The idea for this list came from a list Chase Jarvis made for Creatives, which was a variation of a list Guy Kawasaki made titled What I Learned From Steve Jobs.
Here is what I believe when it comes to running a small painting business:
1. There is no substitute for craftsmanship. Be wary of jobs where craftsmanship is not valued. Quality work should be non-negotiable.
2. Work begets work. Not busy enough? Get out there and add value somehow. The easiest way to find work is to be busy working. Too busy doing jobs you hate for people you don't like? Stop doing that, otherwise you will get more of it.
3. Profit is a proportional bi-product of the value you create.
4. Profit is what is left after you have been paid and all job expenses settled.
5. Your product is trust. That is all you are selling. 'Can I trust this person in my home?' 'Do I trust that this person knows what he is doing?' Does your offer convey trustworthiness?
6. People buy from people they know and like. That is why referrals are pure gold. That is why it is critical that you spend enough time with prospective clients on their turf, listening carefully.
7. First impressions matter.
8. It's good to be different. You don't have to look like everyone else. Be novel, memorable. Too many business people strive to be a little bit better than all the competition. That is difficult to maintain. It's easier to be different. Specializing is a way to differentiate.
9. You are not your target customer. Your pricing should make you uncomfortable.
10. Finishing is more important than starting. Starting can be difficult but finishing is special. What you do last is remembered first.
11. Over-delivering and exceeding expectations makes you memorable.