Warren Buffett – Advice for Entrepreneurs

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February 13th, 2018 Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway CEO , talked about his personal experience in business and gave advice to small business owners. Warren Edward Buffett is a business magnate, investor, and philanthropist who serves as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

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thank You I Appreciate That One When You Get To Be People Stand And Applaud At The Start because They're Not Sure Whether You're going To Be Around At The End Of That and It's Great To Be With This Group And it It Was Eight Years Ago I Just Turned I Never Really Talked any Graduation Groups Or Anything Of The sort It Was Not On My Bucket List particularly And Then I Got Invited To go To LaGuardia To The LaGuardia Community College And And I Met A Truly remarkable Group That I Did You Know whether It Was Male Female Hispanic african-american Whatever It Might Be these People Had One Thing In Common You know They Knew They Had It In Themselves they Knew They Could Be Something Beyond where They Were They Were Willing To Put their Time Their Energies To Better themselves And Behind Them As I Saw When I Got To The Graduation On September nd They Had A Frequently They Had parents Who Were Crying As They Received it It Doesn't Receive The Degrees They had Spouses They Had Siblings It Was It was One Of The Great Experiences Of My life

And At That Point I Was Hooked so I Went To New Orleans I Went To Chicago I Went To Detroit I Went To Cleveland I Went To Baltimore And I Met the Most Remarkable Group Of People And if You'd Told Me That Twenty-two Or twenty-three Hundred Out Of All Those people Would Be Here Just Eight Years later Of Having Proven Yourself To yourself What You Really Could Do With more Skills It's Just Remarkable So I I would Like To Just Tell You A Couple Of short Stories And We'll Draw Maybe A couple Of Lessons From Them As I Came In Mike Bloomberg Was Talking and He He Talked About Immigrants And I echo His Remarks But I Would I Would like To Tell You Of Two Women That Each sold The Business To Berkshire Hathaway to Me Actually For Many Many Many millions Of Dollars Both Of Them Started with Twenty Five Hundred Dollars By A coincidence Was The Exact Same Ahmad It was Everything They Had In The World And one Of Them Was A Woman Who Landed In Seattle In couldn't Speak A Word Of English Had A Tag Around Her Neck The tag Said Fort Dodge Iowa The Red Cross got Her A Ford Dodge Where She Was reunited With Her Husband Who Had Come to The Country A Couple Of Years Earlier and She Lived In Fort Dodge For Two years And As She Put It She Felt Like A dummy She Couldn't Pick Up The Language and She Couldn't Learn A Word And So She decided And She And Her Husband Decided to Move To Omaha So They Came To Omaha in and There She Found A Small colony Of Russian Jews So She Started feeling More At Home And Then As Her oldest Daughter Went To School She Would come Home This Daughter Frances

And She would Teach Her Mother The Words She learned In School That Day And This woman Rose Bumpkin Spent years Saving money Bringing First Her Siblings Over her Mother And Father Fifty Dollars At A time She Sold Used Clothing To Do It She had Four Children During This Period And by after years she Saved $, She Went To Chicago And she Bought What She Could Have Furnished heard Her Dream Had Always Been To Open a Furniture Store and This Woman Would Never Gone To school One Day In Her Life With $, but With The Same Spirit That The People in This Room Had About Having A Dream and Working To Accomplish That Dream She built A Business Which She Sold Me In For million Dollars approximately In Which Which Did A billion And A Half Dollars Worth Of business Last Year The Fourth Generation is Working In That Business this Woman Rose Blumpkin Lived Well She she Worked For Me Until She Was and now Then I'm Not Said Then She Retired and She Died The Next Year Which Is The lesson To All Of Her Churns Managers A pretty Mature Retirement Nothing You can't Tell What's Going To Happen But mrs. B With Her $, One Further Fact about Her She Could Not Read Or Write and She Went Into A Furniture Business and She Didn't Bring Anything In Unique in Furniture But She Brought A determination To Succeed She Knew

She could Outwork Anyone Else She Knows She cared About Her Customers She Worked At very Low Gross Margins But She Built this Incredible Business And I Saw One other Woman Who Did A Similar Thing With $, I Paid Her Hundreds Of Billions of The Heart For Her Business So I decided To Go To The Source And Get these People Before You Know Like I Don't Want You Guys Coming Around To be Asking Me Hundreds Of Millions Of dollars I'd Like To Join In With You much Earlier So I'm I've Followed This group And Today I'd Like To Tell You about One Other Small Business Person this Person I Went To Buy His Business from Him And He Turned Me Down Which Was very Wise But This Was A Fellow Who Was born About Eight Years Before I Was He was Born In he Was A We'll Call Him jack Lived In The Midwest He Was A pretty Good Athlete Didn't Like School much And I'm Going To Tell You One Thing early In The Story Maybe You Can Figure out Who The Guy Was The Company He Built hires

