Wisdom from Warren

Wisdom from Warren

Legendary investor Warren Buffett is known for placing pearls of wisdom in his annual letter to shareholders. These often reflect his practical, down-to-earth attitude. We’ve adapted some of his advice for Copreneurs.

  1. Keep calm in the face of volatility – Big rewards are often found in the midst of chaos. New discoveries are made on the other side of rough seas. But only if you can keep your wits about you.
  2. Keep good company – Whether it’s employees or business partners, good people are hard to find. When you do, be sure to keep them around. (‘Til death do us part, you could say.)
  3. Keep your focus – Buffett observed that often “managerial intellect wilted in competition with managerial adrenaline.” The allure of the new and exciting is real…and dangerous when it distracts us from paying attention to what is old and boring and absolutely necessary.
  4. Keep costs low – It’s not rocket science, but being the low cost provider is a powerful competitive advantage.  Easy to understand. Not easy to execute. (See #3)
  5. Keep out of trouble – “If we can’t tolerate a possible consequence, remote though it may be, we steer clear of planting its seeds.”  This is basic risk management – eliminate the possibility of catastrophic failure. Or, as Buffett’s business partner, Charlie Munger put it, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.”
  6. Keep it small – Small vs. big is relative and can vary from business to business and industry to industry. The important thing is to be only as big as necessary, and not big enough to get bogged down in bureaucracy.
  7. Keep your reputation – With the public, with your customers and suppliers, and especially with your partner. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

This Week: 

Take a minute to review the list. Which one piece of wisdom would have the most positive impact on your business? What are you committed to taking on together?

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

–The Oracle of Omaha