"I'm living every day like a hustle."
These words from Notorious B.I.G.'s "Everyday Struggle" sum up the late rapper's business philosophy perfectly: Never stop working hard--no matter how successful you are. While B.I.G. was not afraid to flaunt his success in his music ("Birthdays was the worst days, now we sip Champagne when we thirsty"), his millions of record sales didn't change his dedication to the grind.
To mark what would have been his 43rd birthday Thursday, we're sharing some of Biggie Smalls's best business lessons, straight from his hit song "Ten Crack Commandments," which he called a "manual" and "step-by-step booklet for you to get your game on track." Though the lyrics were inspired by business dealings in the illegal drug trade, the words have keen lessons for any entrepreneur.
Here are 10 business tips that Notorious B.I.G. lived by. Listen up!
1. "Never let no one know how much dough you hold."
There's no advantage to opening your books to people outside of your business, so unless you're running a public company, keep your profits private.
2. "Never let 'em know your next move."
Staying ahead of the competition isn't possible if your competitors know what you're going to do next. Always keep your ideas, new products, and plans for growth close to your vest.
3. "Never trust nobody."
There's a reason they call it "stealth mode." Sometimes you have to work in secrecy to protect your competitive advantage.
4. "Never get high on your own supply."
Just because your business is growing doesn't mean you can start wasting product on yourself.
5. "Never sell where you rest."
While many entrepreneurs run small businesses from home, that doesn't mean you should invite customers into your house. It's important to establish borders between your professional life and personal life.
6. "That goddamn credit? Dead it."
Don't agree to deals on good faith. If a client wants to purchase product or engage your services but can't pay you up front, it's better to walk away. Chasing down unpaid orders will cost you in the long run.
7. "Keep your family and business completely separated."
When going into business with someone in your family, ask yourself this question: "If things don't work out, will our relationship suffer?" If the answer is yes, it's probably not a good idea.
8. "Never keep no weight on you."
As an entrepreneur, your responsibility is running the business, not looking after inventory. Delegate tasks to your workers, so you can stay focused on managing your company.
9. "Stay [away] from police."
Keeping things legal goes without saying--it's being seen in public with authority figures that you want to avoid. This will just start rumors inside and out of your company that can disrupt business.
10. "Consignment is not for freshmen."
If you're going to take on product from a wholesaler, make sure you have customers lined up first, otherwise you're likely to end up holding a ton of inventory you can't sell.
Finally, remember that success comes with added responsibilities. As Biggie's partner Puff Daddy said: "Mo' money, mo' problems."