As another class graduates from high school, we marvel at how they’ve mastered twelve years of learning. But if holding onto a dozen years of knowledge sounds tough to you too, just remember a dozen of these business basics, courtesy of NFTE Founder Steve Mariotti .
1) The importance of mental and physical health: Your network and the community are crucial to your success, but the most important client you will ever have is yourself. Eat right, sleep, exercise, and build strong ties with friends, family and community.
2) The joy of business and opportunity recognition: Train your mind to see opportunities in any obstacle. With this drive, thousands of young people have made their families proud, built good communities, gone to college, and escaped poverty via entrepreneurship.
3) The economics of one unit: Before getting carried away thinking of how you’ll make millions, concentrate on selling one product or one hour of service to make a profit.
4) The laws of supply and demand: The most important economic concept to know is that the forces of supply and demand interact in a free market economy to determine prices.
5) Don’t compete, CREATE a comparative advantage: How will you beat your competition? What’s your edge in business? How can you CREATE a winning business model with an advantage?
6) Wealth creation: Wealth is created by combining opportunity with ownership, so build a business that has a profit and can be sold for a multiple of earnings.
7) Marketing; putting yourself in the customer’s shoes: You can learn so much about someone’s needs if you put yourself in their shoes by asking good questions and really LISTENING.
8) Leadership and giving back: Every great business leader is aware of her community and looks to satisfy the need. Philanthropy is good business, and if you are known as someone who cares about your community, more people will want to do business with you.
9) Financial statements (ROI and breakeven): Giving time, energy and money to your business is an investment, because hopefully someday your business will earn more than you put into it. And breakeven is important because it tells you whether or not you can afford your marketing plan.
10) The basic sales call: View selling as teaching. By identifying the customer needs, you can educate the customer on the benefits of the product or service.
11) How to write a business plan: As the old adage goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Putting your visions and dreams into writing will improve your chances of success.
12) The rule of 72: If you take the percentage of interest you receive on an investment and divide that number by 72, you will know how many years it will take to double your investment. This is key to wealth creation and learning to start investing early.
And with that, congratulations to the Class of 2010!