How to Get Rich: One of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets
by Felix Dennis
Felix Dennis is an expert at proving people wrong. Starting as a college dropout with no family money, he created a publishing empire, founded Maxim magazine, made himself one of the richest people in the UK, and had a blast in the process.
How to Get Rich is different from any other book on the subject because Dennis isn’t selling snake oil, investment tips, or motivational claptrap. He merely wants to help people embrace entrepreneurship, and to share lessons he learned the hard way. He reveals, for example, why a regular paycheck is like crack cocaine; why great ideas are vastly overrated; and why ownership isn’t the important thing, it’s the only thing.
Whatever qualities the rich may have, they can be acquired by anyone with the tenacity to become rich. The key is confidence. Confidence and an unshakable belief it can be done and that you are the one to do it.
Tunnel vision helps. Being a bit of a shit helps. A thick skin helps. Stamina is crucial, as is a capacity to work so hard that your best friends mock you, your lovers despair, and the rest of your acquaintances watch furtively from the sidelines, half in awe and half in contempt. Luck helps, but only if you don’t seek it.
Money is exactly like sex. You think of nothing else if you don’t have it, and think of other things if you do.
Money is color-blind, race-blind, sex-blind, degree-blind, and couldn’t care less who brought you up or in what circumstances. Money is one of the most neutral substances on earth. Others may conspire against you obtaining it through bigotry or prejudice, but they can only succeed if you let them.
As a young penniless and inexperienced person, you are not an “expert”. No track record to defend. Thus you are more willing to learn than those in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. You are not afraid of making mistakes, admitting them when you do, and getting right back on track.
Ambition, fearlessness, self-belief, stamina, a degree of callousness, a willingness to learn. These are your advantages over the middle-aged and old.
== HARNESSING THE FEAR OF FAILURE
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Employees wanting to do their own new project : I fear them. I fear they may have spotted something we have missed, some gap in the market. I fear their new venture will grow at our expense while it poaches our personnel and our market share. The only way to deal with fear is to cozy up to it. Look it in the eye and pump its hand. Translate its negative energy into adrenaline. To harness it. To laugh with it rather than at it.
“Dare not” is one thing. “Cannot” is another. Not everyone can be rich, but anyone can dare to. Somebody has to.
If I had my time again, knowing what I know today, I would dedicate myself to making just enough to live comfortably ($60-$80M) as quickly as I could – by the time I was 35. I would then cash out and retire to write poetry and plant trees.
“Once begun, the job’s half-done.” Because that first irrevocable step has proved to be the most difficult part of nearly every venture I’ve been involved in.
No matter how much faculty of idle seeing a man has, the step from knowing to doing is rarely taken.
There are so many reasons not to do anything, many of them highly persuasive. Everywhere you look, you find people who appear to take perverse pleasure in pointing out the obvious: that if a new venture does not succeed, it may result in failure.
Prompt decisions and orders, right or wrong, are far healthier than endless debate. This applies equally to a debate within one’s own mind. Fretting is counterproductive at any level. And so is lack of action. Knowing that fear of failure is holding you back is a step in the right direction. But it isn’t enough, because knowing isn’t doing.
You must grow a mental armor. Not so thick as to blind you to well-constructed criticism and advice, especially from those you trust. Nor so thick as to cut you off from friends and family. But thick enough to shrug off the inevitable sniggering and malicious mockery that will follow your inevitable failures, not to mention the poorly hidden envy that will accompany your eventual success.
If you are unwilling to fail, sometimes publicly, and even catastrophically, you stand very little chance of ever getting rich.
If you cannot treat your quest to get rich as a game, you will never be rich.
If you cannot face up to your fear of failure, you will never be rich.
I am convinced the fear of failing in the eyes of the world is the single biggest impediment to amassing wealth. Trust me on this.
== THE SEARCH (what field to go into)
Salary begins to have an attraction and addictiveness all of its own. A regular paycheck and crack cocaine have that in common. Working too long for other people can blunt your desire to take risks. The ability to live with and embrace risk is what sets apart the financial winners and losers in the world.
