"Life goes by fast. Enjoy it. Calm down. It's all funny. Next. Everyone gets so upset about the wrong things."
--- Joan Rivers
You usually can't go wrong with taking business advice from a multi-billionaire. I am not that person, but I do recall hearing about some great advice Warren Buffett gave to shareholders over the years in his Berkshire Hathaway annual letters. He tells investors to look at stocks just like businesses. Here are four rules for business from Buffett that is great advice for us all.
One of Buffett's key points is for business leaders to stay focused. Buffett warns that even a great company can see its "value stagnate in the presence of hubris or of boredom that caused the attention of managers to wander." Focusing on what we do best and leave the rest is a great way to grow stronger, growing strong roots in our niche.
"The new information technology... Internet and e-mail... have practically eliminated the physical costs of communications."
--- Peter Drucker
Buffett is big on keeping the cost of business as low as possible. In a 1996 letter, he wrote that being a "low-cost operator" is directly responsible for the success of Berkshire's GEICO auto insurance subsidiary. Buffett says that, "Low costs permit low prices, and low prices attract and retain good policyholders." And when those customers recommend GEICO to their friends, the company gets an "enormous savings in acquisition expenses, and that makes our costs still lower."
We can't all be as big as GEICO, but we can influence our sphere of control and find ways to keep our business costs low to make us very competitive in our segment of the industry.
"Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
--- Lao Tzu
The third rule from the vault of Buffett's letters is to keep it small. In 2006, Buffett wrote that he's skeptical "about the ability of big entities of any type to function well." In Buffett's opinion, the "size seems to make many organizations slow-thinking, resistant to change and smug." That's one reason Berkshire's corporate headquarters still has only a handful of employees, with almost all the managing work left to its unit's managers. As Buffett states, "It is a real pleasure to work with managers who enjoy coming to work each morning and, once there, instinctively and unerringly think like owners."
Growing as a business is typically the goal of most small businesses, but as Buffett points out, it is controlled growth while keeping the small business hunger and ambitions.
"A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well."
--- Jeff Bezos
Finally, Warren Buffett knows that to build and keep a thriving business we must keep our reputation intact. In his mind, the most important piece of advice for businesses is to maintain a sterling reputation for honesty by never doing something you wouldn't want to see reported on the front page of your local newspaper.
After taking control of the financial firm Salomon in the wake of a major 1991 scandal, Buffett famously told a Congressional panel that he had a simple message for employees: "Lose money for the firm and I will be understanding; lose a shred of reputation for the firm and I will be ruthless." As he put it in one of his most-often quoted sayings: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."
"Warren Buffett has shown you can be very, very successful without being rapacious, while still being honest, without engaging in constant legal battles."
--- Guy Spier
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For a theoretically perfect inkjet printer, combining cyan (C), magenta (M) and yellow (Y) inks would produce a perfect black. Reality, however, is not perfect.
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Media Facades: High-Tech Digital Building Wraps
By Louis M. Brill
Now with LED video screens comes the outdoor advertising impulse to create the ultimate building wrap, a media facade, which is an LED video screen that completely covers the front of a building and presents a kaleidoscope of imagery that dances across the building.
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For sale sign in Knoxville, TN:
"1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 Sneaky Neighbor's Dog"
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