Those of you who attended The NATSO Show may remember that during my speech I shared that there is one thing Warren Buffet and I have in common, and, unfortunately for me, it’s not wealth. It is the belief that investing in yourself provides a higher return than any other investment you can make.
I am also a fan of Mr. Buffet’s Ten Rules of Success. A few months ago, I was at Jimmy John's in Watertown, S.D., when I saw a plaque on the wall listing the rules. The rules struck a chord with me, and I took a picture with my iPhone so I could refer back to them.
As fellow business owners, I think you’ll be able to relate to them as well. I’m sure that, like me, you’re already applying many of these to your business, but reading them can be refreshing.
First and foremost, Buffett recommends you reinvest your profits. This applies to businesses of all shapes and sizes and particularly to our industry. We all know that our businesses require constant maintenance and upkeep, and that requires a significant investment. However, with that investment, we make our businesses more valuable. While Buffett is a proponent of reinvesting profits, he also watches small expenses and limits what he borrows.
Buffett also advises fellow entrepreneurs to be willing to be different. As truckstop and travel plaza operators, we find our true success by finding our niche that sets us apart from our competition. He said, “Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.”
Buffett is known for making decisions, and he recommends others get the information they need and then act. Success comes from seizing opportunities. Yet, at the same time, Buffett tells us it is important to know when to quit. There is no reason to throw good money after bad. That may also be why he advises everyone to assess the risks of any situation. By thinking through both the best-case and worst-case scenarios, we can uncover the risks and rewards associated with any opportunity.
As business owners, we know that persistence pays off. Mr. Buffett reminds us of that in his rules, but he also reminds us to focus on the deal before we even get started. Bargaining power is the greatest before we start a job, so that is the time to spell out the details.
The final rule on Mr. Buffett’s list is to know what success really means. He said, “When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.”
I couldn’t agree more.
This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazine. Stop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations.
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