Dale Carnegie is a name that anyone who’s ever been in sales should know.
His books, lectures, and courses have been in the canon of essentials for all kinds of business people for decades.
As a small business owner you may not even realise that, whether you’re busy managing a small fleet of employees, or selling your service or goods directly to clients, Carnegie’s tips can help a multitude of different scenarios for small businesses.
Here are some of the stand-out classics…
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”
This is one of Carnegie’s most well-known quotes. It can be applied to the need to handle employees a certain way – making sure that, should you need to offer criticism, you do so in a way that recognises the employee as an individual and not a cog in the machine.
It can also be applied to how you sell your product or service to potential customers. Logically, what you’re selling may be exactly what people need, but you may not see many sales if you can’t find an emotional draw to take advantage of.
“Any fool can criticise, condemn, and complain, but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
This is a particularly important quote to keep in mind, when dealing with employees or contractors. When those who work for you make mistakes, you can continue to foster a positive environment by trying to understand what happened, instead of attacking.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Being both interested and interesting is a trait that will draw people to you consistently, whether they are a colleague, a client, or an apprentice.
Learning about your client base can help you adapt your business’ product or service to serve them better. Showing interest in your colleagues can be what allows you to get something tangible out of networking events. Finally, investing interest in those who work for you will make you a more engaged and respected boss.
“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”
This may come as a shocking reminder, if you consider your business to be successful already. If that’s the case, and you’re not having much fun doing it, can you really consider yourself to be that successful?
After all, booming sales doesn’t always equate to happiness or satisfaction in any CEO. Perhaps an adjustment to your schedule, or a change in your company’s direction, might find you heading toward the type of fun that will lead to true success.
“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
This tip is key to any small business owner, no matter where they are at in their journey.
Failure can happen at any point in your career, and the most important part is getting back up and learning from what just happened. If you can embrace failure early on, you will find yourself better equipped to deal with challenging situations later, than someone who had nothing but success in the beginning.
Dale Carnegie was incredibly successful at what he did because he had insight into the human condition, and used that insight to help sales and business people become more empathetic. That empathy, in turn, made them easier to work for, and better at relating to those they did business with. And that’s something every small business owner could benefit from.