Team spirit is for losers, financially speaking. It’s the glue that binds losers together. It’s the methodology employers use to shackle useful employees to their desks without having to pay them too much. It acts as a subtle handicap and a brake to ambitious individuals. Which, in a way, it’s designed to do.
Too many people want to make a blockbuster movie and live in Beverly Hills. Not enough people want to dig holes. (Friend of his is incredibly rich digging holes, essentially.)
New or rapidly developing industries, whether glamorous or not, very often provide more opportunities to get rich than established sectors. Three reasons for this are availability of risk capital, ignorance, and the power of a rising tide.
Investors are drawn to emerging industries in the hope of making a fast buck. To acquire capital you need to be where the loose capital is searching for a home.
By the time our bigger rivals were comfortable enough to launch against us, a hesitation resulting from ignorance, the tide had carried us beyond the reach of their big guns. New capital, ignorance, and a rising tide had done the trick.
Capitalism demands that whoever takes the most financial risk calls the piper’s tune. The biggest rewards go not to those individuals who came up with the idea, nor to those individuals who built the empire. They go to those entities or individuals who funded the enterprise and own the most stock.
Your inclinations really do count. You have to pay attention to them.
Do not fall into the error of making a fetish of your passion.
It is the instict to seize an opportunity when it presents itself that perhaps sets apart the self-made filthy rich from the comfortably poor, the willingness to ignore conventional wisdom and risk everything on what others consider to be folly.
“The harder I practiced, the luckier I got.”
Fortune favors not just the brave, but the bold. Boldness has a kind of genius in it. Should boldness succeed, should the chance be seized and sufficiently well executed, then success will surely lead to glory.
All around us, every day, opportunities to get rich are popping up. The more alert you are, the more chance you have of spotting them. The more preparation you have done, the more chance you have of succeeding. The more bold you are, the better chance you have of getting in on the ground floor and confounding the odds. The more self-belief you can muster, the more certain will be your aim and your timing. The less you care what the neighbors think, the more likely you are to take the plunge and exploit an opportunity.
== THE FALLACY OF THE GREAT IDEA
The original is not the greatest. If you want to be rich, watch your rivals closely and never be ashamed to emulate a winning strategy. They may josh you a little for doing it, but that’s a price well worth paying.
The problem with the great idea is that it concentrates the mind on the idea itself. Unless the idea is executed efficiently, and with panache and originality, then it doesn’t matter how great the idea is, the enterprise will fail.
If you never have a single great idea in your life, but become skilled at executing the great ideas of others, you can succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Seek them out and make them work. They do not have to be your ideas. Execution is all in this regard.
On the other hand, if you spend your days thinking up and developing in your mind this great idea or that, you are unlikely to get rich. Although you are likely to make many others rich. Ideas don’t make you rich. The correct execution of ideas does.
== OBTAINING CAPITAL
Venture capitalists, major investors and bankers all have their part to play in providing capital for individuals and start-up companies. But if it is at all possible, give me the fish over the sharks and dolphins every time. It may take a mite longer to get there, but you’ll be far richer, or at very least happier in the long run.
== THE FIVE MOST COMMON START-UP ERRORS
You can improve cash flow by observing the following suggestions in a start-up’s early days:
– Keep payroll down to an absolute minimum. Overhead walks on two legs.
– Never sign long-term rent agreements or take upmarket office space.
– Never buy a business meal if the other side offers to.
– Pay yourself just enough to eat.
– Issuing staff credit cards, company cell phones, or cars is the road to ruin.
– Play one supplier against another, ruthlessly. They want your business.
– Only enter a factoring deal in absolute extremity. Exit it fast.
Reinforcing failure : the hardest error to avoid in this entire book.
Success has a thousand fathers, while failure is famously always an orphan.
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another, unrepentant and with no loss of enthusiasm.
It is this possibility, the chance that we are onto a slow-burn winner, rather than being stuck with an out-and-out loser, that persuades so many of us to hang in there with a product or service in financial trouble.
There is no victory over customers.
Thinking big. That’s the secret. Of the dozens of indie magazine publishers in Britain in the 1970s, hardly one of them dared to think big enough to get on an airplane and hawk their wares in the biggest market in the world. Those few that did so licensed their magazines, they never thought to create a partnership and risk their own capital.
