Business tips from the mini-book Brilliant At The Basics of Business 100, by designer and teacher Nicholas Bate of Oxford-based Strategic Edge.

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Don't try to accommodate every customer. The more you do, the more you can potentially dilute your initial strength that people loved you for. Sure, it's a balance; just keep it tipped the correct way.

Building a better business is certainly about giving the customer what we want e.g. the plumber who tidies up after his/her work. But it's also about giving the customer what he/she didn't realise they needed e.g. a text telling of the exact arrival time at your home to start work.

Don't use email for anything that needs the expression of emotion unless you have the skills of a Mills & Boon novelist. No: see them face-to-face or pick up the phone.

Your corporate culture is not something that can be 'rolled out'; it is the sum of what individuals do on a day-to-day basis. And understanding why they do what they do.

Notice how the small stuff can really wind you up when you're in a line for a coffee or dealing with your bank. Does your business do that to its customers?

More important than great offices, a cool logo and a function spreadsheet is a sustainable, differentiated, profitable idea on which to build your business.

Yes it does matter. Many people really do mind that 'customer parking' has no spaces, that reception has last month's business magazines, and that the account manager had an indifferent attitude.

Never talk negatively about a team member who is not present. Talk to him or her.

Everybody sells. Everybody talks value, everybody dissolves resistance to purchase, and everybody spots sales opportunities. Sure, there are some in the business (salespeople) for whom it is their final and number one accountability. But everybody sells.

Why do you want to be big? Quite. You really want to be profitable. Which may or may not correlate with size.

Make price the smallest issue. The one which is just a simple question — and how much is this/and what are your fees? — not a big debate nor negotiation. How? Through talking and illustrating and referencing the tremendous measurable value and benefit they will get when they become one of your customers.

Brilliant At The Basics of Business

These business tips were excerpted from the mini-book Brilliant At The Basics of Business 100, by author, designer, and teacher Nicholas Bate of Oxford-based Strategic Edge.

Read the full 100 business tips in this free PDF (70kb).