Here are some more bookmarks from Felix Dennis’ book How to Get Rich.
One: He doesn’t let spite get the best of him. When people who are on their way up decide to leave Felix Dennis’ company and set up their own, Dennis has a rather interesting approach (p. 16).
I always wish them well. Not only outwardly, but in my heart, too. Often I throw a party for them. Or write glowing testimonials. Once or twice I have even underwritten their office lease or introduced them to a banker or a lawyer I trust. Why do I react this way?
Three reasons. Firstly, I’m proud of them.
Second, it’s win-win. If they fail, they may well return to our company, especially if they remember that my senior colleagues and I sincerely wished them success in their new venture. Thus, if they fail, the company will be enhanced by their return. While if they should succeed — then we will be all richer for having an old alumnus as a friendly rival in the industry, rather than having created an enemy who wishes us anything but well.
Lastly, it’s because I fear them. I fear they may have spotted something we may have missed, some gap in the market. I fear we may have failed to listen to them. I fear that their new venture will grow at our expense while it poaches our personnel and our market share. And the only way to deal with fear is to cozy up to it.
Two: He’s always looking for the next hit. One of his cardinal virtues is to listen and learn. He has four assistants assigned to handle the strangers that want to bring ideas to him (p. 129 – 133).
Why? Because I want to hear what they have to say. …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 you can bring into play as an entrepreneur. And yet I’m familiar with numerous senior executives running large companies who might spend two or three weeks in between listening to a “stranger”–or a “minion.”
He goes on to give advice on courtesy and how to handle meetings from outsiders and insiders. I especially appreciated this one:
…what of the young lady who works for your company and brought you (or her manager), the great idea that worked so well?
If you’re a sensible, decent, worthwhile human being, you will reward her handsomely and promote her. And you will thank her publicly.
If you’re a rotten, ingrate scumbag, without any decent feelings whatever, you will not reward her. And you’ll get rich. But perhaps not quite as rich as a more enlightened owner. Because if your clever employee has had one such great idea, she may well have another later. And she is unlikely to stay working for a company that stiffed her so badly, or to hand them another gem, isn’t she?
Three: It looks like he uses the experimentation model I described in this post to keep business growing (p. 123).
I am one of the richest self-made men in Britain for two reasons. I own my own company outright, and I began to make more baskets [as in don’t put all your eggs in one basket] the minute the first had a few eggs in it.
Take any business and any idea. You need focused, tunnel vision to get it on the road and to begin to make some money. You can expand it, maybe franchise it or take it to other cities or even other countries. But, in reality, it is still the same basket with a lot more eggs.
If you had created a chain of fast-food stores, then it would be unwise to leave matters there. Public tastes chance and customers are fickle. To protect your investment, you would need to create new baskets.
Dennis then explains that Chock full o’Nuts is the more successful basket from a former shelled nut chain store and convinced me to finally buy a can of it on my next trip to the store (I’ve been looking at that can for years trying to figure it out).
Four: Proper definition of persistence (p. 112):
Stubbornness is not persistence. Stubbornness implies you intend to persist despite plentiful evidence that you should not. A stubborn person fears to be shown he or she is wrong.
“Persistence” is a vital attribute for those who wish to become rich, or wish to achieve anything worthwhile for that matter. As is ability to acknowledge that one has made a mistake and that a new plan of action must now be made. Any such acknowledgment is not a weakness, it is a sign of clear thinking. In its way, it is kind of persistence in itself. Try, try try again, does not mean doing what has already failed, over and over again.
Many folks I know mistake stubbornness for persistence.