So you’ve set up in business. Now what? Well depending on your personality, you will either cut your own path or you will run yourself ragged following all the rules and regulations that are out there. More than likely you will fall somewhere in between those two ranges, like most business owners.
- I’m a believer that the boundaries, guidelines, etiquette or rules are very stretchable and not at all rigid.
- It is often by breaking them that we learn just which ones are only guidelines and which are rigid.
- We all change as we learn and develop new skills and it is with that learning that we also push past the boundaries we originally found ourselves in.
Sometimes those boundaries are simply our attitude to things instead of actions. Although, major change only occurs when our attitude changes and it leads to behavioural changes.
Take Nelson Mandela; forty years ago he was considered a terrorist, now he is considered a world leader. It took pushing the boundaries of our thinking and to do it collectively for the change to come about. It was a fairly slow process as he spent twenty six years in prison.
Breaking the rules is OK
Now take business guides, etiquette, rules and regulations. How rigidly do you stick to those rules and how many of them do you break and for what reason? I’m not advocating breaking the law in anything, simply pushing the boundaries on what others say is and is not okay.
- For some there is a dress code that must be stuck to,
- A managerial hierarchy that has just always been that way
- A customer service code that other companies have always used.
Stepping outside them can be a frightening prospect, especially if you are new to self-employment and everyone else is following those rules. Yet entrepreneurs are known for risk taking, trying new things that others only dream they had thought of first.
They often break well established rules in a bid to go the extra mile because they can see past the rules to the possibilities instead of the punishments for breaking them. At first they are considered mavericks, risk-takers and in the past they were to be observed but not copied (until it was well established that what they did worked).
- Richard Branson is well respected worldwide for doing it his own way.
- Seth Godin spoke his mind and has a huge following,
- Gary Vanyerchuk went against the established way of doing things and people flock to watch his TV station daily.
While we can struggle to maintain the boundaries or etiquettes of the various norms, it can be a worrying path to travel. The worry of the consequences of breaking one of them can be a burden for some business owners. For some staying within those boundaries is very comforting, for others it can be stifling.
Have there been times when breaking guidelines or etiquette have helped your business? Is there a particular guideline or etiquette that you would not break even if it would help your business?