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  • Writer's pictureDel Chatterson

Food for thought. Are you getting any?

Food for thought

Are you getting any?

Where do you find new ideas for information and inspiration? How do you learn to be better and do better?

When I started writing business commentary and advice over fifteen years ago, that was

my objective – to provide ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs. The original objective of my website,, my articles and blog posts, and my irregular newsletter, Ideas for Entrepreneurs, was to provide that kind of food for thought.

One of the first articles I shared was: Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management.  Perhaps best known as an American statesman and scientist, Benjamin Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence, flew a kite in a lightening storm, and has his picture on the U.S. $100 bill; but he was also a very successful entrepreneur. A printer by trade, Franklin launched several businesses and introduced the concept of franchising to his printing shops in the late 1700s. He was successful enough to retire from the business at age 42.

As excerpted from the book on Franklin by Blaine McCormick, Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management,

  1. Finish better than your beginnings.

  2. All education is self education.

  3. Seek first to manage yourself, then to manage others.

  4. Influence is more important than victory.

  5. Work hard and watch your costs.

  6. Everybody wants to appear reasonable.

  7. Create your own set of values to guide your actions.

  8. Incentive is everything.

  9. Create solutions for seemingly impossible problems.

  10. Become a revolutionary for experimentation and change.

  11. Sometimes it's better to do 1001 small things right rather than only one large thing right.

  12. Deliberately cultivate your reputation and legacy.

I’m sure you’ll agree that most of Franklin’s Rules can still be applied today, but for more current advice for entrepreneurs here are some of my recommended books and a few memorable quotes:

Tom Peters

In Search of EXCELLENCE, 1982

“There is no more important trait among excellent companies than an action orientation. ... if you've got a major problem, bring the right people together and expect them to solve it.  They do, somehow, have the time." 

"Excellent companies are a vast network of informal, open communications. Forget the MBA - Masters in Business Administration – and remember the MBWA – Management By Walking Around."

Thriving on Chaos, 1987

"A well-handled problem usually breeds more customer loyalty than you had before the negative incident."

“Measure! And reward on the basis of the measures."

Henry Mintzberg


“Leadership has pushed management off the map…. Now we are overled and undermanaged.”

“Strategies are not immaculately conceived in detached offices. They are learned through tangible experiences.”    

Harvey Mackay

SWIM WITH THE SHARKS without Being Eaten Alive, 1988

"A goal is a dream with a deadline. Write it down" 

"Dig your well before you're thirsty"

"You'll always get the good news; it’s how quickly you get the bad news that really counts."


"Do what you love, love what you do and deliver more than you promise."

"You're a lot better off being scared than being bored."

Jim Collins

Built to Last, 1994

"Visionary companies almost religiously preserve their core ideology. Yet, they display a powerful drive for progress that enables them to adapt and change without compromising their cherished core ideals."

"Good enough never is. For these companies the critical question is – How can we do better tomorrow than we did today?"

From Good to Great, 2001

“Good is the enemy of great.”

“Confront the brutal facts, yet never lose faith.”

Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman

First, Break all the Rules, 1999

“The one insight that we heard echoed by tens of thousands of great managers: People don't change that much. Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough."

Seth Godin

The Bootstrapper's Bible, 2004

"In advertising... persistence is the secret to success."

"In choosing partners remember: Ringo was the luckiest Beatle... a mediocre drummer riding on the backs of three musical geniuses."

Guy Kawasaki

The ART of the START, 2004

"Build a business to make meaning (the money will follow).”

“Have a mantra, not a mission statement.”

“Advertising is what you say about yourself, PR is what other people say about you. PR is better.”

Michael Gerber The E-Myth

Gerber claims he originated the cliché: Work on your business, not in your business. But his over-worked theme is a useful reminder to develop your business organisation and processes so that it can run without you in it every day.

Bo Burlingham Small Giants

An interesting study of small eccentric companies that decided to succeed by staying small. The conclusions are a stretch to fit the hypothesis that small is better, but worth reading to remember to build your business for yourself; not to chase some dream of global grandeur.

And for weekly reading that provides different perspectives and more in-depth analysis than the daily news headlines, I recommend The Economist and Bloomberg’s Business Week.

Enjoy your reading.

Be better. Do better. 

Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

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