Great blog yesterday, by Pattie Sellers of Fortune, who apparently had the honor of knowing the legendary adman David Ogilvy personally. She asked Ogilvy, when he was in his 80’s, to share his best advice for building and running a business. The result , handwritten in pencil, is a list of seven principles, several of which are particularly relevant today for business owners navigating a recession, even ten years after Ogilvy’s death. Here they are, as quoted in Sellers’ article:
“1. Remember that Abraham Lincoln spoke of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He left out the pursuit of profit.
“2. Remember the old Scottish motto: “Be happy while you’re living, for you are a long time dead.”
“3. If you have to reduce your company’s payroll, don’t fire your people until you have cut your compensation and the compensation of your big-shots.
“4. Define your corporate culture and your principles of management in writing. Don’t delegate this to a committee. Search all the parks in all your cities. You’ll find no statues of committees.
“5. Stop cutting the quality of your products in search of bigger margins. The consumer always notices — and punishes you.
“6. Never spend money on advertising which does not sell.
“7. Bear in mind that the consumer is not a moron. She is your wife. Do not insult her intelligence.”
If Mr. Ogilvy had been in the position to tweet his response to Sellers, it might have gone something like this: