Small(s) Business Advice
I was 14 when I heard “Juicy” on the radio and nothing was the same afterwards. I did ‘let my tape rock, til my tape popped’ and spent hours trying to fix it because I couldn’t afford to buy a new one.
Well, technically, I couldn’t afford the first one 🏴☠️.
Something about his drive to make a better life spoke to me. The world may be against you, it may set up barriers for you, but if you want it badly enough, if you’re willing to put it all on the line, you can do something great. Nothing makes an immigrant feel seen like finding that kind of clarity, that kind of focus. To have a single guiding star to all the chaos and uncertainty you’re facing, and to have that come through in a song?
That’s life changing.
I recently revisited Biggie’s work. And while ‘a lotta things done changed’, one song jumped out and made me think about The Work and business in general.
And that song is the ‘The Ten Crack Commandments’.
I. Never let no one know how much dough you hold.
The ecosystem of the entrepreneur has two major species: those who spend on themselves and those who spend on their company. The latter preys on the former.
II. Never let ’em know your next move.
If you have a five year plan, have it where your competition can see it. But keep your daily, weekly, and monthly plans to yourself.
III. Never trust nobody.
The most untrustworthy thing to hear is ‘trust me’. It’s not ‘trust, but verify’. It’s ‘delegate, then verify’.
IV. Never get high on your own supply.
Your business will supply you with two things: money and power. They are transient things that belong to the business and not you. Do not forget that.
V. Never sell no crack where you rest at.
Trying to squeeze money out of everyone and everything you see is a short game. And if all you care about it short term gains, the long term consequences will crush you.
VI. That goddamn credit, dead it.
Extending credit to untested customers is a sure way to fail. Defaulting on credit extended to you is also a sure way to fail. Stop thinking in terms of what you can get (credit) and start thinking about what you can make (profit).
VII. Keep your family and business completely separated.
We treat our family differently when it comes to money. So, unless everyone in your company is family, don’t mix and match.
VIII. Never keep no weight on you!
Your business needs you to work on it, not in it. Minimize your hands-on involvement at all costs.
IX. If you ain’t gettin’ bagged, stay the fuck from police.
Your team, your vendors, your customers, are all paying attention to your actions, remembering how you treated them, and those around you. Your reputation will precede you.
X. Consignment strictly for live men, not for freshmen.
Until your business is stable and profitable on it’s own, any debt you take on is an anchor around your neck and a drag on your business. And now that the Fed reserve rate is above zero, that anchor is heavier now than its been in 20-ish years.
Maybe Biggie wasn’t as important to you. Maybe he was too new or too old. But I would suggest that you have a similar album or song from your formative years that had that kind of impact.
Take a minute to go back and listen to it. Reread an old book that shaped you. Rewatch a movie that changed you. You’ll find that time, and how it changes perspective, makes all the difference.
“And the sky is the limit. You know that you can have what you want, and be what you want.”