More College Graduates Each Year than Any Other Company In The United States Had This Fellow Who Was Destined for This But Did Not Know It Jack What does College For A Year And Then Dropped out He Really Wasn't That Interested In the School And The Year He Dropped Out was and When The Country Became The United States Became Under Attack He went Down To The Army Air Force recruiting Station Volunteered And They turned Him Down Because He Had Hay Fever so He Went Over To The Navy And Again volunteered And They Took Him They Put him On An Aircraft Carrier he Flew Small Fighter Planes During World War Two Two Distinguished Flying crosses From The From The Navy And Then he Came Back To The Midwest So Now We've got A Young Guy Probably By This Time He would Be or years Old And The interesting Thing as He Got Back To The Midwest And He actually Kind Of Went From One Job To another For A Short Period Of Or Not such A Short Period Of Time And He finally Became A Used Car Salesman At the At A Cadillac Dealership In St. Louis Missouri And At Age having moved Up In The Organization The Sales organization He Said To His Boss Could I go Into Car Leasing Business With You the Boss Said Well If You'll Cut Your salary In Half And You'll Come Up With it Was $, Which He Borrowed We Can become Partners In A Car Leasing Company so My Friend Jack Started At Age at the Car Leasing Business And He Had seven Cars It Was Pretty Slow In Fact one Of The Things He Did Was Whenever the Phone Rang He Let It Ring Three Or four Times So People Would Think That He was Very Busy Answering Other Phones And of Course Was The Only

Call He Was Gonna get All Day So His First Venture Was okay But It Wasn't Really Going To Go anyplace And There's A Lesson In This for All Of Us At Age he Decided With Vehicles cars He Was Going To Go into Competition In The Rental And The rent-a-car Business So Now He's Taking on Hertz And Avis And National And people Like That Who Have Hundreds And hundreds Of Thousands Of Cars And He's got cars And His Cars Aren't Any different Than Theirs I Mean He's Buying them From General Motors Or Ford Or Chrysler And He Can't Get The Airport locations Those Companies Have Them All sewed Up But He Was Determined That He would Basically Offer The Customer Got all From A Different Car But He Can offer Him Friendlier Service Than they've Ever Seen and So He Started The Company He Named it After The Battleship That He'd Flown from In The Pacific Which Was The USS Enterprise And He Died About The Year and A Half Ago But When He Died His rent-a-car Company Starting With Those seventeen Cars Was Worth More Than Hertz and Avis And All The Rest Of The Rental cars Put Together The Man's Name Was Jack Taylor And His Son Andy Tailors Of the Friend Of Mine Runs The Business Now a Grandchild Was In The Business they'll Probably A Fourth Generation long Line So This This Man In The United States He Didn't Invent Artificial intelligence You Know

He Didn't Do anything That Just Like Mrs. B Selling furniture I Mean That Any One Of Us could Have Entered Those Businesses But he Lived By Them By The Creed Basically of Of Delighting His Customers And working With People And Establishing The relationship With Them So That They In turn Would Wanted To Light The Customers even He Couldn't Go Out There And Take care Of Every Ronald Clark possibility But He He Learned How To project Himself And His Attitude Toward his Fellow Man And His Desire You Know to Make A Friend Out Of Every Customer he Managed To Take Very Ordinary Cars and Turn Them Into This Extraordinary business From Virtually Nothing At And it Illustrates Several Points One Is You don't Necessarily Get It Right To further Exactly Right The First Time I mean The Car Leasing Business You Know basically We're Competing On The Cost Of money To Finance Cars And and It's Very Hard To Delight A Customer went To Just Give Him The Car And Tell him Send You A Monthly Check For Five years And You'll Be Back At That Time So his Talents Were Being Wasted Basically in That Business But At The Age Of With All About Experience Behind Him He found He He He Found The Golden Key And he He Took A Very Ordinary Business And turned It Into An Absolutely extraordinary Operation Just Like Mrs. B a Rose Bumpkin Did With Furniture And the He Didn't Worry About Whether The Federal Reserve Was Mine To Tighten Her ease He Didn't Worry About Whether The stock Market Was Up Or Down Yesterday he Didn't He Didn't Worry About The things He Couldn't Change But He Did worry He Did Focus On The One Thing He could Change

