Warren Buffett’s Advice to Entrepreneurs

It takes a very special sort of person to be a entrepreneur. To take that leap and turn an idea into something more; to work hard and make things work. While there are plenty of examples of successful entrepreneurs, there are even more examples of failures. But, easily one of the best things you can do if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner is to learn from other successful business people.

And, with the power of a $200 billion company behind him, Warren Buffett is definitely among the most successful businessmen not in the country, but the world. Fortunately, he is occasionally willing to dole out the odd scrap of advice to anyone trying to follow in his steps. While we’ve written about his leadership advice, career lessons, rules for running a business, and even his advice to get rich, Buffett has a completely different piece of advice for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Warren Buffett, at the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses panel event last spring, gave attendees the following advice:

Tomorrow morning, when you look in the mirror after you’ve gotten up, just write — put it in lipstick or whatever you want on the mirror — just put ‘delight my customer.’

Now, at first that might seem pretty simple, but Buffett stressed that the phrase was not just ‘satisfy my customer’ but to go above and beyond to delight them. Small business owners can’t always afford to spend as much on marketing as they might like, but a delighted and happy customer will go and tell everyone they know about the experience.

In short, they will be acting almost as salespeople for your company, and their opinions will be taken with more weight than anyone you could pay to say the same thing.

“Your customer is going to get to vote and talk, and you want them out there as salesmen for you,” Buffett said. Delighting customers is the main ingredient for success as it not only helps increase business but also encourages repeat businesses. Customers might not remember, years down the road how much they bought something, but they will remember how you treated them and how they felt. “You will succeed if you have delighted customers,” Buffett said. “Don’t settle for satisfied.”

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