I\u2019ve always liked the model of the 3-legged stool when trying to establish a foundation for any enterprise. So when it comes to business, my 3 legs are: \t Business is about relationships \t Never take a professional criticism personally \t Establish boundaries between your professional and personal lives. Of the 3, I find the last one the hardest, although as one who suffers from depression, the second one isn\u2019t always easy either. So let\u2019s look at each one briefly. Business is about relationships. This should be self-evident, yet it is easy to forget. No matter how good your product or service is, without a client or customer all you have is a concept, a system or an inventory. No matter how good your business or marketing plan is, its about cashflow, and that means sales. And that comes down to how your client or customer perceives you - do they see a person of integrity with their best interests at heart, or a charlatan who they cannot trust? We must remember that as we are evaluating the person we are wanting to doing business with, they are also evaluating us. They are asking themselves \u201cdo I want to do business with this person?\u201d I remember trying to deal with the owner of a business a friend of mine once worked for - and I could tell immediately that I did not want to do business with him. Call it discernment or a 6th sense perhaps, but I knew I could not trust this man. Never take professional criticism personally. I was taught this lesson very early in my working life - something I\u2019ve been very grateful for. Making a mistake doesn\u2019t minimise you as a person, rather it reinforces the need for diligence as a professional. If you have received personal criticism for your professional endeavours, you may need to try and understand the motives of your critic. It could be that they feel threatened by you, and here is an opportunity for them to deflect some of that back. The issue then is theirs, not yours. Establish boundaries between your professional and personal lives. This is more important than we might realise, for we tend to define ourselves by what we do. Isn\u2019t the first question we ask a stranger we meet: \u201cand what do you do?\u201d Imagine your surprise if the answer given was: \u201cI\u2019m a poet but I drive trucks to make a living.\u201d The other aspect to this is balance. I was brought up with the saying \u201call work and no play makes Jack a dull boy\u201d and we all know people who are so engrossed in their business, that it dominates them 24\/7. We call them workaholics, and the ultimate cost of this is too high - families, friends and health all suffer. All because of badly defined goals and values. Each of these \u2018legs\u2019 are more than just personal supports however - they are perceived by our clients and customers. And if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that perception is reality. So what 3 legs support your stool? What are the core values that enable you to both attract and be attractive to your clients and customers? Why would someone want to give their hard earned money to you instead of someone else? It could be your point of difference, or it could go an awful lot deeper - do they want to deal with your business? Or do they want to deal with you?