Welcome to the Weekend Spa. Frugal of My 1st Million at 33 checks in as this week’s Friday Spotlight Guest. His reader-friendly blog is filled with savvy information about stocks, real estate and other insights about the capital markets.
As this week's Friday spotlight guest, My 1st Million at 33 provides the story-behind the numbers with a personal essay about his father and lessons in business ethics.
What My Father Taught Me About Business
by Frugal of My 1st Million at 33
My father is only a high school graduate. But all of his three children have at least a master's degree. He may not know anything about calculus or quantum physics. However as a successful businessman, he has taught me a few things about how to be a good businessman. He said to me: "A good business is a business in which you let people take out of their money to buy your stuff, and still smile and shake your hands."
My Dad's teaching may sound very plain, but the more I contemplate over it, the more I glean from his insightful words. Every business involves certain exchanges of money and goods or services. But to gain any repeat business, you must make your customers happy. A good business is always win-win. You must provide something of real value to the customers, and in return, you also profit from it. If you are simply trying to cheat money out of your customers, your business cannot last.
Although I have not yet started any business of my own, everytime when I look into any business opportunities, I always ask myself these questions:
* Can I provide any values to my customers?
* What additional values can I deliver to my customers, that my competitors cannot?
If I can answer the above two questions satisfactorily, then I know very well that I can make it into a good business according to my Dad's criterion.
Some people including myself may think that a businessman makes a boatload of dirty money by telling lies and trying to trick money out of your pocket. I never like to lie to people, and so I never wanted to become a businessman. I just cannot tell my customers: "oh! you're getting a great deal," while I'm making lots of profits from it.
But throughout the years of possibly wanting to start a business of my own, I finally realized that being a good businessman is so far from making money by telling lies. Being a good businessman is about delivering values to customers at a lower cost relative to fierce competitors. Ultimately, I grew up from a teenager who couldn't appreciate my father's profession to an adult who understands how difficult it is to "let people take out of their money to buy your stuff, and still smile and shake your hands."
Since then, I have applied the same principle to my dealings with others. To have a lasting partnership or relationship, one must treat the other party like customers, and deliver values in exchange of what you want. I like to be treated fairly, and likewise, everyone else wants to be treated fairly too.
I will never give the short end of a stick to my partners, and always try to be as fair as possible. To do otherwise is called exploitation of your employees or your partners. You can try to put any word spin on it, but facts are facts. A successful partnership is a win-win situation. A lasting relationship is mutually beneficial to each other.
To give values to others, whether it's tangible or intangible, you will be rewarded in the long term. Such is the basic principle of a good business.
--My 1st Million at 33