But the corollary of thinking big is to act small. Just because you have a success or two under your belt doesn’t mean you have it made. “Success is never permanent; failure is never fatal. The only thing that really counts is to never, never, never give up.”
Once you begin to believe that you are infallilble, that success will automatically lead to more success, and that you have “got it made”, reality will be sure to give you a rude wake-up call. Believing your own bullshit is never more fatal than for the owner of a start-up venture.
By acting small, I mean remaining in touch. Remaining flexible.
Most of the worst errors I have made in my life came from forgetting to act small. It’s hard to do when you’re rolling around in coin and everything is going your way. But acting big leads to complacency and complacency is the reason that many successful start-ups falter.
When you come across real talent, it is sometimes worth allowing them to create the structure in which they choose to labor. 90% of the time, by inviting them to take responsibility and control for a new venture, you will motivate them to do great things.
What talent seeks, more often than not, is the chance to prove itself and the opportunity to excel.
You must identify talent. Then you must move heaven and earth to hire it. You must nurture it, reward it properly, and protect it from being poached. If necessary, dream up a new project. Better still, get the talent to dream it up.
Youth is a further factor. By the time talent is in its mid-to-late forties or early fifties, it will have become very very expensive. Young talent can be found and underpaid for a short while, providing the work is challenging enough. Then it will be paid at the market rate.
Talent is indispensable, although it is always replaceable. Just remember the simple rules concerning talent : identify it, hire it, nurture it, reward it, protect it. And, when the time comes, fire it.
== CARDINAL VIRTUES
Stubborness is not persistence. Stubbornness implies that you intend to persist despite plentiful evidence that you should not. A stubborn person fears to be shown that he or she is wrong. A persistent person is convinced that he or she has been right all along, and that the proof lies just around the corner. That with just a little further effort, the veil of failure will be torn away to reveal success.
Quitting is not dishonorable. Quitting when you believe you can still succeed, is.
I ask that you begin right now right at this very moment to ask yourself whether you believe in yourself. Do you believe in yourself? Do you?
Without self-belief, nothing can be accomplished. With it, nothing is impossible.
Doubt is a warning system and plays its part in reaching decisions.
It’s rude and arrogant to invest in a company you intend to bring into your stable without a thorough and honest discussion of pros and cons with senior colleagues. It’s not good business, but it is the only business an entrepreneur has the right to be doing. I’m not a manager. I’m not even a businessman. I’m an entrepreneur and I go with my gut. After that, managers and beancounters and financial advisors take over, but only afterwards.
If you do not launch the weekly edition, even though you know it’s a good idea, then your rivals will do it for you.
Let’s take another example of building more baskets just as quickly as you can. Richard Branson has done it. Some of his Virgin enterprises are not as strong as others. Western Capitalism will have to sink into an ocean of darkness before all of Richard’s Virgin businesses go broke.
Richard has perfected one cardinal rule : he owns or part-owns more baskets than anyone else alive. It’s certainly one way to become a billionaire.
How many baskets should you go for? In the beginning it would be best if you can keep them related to your core business.
During the start-up you concentrate on that one basket, as if your life depends on it. But once you have something that’s working, start looking around quickly for another opportunity. The more baskets the better.
I do not bring to any project the passion and insight of those more closely involved. The biggest basket I ever built wasn’t my 1st or 2nd, it was my 20th. But if I wouldn’t have built my 2nd, I never would have reached my 20th.
I want to be where people can reach me on certain days of the week. Why? Because I want to hear what they have to say. Not because I’m a sociable chap. When you stop listening, you stop learning. And if you stop learning, it’s time to get out of the kitchen, and let someone else do the cooking. Listening is the most powerful weapon, after self-belief and persistence, that you can bring into play as an entrepreneur.
Talking to your own executives and senior managers is necessary, of course. But talking to people you do not know, or who work in some obscure corner of your industry, or even in your own company, is just as necessary. Moreso, perhaps.
If you have experience, a little investment cash, and will make the time, then the world will bring to your door an amazing collection of visionaries, con artists, madmen, and budding entrepreneurs. They all have something to say. Most of your time will be wasted. But what is not wasted will make you richer – much richer.