And That Was The Customers experience And I Have Seen The One I didn't The One That Got Away Enterprise I Went Down To Florida And Tried To Talk him Into Selling The Burner And He Was smart Enough Not To Do It Probably The value Of The Company Is Quadrupled Since I Made That Visit But He He Was Smart enough To See That He Would Find That business Henry Ford As You May Know failed Twice Before He Started The Ford Motor Company In I Mean The The test Isn't Whether You Get The Greatest does This Idea In The World The First time Out The Test Is Whether You Keep learning As You Go Along What Your strengths Are And What You Can Do For your Customers What You Can Bring especially To The Party And To Do That you Need You Need The Education That that I Know You've Received Through , Small Businesses But You Need A genuine a Genuine Desire Day-in Day-out To delight The Customer I've Never I've never Seen A Business I've Seen A Lot Of businesses But I've Never Seen One That delight The Customer That That Doesn't succeed I Mean What You Want Is That customer The Next Day When They Think Do I Want To Rent A Car Or Do I Want To Buy some Furniture What Goes Through Their mind You Know It's The Place Where they've Had A Great Experience I Don't know What I Paid For This Type

Actually probably If Somebody Gave It To Me For the Purposes Of The Speech I Will Say I I Have No Idea But Why They Are The shirt I'm Wearing Others But I Do Know I will Remember How I Was Treated What I bought It I Mean You Long Forget About the Price But You Never Forget Whether you Had A Good Experience Or A Porridge furnace With The Purchase Experience And you'll Have A Hard Time Finding A Person that's Had A Wonderful Experience Of The lighted Experience In Purchasing anything That Isn't Going To Come Back and Similarly If The Memory Is Of rudeness Indifference And I'm Whatever it May Be They're Never Going To Come back And As A Small Business Owner And as You Grow You Have To Not Only Be Able to Project That Interest In People's well-being In Delighting Them Yourself but You Have To Do It Through Other people And You Won't Be Able To Do It through People Who Themselves Do Not feel They're Being Fairly Treated That their Views Aren't Aren't Appropriately considered So You Really Do Have To learn To Multiply Yourself Through Other people And I Advise I Advise The Young people To Come To Oman We Have A Lot Of a Number Of Classes And The Key Is To Is to Certainly In Terms Of Your Personal life The Most Important Decision You make Me You'll Make Is Is The Spouse that Most Of You Will Likely Have And it's Very Important To Surround Your people

Yourself With People Are The better Than You Are You Are Going To move In The Direction Of The People You associate With So You'll Constantly I've Been Enormously Lucky In That respect I'm You Know The I've Just Had teachers And And Friends And A Spouse that Really Was A Better Person I Was and I Had Enough Sense To Learn From these People That That Life Went Better if You Behave Better Yourself And It took A While So I I Advise You To Seek out As Your Partner In Business Your partner Life Whatever It May Be Look For the People That Actually Are Examples To you Rather Than Somebody That You Need to Do You Think You Need To Straighten out Yourself And Simple Rules Like That the Lighting Customers Working Through other People Associated With People Live alone Will Cause You To Move In A Better path That You Might Otherwise Have They will Take You So Far In Life That It's hard To Believe I Mean They They Took rose Bumpkin Without Being Able To Speak a Word Of English And Couldn't Read Or write

And They Took Her To What Is Now A billion And A Half Dollar Business And then Certainly There's Been No Money Put in It Since The Twenty-five Hundred dollars that's Been The Total Capital Payton And in The Nebraska Furniture Mart And I think If You Looked At Enterprise I don't Know Their Books The Same Way But my Guess Is That That Very Little Equity capital Has Been Added To Enterprise over The Years The The Business Built On itself So I Want To Tell You I Admire this Group Enormous Lee When I When I met Dr. Melos Class On September Nd eight Years Ago I I Was Thrilled And I I admire People That Are Doing What You have Done Youth You Know Working Hard At your Job At The Same Time You Took On and Added And Added really A Lot Of Hard Work To Further your Skills % Graduate A Minute It's A mind-blowing Statistic And I'm Looking at I'm Looking I'm Looking At , people Here Who I Admired I'm Cheering for You And I Can Tell You The Best Is yet To Come thank You

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