The five most important pieces of business advice I have ever received.

1. Hire slowly, fire quickly. I’m not saying I enjoy firing people, in fact it’s one of my least favourite activities but I’ve never regretted firing anyone and I’ve fired a lot of people. What I regret every time is how long it took me to take action. There is always more pain in the thought than the action. We know in our gut if a person is a good fit within the first four weeks. Trust your gut.

2. Ask for help, even if it’s humiliating. Asking for help from a competitor can be pretty humiliating but can, and most likely will, lead to success. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

3. Focus on your core capabilities and delegate everything else. I suck at many, many things. I’m really good at only a few things. The things I am good at make me happy and produce the largest return on investment. I’ve learned to delegate as much as I can, even when I can’t afford it.

4. Culture is king. It doesn’t eat strategy for breakfast as some say, but it supports a company when it is weak and all companies go through times of weakness. Spending time on creating, building and supporting a strong culture is as important as your marketing plan. Culture needs a line item in your budget.

5. Transparency wins over secrecy. Telling a customer you screwed up and you need their help in fixing the problem is not fun, but it can be very empowering. Consistently sharing with your employees exactly what is going on in your business, whether it is good or bad creates trust. Vulnerability is an attractive quality.

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