Being courteous and always failing merely makes you a courteous loser. Courtesy is not a cardinal virtue in getting rich, but it helps.
My advice, based on thousands of such meetings over the years, is to keep them short. Unless your gut tells you you’ve stumbled across a winner, set the meeting at 20 minutes. Have someone interrupt you after 25 minutes and have the caller ushered swiftly from your room.
It’s usually better to leave no doubt in your visitor’s mind if you’re not interested in their project or idea. In a way, it’s kinder, as well.
Now let’s talk about ideas and who owns what. If someone comes to see you with an idea you’re already considering or working on, no matter how loose the connection, then stop them abruptly and tell them the situation. That’s only fair. Ideas, by the way, can not be owned by anyone. You can not trademark or patent or copyright any idea. You can only protect the execution of an idea, and trademark the name. This is an important thing to know in any business, and is often misunderstood by people who come to you with an idea. Such people often request you sign an NDA, and I’m usually happy to do so.
What if they come up with an idea which the company then develops then proves to be a huge success – who owns it? The company does. You do, if you are the owner of the company, and your employee put forth the idea.
If someone came to you with an idea. How far has she gone towards executing this idea? She should not have come to you without protecting that idea very very carefully indeed. However, if she brought out a sample which does not work well, but worked to some degree, the case is altered. She has executed her idea, however badly. If you wish to invest in the idea, you would almost certainly have to come to a legal agreement with the inventor.
Listening continuously – listening and learning – is one of the vital components for those of you who wish to be rich.
== A FEW WORDS ABOUT LUCK
Listen to people who are good with money, and always invest in property with a good address, providing you can pay cash for it, and will not need to sell it for a few years.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Preparation multiplied by opportunity.
To become rich, you must behave as a predator. You must become a predator.
(about unlucky friend) He weighs options too carefully. He is capable of imagining defeat. So while he is clever enough to want to minimize his risks by switching to yet another new uncontested marketplace, he leads himself into uncertainty and into error.
Having too much money isn’t important. Breaking your neck is important. Getting cancer is important. Having nothing to eat is important. But too much money is absolutely not important. It’s just a part of the game. As H. L. Mencken put it, the chief value of money is that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.
== THE ART OF NEGOTIATING
All great companies, all well-run organizations, need great managers and great staff.
The acquisition of managers who can bring a sense of mission to even mundane tasks, who can identify potential candidates, nurture late-bloomers, fire dullards and whiners, and adapt to changing circumstances. That is not about negotiating.
You may well have to masquerade as a manager for a short while on the way to becoming rich. And you should strive to be a good manager while the role is forced upon you. But even if you discover you truly have a talent for the minutea, the management demands, it’s best to abandon the role just as soon as you can afford to hire the appropriate personnel.
The world is full of aspiring lieutenants. Most people seek job security, job satisfaction, and power over others, far more than they seek wealth.
Management efficiency really does count, of course. Loyalty counts. Fairness counts. A steady disposition counts. A sense of appropriate compromise counts. An organization will fail without managers who apply such virtues consistently.
(About your enemy:) The first thing to be done, the most vital thing, is to establish exactly where those weaknesses lie. An immediate balance of weakness may well prove more decisive than any long-term balance of strengths.
The elephant and the flea : the elephant must show his master that he is an up-to-date elephant, a savvy elephant, and elephant that knows what’s just around the corner, and what the next big thing is going to be in his patch of jungle. Otherwise he risks his share price dropping and being hurt by the nasty iron stick, or even shot by the fierce institutional investor, who will then acquire a new elephant.
A few tips on negotiating:
* – If you’re a poor negotiator, then set a limit on what you will pay or accept, and on any conditions attached. Do not deviate. Your first thought is your best thought.
* – Most negotiations are unnecessary. Don’t enter into them.
* – Do your homework. What you don’t know or haven’t bothered to find out can kill you in any serious type of negotiation.
* – Get all of the professional help you can trust. Do not surrender control of negotiations or the agenda to such professionals. They are not the one who will have to live with the consequenses. You are.
* – If your advisors are leading you down a path you don’t approve of, call a time-out and tell them privately that if they continue along that route you will get new advisors.
