"Your book is terrific. It contains helpful advice and is easy to read. " - Warren Buffett "This is 24-carat advice a real gem for any aspiring entrepreneur. " Harvey Mackay, author of the no. 1 New York Times bestseller, Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive "Who better to teach us all about managing and growing a business than Barnett Helzberg? His honesty and upfront perspective on management and business principles should be required reading for a wide audience. " Henry W. Bloch, Cofounder and Honorary Chairman, H&R Block, Inc. "What I Learned Before I Sold to Warren Buffett is based on thirty-nine years of hard work and experience. It is interesting and instructive, and I highly recommend it. " Bob Dole Although the chances of receiving a phone call from Warren Buffett are small, the chances of developing a highly successful company are better than you may think. All you need to succeed is a burning desire and the right set of entrepreneurial skills.
In What I Learned Before I Sold to Warren Buffett, Barnett Helzberg shares his thirty years of experience in running a successful business and outlines the steps needed to prosper within a challenging business environment.
Table of Contents
A Confession of Plagiarism. Selling to the World's Best Investor. Know Thyself: What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur. Helzberg. Hints. Part I: Managing. 1 Concern Yourself with Only the Controllables. 2 Making Your Business Different. 3 Highest and Best Use of Your Time. 4 Super Service: Friend to the Entrepreneur. 5 Keeping Customers. 6 Your Complaining Customers: Your Greatest Opportunity. 7 Managing Risk. 8 Should Incentives Be Based on Profit or Volume? 9 Consultants: Bane or Bargain? 10 Keeping Your Ego in Check. 11 Setting Specific Measurable Goals. 12 Believing in People. 13 Never Burn a Bridge. 14 Planning for Disaster. 15 Turnaround Time at Helzberg Diamonds. 16 Testing New Ideas: Stacking Your Deck for Success. 17 How to Avoid Overreacting to Problems. 18 Integrity: A Long-Run Profit Maker. 19 Having Fun. 20 What Are Profits For? 21 A Sense of Urgency. 22 Execution Is the Key, Not the Idea. Part II: Decision Making. 23 Learning and Growing from Your Mistakes. 24 The Paralysis of Analysis versus Knee-Jerk Decisions. 25 Embracing Growing Markets. 26 Borrowing Wisdom and Knowledge about Your Business. 27 Gathering Information. 28 Following Your Gut: When You Should Trust Your Own Feelings. 29 Priceless Information: Focus Groups. 30 Treasure the Contrarian: Why Constructive Criticism Is Healthy. 31 Sticking by Your Overall Objective: Why a Quick Profit Can Be a Bad Detour. 32 On Not Giving Up! 33 On Giving Up! 34 Judging Your Customer's World, Not Your Own World. 35 Do You View Your Associates As Go-Getters or Slackers? 36 The Positive Fallout from Enron. 37 How to Have Uncanny Luck. 38 Prehistoric Man Looks at Going Public. 39 What Did I Learn? 40 How to Raise Your Prices. 41 An Open Letter to the Entrepreneur to Be. 42 Should You Make the Plunge? Part III: Hiring. 43 Hiring Wisely: How to Choose Good People. 44 When to Look Outside or Stay Inside to Fill That Job. 45 Hiring the Right Lawyer, CPA, or Other Professional. 46 Building on Everyone's Strengths. 47 Selling to and Hiring Friends and Relatives. Part IV: Inspiring. 48 Recognizing Great Work: How to Motivate Associates. 49 Encouraging High Achievers. 50 Leaving Your Campsite Better Than You Found It! 51 Ownership. 52 On Humility and Arrogance. 53 When Bad News Is Good News. 54 Expectations. 55 Unintended Consequences. Part V: Communicating. 56 Digging Out the Answer. 57 How to Kill New Ideas and Communication. 58 Listening and Learning: Why Silence Is a Valuable Skill. 59 Mentors: Pro and Con. 60 Building and Retaining Your Credibility. 61 The Question Is Not, "Are You Teaching?" The Question Is, "What Are You Teaching?" 62 Dignifying Every Task: How to Win Your Associates' Commitment and Use Their Expertise. 63 Asking: The Best Communication. 64 Negotiating: Learn It or Delegate It. 65 In Marketing, Don't Say It-Be It. 66 Preparing for Controversial Meetings. 67 Shortening Those Damn Meetings and Making Them More Effective! 68 Marty Ross's Magic Follow-Up System. 69 Your Struggle to Get Honest Feedback. 70 To Lunch or Not to Lunch with Your Client, Supplier, or Associate. 71 Avoid Those Buzzwords and Alphabet Soup. 72 Should You Communicate Your Success? 73 Avoiding the Use of "I"-and Using It Properly. 74 No Surprises. 75 Care and Feeding of Your Associates. 76 Care and Feeding of Your Suppliers. 77 Care and Feeding of Your Lenders. Part VI: Focusing. 78 What Business Are You Really In? 79 Balancing Your Life ... Work, Play, Children, Health, and Money. 80 Giving Back. Appendix A Recommended Readings.
BARNETT C. HELZBERG, Jr., former president and CEO of Helzberg Diamonds, Inc. from 1962 to 1995, a period of success during which he led the expansion of the family-owned business from fewer than thirty jewelry stores to 143 stores in twenty-three states. Under Helzberg's leadership, the company defined the concept of placing jewelry stores in shopping malls and earned a national reputation for profitable, customer-focused operations. Its average per store sales of more than $2 million in 1994 were more than double the industry average. In a November 1994 industry report, Goldman Sachs said Helzberg Diamonds set the industry standard for customer service, calling the company the "Nordstrom of the jewelry business."