The following is some general business advice from Benjamin Franklin, famed inventor, philosopher and founding father of the United States of America. This very sound advice originally appeared in The Pennsylvania Gazette in the year 1749.
Endeavour to be perfect in the calling you are engaged in, and be assiduous in every part thereof: Industry being the natural means of acquiring wealth, honour, and reputation; as idleness is of poverty, shame, and disgrace. Lay a good foundation in regard to principle; be sure not willfully to over-reach, or deceive your neighbor: but keep always in your eye the golden rule of doing as you would be done unto.
Be strict in discharging all legal debts: Do not evade your creditors by any shuffling arts, in giving notes under your hand, only to defer payment; but, if you have it in your power, discharge all debts when they become due. Above all, when you are straitened for lack of money, be cautious of taking it up at a high interest. This has been the ruin of many, therefore endeavour to avoid it.
Be complacent to the least, as well as to the greatest: you are, as much obliged to use good manners for a penny, as a dollar; one demands it from you, as well as the other.
Strive to maintain a fair character in the world: That will be the best means for advancing your credit, gaining you the most flourishing trade, and enlarging your fortune. Condescend to no mean action, but add a lustre to trade by keeping up to the dignity of your nature.
Mr. Franklin’s advice is indeed timeless. His accurate observations on the importance of honesty and courtesy in one’s business dealings are just as valid today as they were when we wrote them down 250 years ago.