* – They’re not your friend. They’re your enemy. If you do not understand that real winners and real losers emerge from real negotiations, then you’ll be robbed, whatever the circumstances.
* – Listen, when engaged in serious negotations. You are in no hurry. Nobody ever got poor listening. Use silence as a weapon.
* – Choose a rogue element to your advantage, and bring it into the negotiation at a late stage.
* – Divide and rule always works.
* – Permit no such weaknesses in your own camp.
== OWNERSHIP! OWNERSHIP! OWNERSHIP!
We pretend that mere names can own things. But what is a partnership, a corporation, or a country, but a name?
It’s easy to be philsophical when you’ve already amassed a fortune. There’s some truth in that, but there’s also truth in the assertion that I may well have only been able to put a few hundred million dollars in the bank because I recognized that this getting rich malarkey is just a game. Being rich is fine, and at very least is better than being poor. But it shouldn’t be the be-all end-all of your life or anyone’s life.
If you can laugh in the midst of early poverty and in the face of real adversity, and if you can still laugh while you’re coining it in, then you will almost certainly continue to coin it in.
To become rich, you must be an owner, and you must try to own it all. You must strive with every fiber of your being, while recognizing the idiocy of your behavior. To own and retain control of as near to 100% of any company as you can.
Never never never hand over a single share of anything you’ve created or acquired, if you can help it. Nothing. Not one share, to no one, no matter what the reason, unless you genuinely have to.
Ownership is the only thing that counts.
Why doth treason never prosper? For shouldest thou fail, thou must hang. And if it doth succeed, why ’twas never treason!
Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl.
The partnership held, and has always reflected two principles as far as sharing the pie : (1) who is putting what capital into a venture? (2) who is putting what work on that venture?
That’s the best part of a true partnership: you always have a brother to help carry the load, and if things go wrong, you have a built-in drinking buddy with whom to drown your sorrows.
Despite our close friendship and real affection for each other, this knowledge that any one of us could walk away from the others if he wished, that illusion of freedom made it possible to compromise with each other when things got tough in our partnership business. If our partnership had been the only hope I had of making any real money, it might have disintegrated before it began. A partnership is not a marriage. In a marriage you should be willing to die or kill or share everything. In a partnership, money comes first.
Establish yourself first, retaining as much control of any startup or acquisition as you can. Only then, seek pastures new with partners in the picture.
Ownership buys you the luxury of time. Not only the luxury of occasionally considering a partnership or an investment elsewhere.
Ownership means never having to waste time saying sorry that a business didn’t work out. It means not having to spend weeks and weeks trying to persuade your partners that a certain course of action is necessary. It means that you can concentrate on building the business and making money – or losing it without the added burden of guilt.
Time is the only thing we cannot replace, apart from our health and our lives. I resent wasting a moment of it.
== THE JOYS OF DELEGATION
How much would Howard Stern earn if he delegated his show to others? After a short while, he would get nothing. His audience would not put up with a substitute. Actors, celebreties, kings, politicians, artists, either do the job in person or they lose the job and the income that comes with the job.
If you own a company and that company’s purpose is to make you wealthy, you will be content, delighted even, for any amount of glory to go to anyone who works there, providing you get the money.
If you do not own the company or part of it then it’s possible you are only a senior manager because you like power. Bossy people and glory hounds are mostly interested in building a power base so they can have yet more people to boss about.
The devil can quote scripture for his own purpose.
The whole point about getting rich is not to have to deal with this nonsense of office politics.
True delegation can often be a joy to be involved in on both sides. As an owner you must always be alert of the tell-tale signs that here is a candidate for promotion and delegation. They are smart, smarter than you are, they work hard and appear to love the work they do. They ask intelligent questions and don’t waste time gossiping and mucking about. They listen and correct their errors and don’t repeat them. They want your job.
Especially in the early days of your company, delegation and promotion are among your most powerful weapons in getting rich.
Almost everyone wishes to be respected. With promotion comes respect. With delegation comes promotion. If your company is young and a bit rickety, meritocracy, delegation and promotion are the bricks and mortar that will make it stronger.
By setting an example early on with a program of carefully tailored delegation and well-deserved promotion, you will create an atmosphere of loyalty, efficiency and comradery that feeds upon itself. An atmosphere poisonous to toads.
