My personal philosophy’s
- Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself
- Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself
- When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world
- Never do anything just for the money
- Don’t purse business just for your own gain. Only answer the calls for help
- Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what’s not working
- Your business plan is moot. You don’t know what people really want until you start doing it
- Starting with no money is an advantage. You don’t need money to start helping people
- You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people
- Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business
- The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy
Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers
- Make every decision – even decision about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone – according to what’s best for your customers.
- If you’re ever unsure what to prioritize, just ask your customers the open-ended question, “How can I best help you now?” Then focus on satisfying those requests.
- None of your customers will ask you to turn your attention to expanding. They want you to keep your attention focused on them.
Ideas are worth nothing unless they are executed
- They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.
- Idea Value
- Awful Idea = -1
- Weak Idea = 1
- So-So Idea = 5
- Good Idea = 10
- Great Idea = 15
- Brilliant Idea = 20
- Execution Value
- No Execution = $1
- Weak Execution = $1000
- So-So Execution = $10,000
- Good Execution = $100,000
- Great Execution = $1,000,000
- Brilliant Execution = $10,000,000
- To make a business, you need to multiply the two.
- The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20.
- The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.
- That’s why I don’t want to hear people’s ideas.
- I’m not interested until I see their execution.
Proudly exclude people
- It’s a big world. You can loudly leave out 99 percent of it.
- Have the confidence to know that when your target 1 percent hears you excluding the other 99 percent, the people in that 1 percent will come to you because you’ve shown how much you value them
Don’t punish everyone for one person’s mistake
- As a business owner, when you get screwed over by someone, you might be tempted to make a big grand policy that you think will prevent you from ever getting screwed over again
- “All violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”
- “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason”
- “No loitering. Restroom for customers only”
The most successful email I ever wrote
The automated email that let customers know when the CD was actually shipped was “Your order has shipped today. Please let us know if it doesn’t arrive. Thank you for your business”
I rewrote it to be:
Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make sure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved ‘Bon Voyage!’ to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Sunday, December 11th.
I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year”. We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!
Thank you once again,
Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
It’s often the tiny details that really thrill people enough to make them tell all their friends about you.
Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business
- Being self-employed feels like freedom until you realize that if you take time off, your business crumbles.
- To be a true business owner, make sure you could leave for a year, and when you came back, your business would be doing better than when you left