need.
Rule #5: “Never Sell Crack Where You Rest At”
Simply said – do not shit where you eat. In the workplace, within your business it may be tempting. You may have an attractive new secretary or assistant working for you. Don’t bring trifling behavior where you conduct business. Doing so can hurt your reputation; cause you to lose customers or worse. Always maintain “it’s always business and never personal,” and keep it that way.
Discipline yourself and play it smart.
Rule #6: “That God Damned Credit? Dead It”
Many businesses rely on credit and loans to get started. The issue with this is you must pay interest to a lender. In this day and age, there are many ways to start a business with very small amounts of capital. Using social media for crowdfunding like Kickstarter, GoFundMe or similar websites, can be a brilliant way to raise money and avoid taking out bank loans.
There are also angel investors you can find online using sites such as gust.com, which houses one of the largest networks of angel investors. It also doesn’t hurt also to work for another company to not only make money but to learn about the industry and eventually build relationships with people for when you leave to start your own thing.
The same way students have student loans holding them back, some businesses are in over their heads in debt.
Rule #7: “Keep Your Family and Business Completely Separated”
Blood isn’t always thicker than water. The biggest problem is it makes it incredibly difficult to fire family members if things go sour. Sometimes nepotism may cause hard-working employees to jump ship where they can rise in the ranks.
In some cases, it can work very well if it’s a family business. In such a situation, it’s crucial you groom family members to understand the risks and the task at hand before they take the job. There are others within your organization working hard to thrive in your company.
As a boss, be objective when making decisions.
Rule #8: “Never Keep No Weight On You”
You can’t do everything by yourself; sometimes you have to hire others to handle certain parts of your company where you may not be very strong.
In my own business, while I’m chewing away going through annual reports and conferences with company management, my business partner is overseeing the gritty details I miss and also making sure the smaller tasks are taken care of.
If you run a business, it is great if you can do as many tasks as possible. However, delegating tasks to other people may take a significant weight off your back and give you an equally more rewarding gift – TIME. The time you can use to put towards other matters in your business.
Rule #9: “If you are not gettin’ bagged stay the away from police”
While this could rule #1, your reputation is the most valuable asset you have, and so you must guard it with your life. So much depends on it. You can influence and inspire, win battles before they start; influence valuable relationships with it, and so much more. Your reputation in a sense is your brand, your representation of what customers, clients or whoever is going to judge you based on. These days it takes five years to build a reputation, and only one tweet to destroy one.
Rule #10: “A Strong Word Called Consignment”
This is one of the best rules and fitting for #10, but it is also at times the hardest to implement. If you don’t have the clientele or cannot meet an expectation, there is nothing wrong with saying “no” and building until you can handle it.
This extends to not only business but relationships and more. Not every opportunity is for you and it’s wise to realise this and know your strengths, your limits as well and when the time is right.
Shawn Christopher is an entrepreneur and investment director for the Page Murphy Investment Group. With more than six years of experience with investments and personal finance, he is an astute businessman and a frequent columnist for financial matters in pop culture and around the world.