‘The Rules of Business’ Every Jeweler Should Follow

The Rules of Business provides commentary on basic business principles, covering critical areas like innovation, communication, marketing and advertising, sales, management and leadership, corporate culture, customer service, teamwork, growth, strategy, and ethics. It interweaves historic quotes, insights, and anecdotes from more than 200 of the best minds in business, including Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Tom Peters, Peter Drucker, Jeff Bezos, Sam Walton, and Walt Disney—along with people like Adam Smith and Machiavelli.

Here are a few summarized takeaways from the book, put in context for independent jewelers:

On change:The Rules of Business argues that the more successful a company, the more difficult it is to change, because successful companies often grow complacent and conservative and don’t want to tamper with proven strategies. According to the book, the way to effect lasting, positive change in your jewelry store is to build the right team; develop a strong vision of where you want to go; get buy-in from your “troops”; empower your people to put the vision into action; create a list of short-term, achievable goals that will motivate your people to reach the ultimate destination; stand tall in the face of setbacks; and make sure the changes you have enacted stick.

“The most effective way to manage change is to create it.”—Peter Drucker, business guru

On communication: Be clear and concise in your message; deliver it with conviction and passion; tell the truth; employ repetition to make sure the message sticks; and set the example by backing up your words with action.

“Every leader needs to clearly explain the top three things the organization is working on. If you can’t, you can’t lead well.”—Jeffrey Immelt, chairman/CEO, General Electric

On marketing: Jewelers should spend most of their time and effort marketing to, and nurturing relationships with, their best customers: After all, you already have a relationship with them; they tend to be less price-sensitive to your products; and they’ll be more willing to try a new product you have. Also go after add-on and follow-up sales.

“Selling is not about peddling a product. It’s about wrapping that product in a service—and selling both the product and service as an experience.”—Marilyn Carlson Nelson, president/CEO, Carlson Companies Inc.

On customer service: Give customers what they want, treat employees well (unhappy employees won’t provide good service), reward employees for taking care of customers, empower employees to make customer service decisions, and make service a leadership priority from the top down.

“The biggest challenge facing companies in the 21st century is to differentiate themselves from everyone else. How do you create that kind of following? For one thing, by treating customers well. Simple politeness has become a lost art—especially in the fast-paced fashion industry.”—Andy and Kate Spade, co-founders, Kate Spade