This is an article that came via email today, which I thought made interesting reading. Once again am sharing with you.
Author: Randall Jones
Some of the richest people around did not depend on the stock market (or an inheritance) to achieve their wealth. And often what they did went against the common wisdom.
W. Randall Jones, founder of Worth magazine, tracked down the richest men and women (average net worth: $3.5 billion) in 100 American cities and towns to find out how they achieved their financial success, and to explore what the rest of us can do in these difficult times to benefit from their examples. Among the surprising lessons…
DON’T SET GOALS
The conventional wisdom says that extensive career and business planning are crucial, but the richest man in town is more likely to believe that planning inhibits success. Most of these rich men and women don’t plot a course that is more detailed than “get up each morning and do better than the day before.”
What’s wrong with goals and plans? Too often, those who set them feel obliged to stick with them even when changing circumstances render the plans obsolete. Being ready to adapt to changing circumstances is a better policy.
Example: Jim Oelschlager, the richest man in Akron and founder of the investment company Oak Associates, Ltd., says that the only business plan he ever had was “answer the phone if it rang.”
One day, a manager at his employer at the time, Firestone, asked him to manage its pension plan. This experience allowed him to create a series of successful mutual funds later on.
Despite the challenge of having multiple sclerosis, Oelschlager was able to take advantage of the best opportunities that came his way even when they were not what he expected. Over the years, Oak Associates has profitably expanded — and Oelschlager also started CyGem, an information technology company, and Oak Air airline charters. Oelschlager believes that if he had moved his company in the direction he wanted to go rather than the direction that client feedback led him, “we would have failed miserably.”
DON’T SEEK GLAMOUR
The best types of businesses for wealth creation tend to be those not generally considered very lucrative or glamorous.
Examples: James Haslam, the richest man in Knoxville, Tennessee, and owner of Pilot Travel Centers, LLC, made his money in truck stops… Bruce Halle, the richest man in Scottsdale, Arizona, and founder of Discount Tire, made his by selling car tires… David Green, the richest man in Oklahoma City and founder of Hobby Lobby Creative Centers, became a billionaire through an arts-and-crafts supply business.
The trouble with sectors that are associated with glamour and extreme wealth is that there already are many very intelligent people trying to make their fortunes there. Big money can be made in Hollywood… in computer technology…in real estate — but those fields are so crowded with established players that the person who makes that money probably won’t be you. It is better to find a sector where others see less potential… but where you have your greatest skills.
Example: Hartley Peavey, the richest man in Meridian, Mississippi, and the founder of Peavey Electronics, loved playing music but realized that there were so many talented would-be musicians in the world that the odds were stacked against his finding success as one. Peavey was very good at building things, so he made his fortune by building instruments and amplifiers rather than playing guitar, which he also still enjoys.
FOSTER RELATIONSHIPS IN YOUR OFF HOURS
With a recession raging, how to spend off hours is the furthest thing from most of our minds these days. We are too worried about our careers to take much time away from business… and too worried about our depleted savings to treat acquaintances to fancy dinners.
The richest man in town knows that playing golf, tennis or poker… attending fund-raisers and parties…and going out to dinner are not just things to do for fun. Off-hour socializing is when networks are formed with other local businesspeople and trust is built with colleagues and potential clients.
Example: Dan Duncan, the chairman of the energy company Enterprise Products Partners and the richest man in Houston, says that socializing with other businesspeople is vital because “I want them to call me first when they want to do a deal.”
DON’T TRY TO CREATE WEALTH — TRY TO CREATE VALUE
Even when the economy is weak, potential customers still have needs. And they appreciate value, especially if they are spending far less than before. If a business can serve those needs and offer value in good times and bad, wealth should eventually follow.
The richest man in town typically did not set out to become fabulously wealthy. More often, he saw a problem that he could fix or a market that was poorly served and decided that he had a better solution.
Example: There were other antivirus software programs on the market when John McAfee, the richest man in Rodeo, New Mexico, and founder of McAfee Software, unveiled his program in the 1980s. But while the other antivirus software designers tried to sell their products and worried about illegal copying, McAfee gave away his software for free so that it would benefit as many computer users as possible. McAfee’s program soon dominated the market, and he made his fortune by selling upgrades.
SOURCE Bottom Line/Wealth interviewed New York City-based W. Randall Jones, founder of Worth magazine. He spent two years traveling the US visiting 100 places in all 50 states to interview the wealthiest man or woman in each for his book The Richest Man in Town (Business Plus).