We can be sure about death and taxes but when it comes to success in business, there is a lot of uncertainty. While there are many books and articles on the topic of business success, the best advice comes from those who tried, failed, got back up, learned from their actions and are still around to tell their story.

Inspired by Dan the Man at nextThursday these are his curated list of fundamental principles for business success:

If you can’t beat them, join them. We like to compare our business with that of our fiercest competitor. We can continue to work hard to beat them or we can: study their methods, mimic them and beat them at their own game. Alternatively, we can join forces and partner with them to become a mega force in the market.

If you get stuck, ask “what else could this be?”  As Albert Einstein famously quoted, Doing the same things over and over will not lead to a different result.  Feeling stuck can lead to the blame game, worry and business inertia! Learn to let things go and not dwell on the past. Learn a new mantra: always move forward

It’s not a comparison test, or a race to the finish. Your business is your vision, your passion, your livelihood, so run your own race and do it well. While it can be helpful to get a second opinion and advice from time to time, remember advice is just that – you can take it or leave it.

Different is better than better.  Anyone can say that their product or service is better. Knowing your point of difference is to know your “why?”.  Do this by creating an 30 second elevator pitch that is unique to you and your business

Don’t die wondering. Trying something new can be so liberating. Never be afraid to break out of your comfort zone. Having a bit of a risk appetite can be healthy for a business seeking to be more innovative.

80% live – progress over perfection – If we waited for the perfect solution or the perfect job we would not get too far in business or life. Problem solve according to the Pareto principle: 80% of business success is achieved from 20% of clients or services.  This is where you focus business efforts

Hire slow, fire fast. Hire and fire, by design. While it can be tempting to quickly replace a vacated position your business will not fall in a heap if the position is not immediately filled. Use vacancies as opportunities to reflect: why the individual left; should we have hired them in the first place; is a like-for-like replacement needed; what can be done differently. On the flip side, do not procrastinate when it comes time to let someone go. People who do not fit the culture or are not the right skill fit will impact team morale and productivity more than anything else.

Your gut is wiser than your head, or heart… but listen to them all before your EGO. While our ego is worn like a suit of armour to maintain our competitive edge and protect our identity and self-esteem, it can cloud judgement. Keep the ego in check and listen to your inner voice of reason and intuition.

Put your oxygen mask on first.  You are not much use to your business and your teams if you aren’t mentally fit and able to lead through periods of change and uncertainty. Be kind to yourself because life is not a dress rehearsal.

(inspired by Dan Adler @nextThursday)