3 Small Business Tips from Warren Buffett

by Sean Ross

2 min read

Everyone’s favourite down-to-earth billionaire, Warren Buffett, is a gold mine of business wisdom and witticisms. He is not shy about the principles that lead to his success, and he often shares with other business owners about how to grow wealthy in his footsteps. Buffett is humble, hardworking, generous, and extremely successful. It’s probably a good idea to listen to any self-made businessperson who amassed $76 billion USD ($99.99 billion CAD). You may find that the Oracle of Omaha’s real value comes from his direct, easy-to-understand delivery.

Delight Your Customers

You may have heard this simple advice associated with Buffett before – it’s one of his most enduring quotes. As Buffett famously told the 20th graduating class from Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses at LaGuardia Community College, “Tomorrow morning, when you look in the mirror after you’ve gotten up, just write – or just put it in lipstick or whatever you want – ‘delight my customer.’ Not ‘satisfy my customer.’ ‘Delight my customer.'”Your customers are just as likely, or perhaps more likely, to remember a positive experience than a great deal. If your customers are delighted, that means they’re happy with your product/service, and they’re happy with your business on an emotional level. This, in turn, makes them more likely to return as customers and to tell friends or family about you. As Buffett elaborated, “Any business that has delighted customers has a salesforce out there that you don’t have to pay.”

Pick Good People to Be With and Work With

In an interview with Gillian Zoe Segal, author of the book “Getting There,” Buffett advised investors and business owners to hang around the best people the can find. “Hang out with people better than you, and you cannot help but improve.”Try to keep this in mind when you interview a new employee, pick a financial advisor or accountant, or sign into a partnership agreement. If you strive to create a culture of constant encouragement and improvement, your business (and your stress level) should improve accordingly.

Never Do Anything that You Wouldn’t Want Printed in the Newspaper

Buffett once told a Georgetown University crowd that, if they wanted to achieve mass fortune over the course of their lives, they should “never do anything in life if you would be ashamed of seeing it printed on the front page of your hometown newspaper for your friends and family to see.”One of the reasons Buffett can sustain long-term success is because he doesn’t cut corners, cheat people, or let his eyes get bigger than his stomach. He has never been hauled before a grand jury or convicted of business malpractice. Because his associates trust him, they are more willing to partner with him. Another good Buffett quip? “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”For your small business, it may be a good idea to create a company mission statement that spells out your values and code of conduct. This can remind your employees, customers, and family members about your commitment to running a virtuous and socially conscious business.

References & Resources

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