Some basic principles never change and here are the 4 most important business principles Don Draper applies, which will always be valid for a successful business:
1. Appoint the right team players and use their strengths collectively. That is exactly what Don Draper did – he balanced his weaknesses with the strengths of his co-workers.
2. Remain as flexible as possible. Keep your monthly overheads and expenses as low and flexible as possible. If you need extra employees, rather appoint them on a contract basis and retain only your core staff members on a full-time basis
3. Use the opportunity when it arises. Too often we procrastinate instead of implementing an idea with vigour the moment it occurs. It is like the well-known saying – if you snooze, you lose.
4. Be different and do not be afraid to take well calculated risks. Clients love new approaches and fresh ideas.
On the other hand, there are also a few things we can learn from Don Draper as he provides us with excellent examples of what not to do:
1. Never put your eggs in one basket. If you rely on only a few customers you are short-sighted. You need to grow your business potential constantly with a variety of customers.
2. Appoint a diverse group of co-workers with different ideas and allow them to develop as your business grows. The market place change and so is our customers. That is why you need a team that can develop even quicker.
3. Never get into partnerships or joint ventures with people you cannot trust. This is vital for your success.
4. Rather be conservative than flamboyant. Think of your offices for example – you can have very comfortable offices without paying an enormous amount of monthly rental. After all it is quality of your work and your ethics that impress your client, not the size or shape of your conference table.
When we start out a new business venture or a new idea, how many times do we tend to think that we need to change the basic rules? We need to think more like Don Draper, despite the fact that he is running a successful business in the 1960 era; a lot of the principles applied by him is still valid today and will remain valid in future. One thing is for sure, despite all his mistakes as a fictional character, he is very successful in business.