It’s always smart to learn from the best, and when it comes to business the best are usually the richest. Here are some key lessons straight from those that have practiced them to perfection.
Andrew Carnegie: think accurately
Andrew Carnegie was one of the richest men, and his philosophy was to donate all he’d earned in the latter third of his life. He also commissioned Napoleon Hill to study the most successful men and report about it in the book Think and Grow Rich. So of course he had much to say about what it means to have success in business.
One of his more famous lessons is to think accurately. This means different things to different people, but when you get down to the bottom of it he meant to think the best you can with the information you have available in the present moment, and make the best choices based on that information.
Once example of thinking accurately would be to eliminate information silos in your business. This would allow each department to share their information and be able to think more accurately within their own sphere of knowledge.
Warren Buffett: invest in intrinsic value
Warren Buffett is the master at buying undervalued companies based on what he sees as intrinsic value. Intrinsic value means that a company is able to create a steady flow of cash based on things that are definitely going to happen today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
One example is his large stake in the Coca Cola corporation. Warren knows that every day people are going to drink a Coca Cola product in one form or another, so the company will basically print money every day, automatically. There’s value built in to the company that is pretty much hands-free.
Bill Gates: have depth of vision
Bill Gates credits his depth of vision and being a bit lucky as the reasons why he was able to make his vast fortune with Microsoft. He could see where computers were headed before most people could, and he envisioned a plan on how to capitalize on it.
Instead of looking at an acorn and just seeing an acorn, practice seeing the tree it will become, or even better seeing a forest of trees that it could become.
John D. Rockefeller: borrow to grow faster
One of the richest men of his time, in today’s dollars he would be worth more than the top three billionaires combined. Rockefeller was not afraid to take on debt in the form of credit that allowed him to scale up his operations faster than his competition. After paying back all of his loans he was left with an enormous corporation that made him and much of his ancestors exceedingly wealthy.
If you see an opportunity you can use other people’s money to make the most out of it as you possibly can. Once you pay them back you’ll be left with a nice debt-free asset.
Jeff Bezos: failure comes with invention
Don’t be afraid to fail when you’re trying something new. Jeff Bezos is not only the head of Amazon, but also Blue Origin, a rocket company. He spends a billion a year to keep it afloat, and you can be sure much of that money is spent on spectacular failures. He’s so sure that one big success will cover all of those failures that he has no trouble funding it year after year.