Good morale, a pervasive feeling of “us against the world”, combined with the promise of responsible delegation, and promotion based on achievement can move mountains
The work undertaken by your colleagues and employees is more important than your work. Your job is to lead.
Hard work never bothers the young. They think they are built of steel.
What else do I delegate? Almost everything now. I do not run my companies and have not done so in many many years.
Meetings : Verbatim minutes are taken. I read all of the minutes of these meetings very carefully and I can get a mite cross if they are not produced promptly and accurately. For me they are not a memorandum of past events. They are a tool to understanding current positions. I also have my personal financial manager as well as my group CFO placed on all these boards. If I’m not present you can be sure he is.
Without my express permission:
1. they may not vote anyone on or off the board
2. they may not physically move the headquarters of the company
3. they may not dispose of or shut down any substantial asset
4. they may not purchase or launch any substantial new product or business
5. they may not award themselves bonuses or salary increases
Within these guidelines, the managers of my companies are free to get on with their jobs, grow the business, and reach the margin return agreed-upon at the beginning of the year. A margin they will have arrived at, amongst themselves, by consensus with my CFO’s eyes on them while they do it.
If things go wrong in a particular part of the business then I will get involved. When we are about to launch, sell, or close something – then I’m always involved. Absentee landlords never prosper.
One thing I do to compensate for the style of ownership is to look hard for signs of excellent work. When I spot it, I drop a handwritten note to whoever is responsible.
Most of all, because I learned to delegate a long time ago, and to accept that you must allow young managers the opportunity to make mistakes without crushing or blaming them when thing go wrong, (you can always fire them if they make the same error over & over).
== PIECE OF THE PIE
Craft bonuses for those who work for you to achieve margin, cost, and revenue targets.
You won’t get far if you attempt to financially “incentivize” the salt of the earth. (The types that just enjoy working hard.) Praise, the ability to discern when a good job has been done, and the courtesy to say so, fairness, integrity, and camraderie should be employed instead. It takes more trouble than mere bribery, but it produces wonderful results.
Always ensure that you want to fight and ought to fight on a larger competitor’s ground. If he is anxious to buy you, determined to park his tanks on your ground, maybe you should let him – for the right price.
If your competitor is smaller, try to hire him or buy him or join with him. If he won’t budge, take drastic action and smash him. If that won’t work, then learn to be friends and collude against the wolly mammoths together.
Ways to make more pie:
– Make annual bonuses generous
– “ring fence” investment costs from ongoing business : investment money for new projects taken out of ongoing business as a real expense
– never delegate bonus arrangements.
– at senior level, insist on collective responsibility for bonuses
– praise excellent work
– fire poor workers mercilessly
– turn a cold eye to company perks
– avoid all “jollies” : trips to Hawaii
– set an example : don’t waste company money
– have senior managers go over annual results with you one-on-one : their comments can be priceless
– back up your managers
– seek out and promote talent
– interview your rivals’ talent
– discourage secrecy
– save a little bit of pie for suppliers
– never bad-mouth rivals
– sell early (real money rarely comes from horsing around running an asset-laden business if you’re an entrepreneur. you’re not a manager, remember? whenever the chance comes to sell an asset at the top of its value, do so. things do not keep increasing in value forever. get out while the going is good and move on to the next venture.)
– enjoy the business of making money
== THE POWER OF FOCUS
Look carefully around you at the prevailing industries where wealth appears to be gravitating – then go where the money is!
Few fortunes are made in mature industries, unless you are lucky enough to create a monopoly in one.
What business should I have gravitated toward? Software, technology, internet startups, cable and satellite TV, property, environmental waste clean-up, alternative energy sources. Do I know anything about these industries? No. But then I didn’t know anything about magazines in 1967, either.
Stupid people are easy to hire. The world is full of stupid people. Many are extremely pleasant but will not add to your wealth. Avoid them like the plague. What you need are clever, cunning, and adept people.
Providing you can pay much cleverer but risk-averse people properly, and promote them and lead them in such a way that they are all rowing in the same direction, they will sign on to your little ship.
Persuading them to join is not the problem, but separating the wheat from the chaff is harder. They look so much alike. This is where you have to focus your energy and concentration.
