We all know that business owners are looking for answers to their growth concerns, not more questions. When you talk to a business owner about the Non-Negotiable Rules, they have a tendency to get a bit ‘prickly’ because entrepreneurs don’t really like rules.

The value of the NNRs are quite simply:

They help a business owner figure out what they don’t know
They help get that business owner thinking about areas of their company they hadn’t thought about before
They focus the business owners efforts on the mission critical aspects of their stage of growth
They give that business owner headlights into the future to be prepared for what’s coming
They provide a rallying point for the entire company

The facilitation of the Non-Negotiable Rules exercise during an X-Ray is where 80% of the issues you’ll be capturing, show up.

The conversations are:








It’s worth your time to help a business owner solve the Non-Negotiable Rules for their stage of growth While the X-Ray allows the business owner and his/her team to do a deep dive into their current NNRs and the two earlier stages of growth, you can also engage a business owner in a conversation centered around their NNRs.

If you are meeting with a Stage 1 business owner, here are a series of questions you can become curious about in order to 1) get a conversation going and 2) help that business owner drill down into areas that need their attention.

RULE #1: GENERATE, TRACK AND PRESERVE CASH. • Do you receive a daily report that tells you how you are doing on your company key indicators? • Do you have a simple budget and a 6 – 8 week rolling cash flow system to help you manage your company’s cash? • Are you focused on getting new customers and increasing the transaction value and the frequency of those transactions to build your top line revenue?

RULE #2: FOCUS 80% OF YOUR RESOURCES ON SELLING THE 2 – 3 OFFERINGS WITH THE BEST MARGINS. • Are you focusing 80% of your marketing, sales and customer service resources on your 3 top offerings? • Are you tracking your production output? • Do you know what your cost of goods and gross margins are on your products and service offerings sold?

RULE #3: HIRE FIRST FOR HOW THE PERSON FITS IN WITH THE TEAM AND SECOND FOR HOW COMPETENT THEY ARE. • Do you have a clear profile of the criteria that makes a good company fit? • Do you have clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all staff positions? • Do you have a standard interview process that you use to screen new job applicants?

RULE #4: EMBRACE CHAOS – COMMAND THE TEAM AND INSPIRE THE EMPLOYEES. • Do you consistently set the company’s priorities and clearly communicate them to your staff? • Have you clearly articulated the company’s vision for the future and regularly communicate it to your staff? • Have you insured that your team has a clear mission, a clear set of instructions and practical goals to reach?

RULE #5: ESTABLISH A PERFORMANCE MINDSET, A COMMUNICATION FEEDBACK LOOP AND EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. • Have you established clear performance expectations with every employee? • Do you have an employee skill development program in place? • Do you consistently gather and give feedback to your employees?

These rules of the road will fundamentally help a business owner make better decisions. By keying in on these critical elements for their current stage of growth, they’ll begin to proactively manage their growth instead of letting growth manage them.

I’m thinking they would strongly appreciate your help! What are you waiting for? Have that conversation today!

I cover all of the Non-Negotiable Rules in my series of books on the 7 Stages of Growth. Looking for a gift for a client? Or a great resource? 

Find them here:



Questions? I’m just an email or phone call away and I’m here to help.