Chris Jenkins News editor

Chris works from BRW's Sydney newsroom. He has previously written and edited in print and online for titles including The Australian Financial Review and The Australian.

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How conventional wisdom can kill your business

Published 20 December 2012 17:29, Updated 21 December 2012 11:57

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How conventional wisdom can kill your business

Some laws are carved in stone, but in business, not so much. Charlton Heston plays Moses in the 1956 epic The Ten Commandments

There are some “rules” of doing business that have been around so long they might as well be written on stone tablets.

But while treated as universal, not all of them apply to every business in every situation.

Over on American Express Co’s Open Forum blog, author Mike Michalowicz argues there are five of these apparently immutable rules that could bring your business undone if followed blindly.

1. The customer is always right

Not necessarily. There are some customers you don’t want and that aren’t good fit for your business and what it provides. You’re better off politely sending them elsewhere.

2. Probation periods

Is putting someone on three months’ probation the best way to get them fired up to show your business what they can do?

3. Promote top performers

Not everyone who is great at their job is going to be a great manager. Think about people’s skills and their value to the business before moving them up the ladder.

4. Focus on the bottom line

Yes, profit is obviously crucial, but it’s not the only measure of business success. A company can have an impact well beyond its profit, so don’t forget to include these factors in your definition of success.

5. Experience is everything

Again, not necessarily. Experience looks great on paper, but sometimes things like energy and attitude are more important, and frankly, harder to teach.

There’s a neat infographic summarising these points here.