Choosing human capital:
1. Never choose an important employee or a key supplier alone. Get others to interview them or talk to them as well, either with you or separately. The final choice must be yours alone.
2. Go further than reading a person’s references. It’s such a pain, but it pays. Make an appointment with their last company or with a supplier’s other customers. Go and see someone there. Get chatty. Listen hard. You will discover more about the person or supplier in a few minutes in this way than in hours of conversation with them.
3. Make notes. Speak little. Have a series of questions ready to shoot out when they grind to a halt. Focus like mad on what your instict is telling you. You are being interviewed, too, so best to keep your mouth shut.
4. Good suppliers respect attention to detail.
5. Pay employees well. Bonuses better.
6. Ignore your prejudices.
7. Don’t leave senior employees in any job too long. You will get the most out of any senior employee in their first year or two in a new position. After that, they enter a comfort zone.
A failure in the offing represents one of the only times that minority shareholders become a potential boon. If you can off-load your share of a failing company on them and shimmy out the door, then you should do so. They may be prepared to take over and attempt themselves to make a success from your failure.
Before you dump your dream into the gutter, ensure you do the rounds of other companies in your neck of the woods. It only takes two of them to become interested and you have the chance of getting an auction going.
== RECAP FOR IDLERS
You have to cut loose to get rich. There isn’t any other way.
You must cut yourself loose from naysayers and negative influences. They drain confidence and optimism from you. Often including your parents, lover, husband, or wife, and friends. They fear you’re placing yourself in harm’s way – and to them that’s not a good thing. They fear that if you should succeed, you will expose their own timidity to the light of day.
You must cut loose in your mind from your previous life. Getting rich comes from an attitude of mind. It isn’t going to happen if things drift on pretty much the way they are right now.
The world is full of money. Some of it has my name on it. All I have to do is collect it.
I have about a hundred good ideas every day.
You have to choose a new mine where you suspect there is money, or an old mine with a different angle to get rich. The right mountain. A great new mine right now is in telecommunications, or the internet, or legalized gambling. Property is always good. (You can start small in property and get lucky quickly. It’s a crowded market, though, for that very reason.)
Go for what attracts you. Go for something that exploits your natural talents.
Try for just a single day, a whole day when you refuse to acknowledge fear of failure, fear of making yourself look like an idiot, fear of losing your lover, fear of anything and of any kind. Fear will creep back, but laugh at it and tell it to take a hike. Go on. I dare you. If you can do it, this will transform your life. You will instantly perceive (among many other things) just how much money there is in the world, and how pitifully easy it is to obtain it. Money that already has your name on it.
It is fear that rules us. Love and respect and other such emotions make it bearable, at a price.
Watch out for blowhards. There are a lot of them out there and they are very negative influences. They can stop you from getting started, from getting going, from taking a massive running leap into the dark. Always remember that they want you to fail, just as they did. Ignore them.
== HOW TO STAY RICH
The faster you give it away, the more money will flow back to you. Not because of “karma”, but because you then spend less time defending it and more time making more of it.
Never loan it to friends. You will lose your friend as well as your money. Give, but don’t loan. Broadcast your policy loudly.
If you do not begin to isolate yourself pronto when you get rich, then you will be driven mad pretty swiftly.
Don’t develop plate-glass vision. Talk with random strangers.
The professionals who run your private wealth for you must be the classiest. There is no substitute for a first-class lawyer, tax advisor, accountant, auditor, estate manager, and business advisor. None.
Install good accounting systems the second you can afford it.
Never stop looking for talent and promoting talent.
More entrepreneurs get themselves into trobule by overreaching than exercising discipline.
Lead. Do not be led. You have employed smart people. Great. But you are their leader. If you sniff an opportunity, get them to consider it. If they still don’t get excited, take the project into your private office and begin it there. Do not leave the opportunity within the company to be sabotaged, focus-grouped and committeed to death.
If you’re bored with a business, sell it.
Try to sell before you have to. Try to sell them before their peak. Buyers require “blue sky” (further growth) to get excited and offer a great price.
Retirement will kill you.
Deliberately employ men and women who are smarter than you – and listen to them.