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Knowing how to be more successful in your business life may not come with an Emmy Award winning script to follow, as it did for the characters in the television show Mad Men. However, it is important to keep some key tips in mind to gain better, and hopefully less dramatic, business success in developing business now and into the future.

Over the course of six seasons, viewers like myself have watched the firm's partners battle for business, come to blows, grow big, get acquired, fall apart, relaunch as a start-up, lose key clients, gain even better clients and most recently, merge with a rival. We have boiled down lessons learned from six seasons of Mad Men to their essence in the following bullet points.

In the business style of Mad Men - 17 Ultimate Business Success Tips:

  1. Don’t depend on one customer for all or the major part of your business.
  2. Take risks.  Don’t be afraid to let a client go under compelling circumstances.
  3. Dedicate resources to work on the business development and make it part of everyone’s job. 
    • Every business needs a great story. 
    • Building a brand: To focus or not to focus? That is the question.
  4. Keep an eye on the bottom line. Be fiscally responsible. Be results focused.
    • Offline networking and shaking hands is as important today as it was in the 1960’s. 
    • Don’t rent expensive offices.
    • Performance for your clients is the bottom line.
  5. If you’re the boss, act like it.  Don’t pussy foot around big problems, stand your ground.  It’s okay to explore new roles, but know when you’re not suited for them and play to your strengths.
    • Balance team strengths.
    • Be bold like Peggy
    • Lead or get out of the way, old timer.
    • It’s not necessarily a bad idea for a leader to try to fit in and loosen up, but do it too fast and your work-life balance could end up in turmoil.
    • Everyone responds differently to the co-management model.
  6. Most of us start our businesses because we have a hunger and passion for it.
    • Find something that truly resonates.
    • Follow your passion like Megan
  7. Yes, business owners need to delegate, but they also need to stay involved.
  8. If you’re lucky enough to be in a place in your business where you can sit back, observe and let most of it roll on without you, enjoy.
  9. Evolve as you go.
    • Adapt diversity.
    • Think ‘out of the box’.
    • Stay flexible.  Adaptable CRM also helps.
    • Have staff diversity.
    • Roll with the changes.
    • Embrace both youth and experience.
    • Get creative. Change perspectives.
    • Everyone needs to try new roles.
    • Blur the lines of perception.
    • You’re never too young, evil or incompetent to start growing into a leadership role.
    • Always keep an electric razor, clean white shirt and a bottle of scotch in your bottom desk drawer.
    • Most acquisitions don’t pan out as planned.
  10. Find something that truly resonates.
  11. Move Fast. Increase the speed of decisions.
  12. Partner with people you trust and work as a team
    • Share the credit.
    • No matter how bad the news is, share it with your fellow leaders.  They can handle it better than you alone.
    • Even lone wolves need to be team players sometimes.
    • A capable junior employee may struggle when promoted to a higher level.
    • Don’t make lewd comments about coworkers
  13. Be valuable like Joan
    • Add exceptional value – transcend expectations and differentiate.
  14. Empower everybody.
    • Don’t forget how you got there.
  15. Listen actively and think before you speak.  Invoke emotion.
  16. Technology doesn’t sleep. Use the available tools, like Mobile CRM.
  17. Understand what’s best for the customer.
    • Know your customer.
    • You learn more about what makes your staff tick on the road than you ever could in the office.

If you are a fan of the show - what other lessons are out there?

We'd love to get to know about your business and discover how we can help.




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