Fresh. Contemporary. Modern. Photography for the fashion-inspired bride.

Warren Buffett’s Ten Rules

So, as much as I hate to admit it, this quarter I’m actually learning some helpful things in my classes (all six of them – well, except accounting!). I’ve started compiling some of the things that are relevant to my business in a notebook, but as I’m sort of turning this blog into a documentation of my journey, I thought I’d put some of them on here. That way I can reflect on them more than when I’m copying them down in class.

This post, however, does not come from class. My best friend and I went to Jimmy John’s yesterday for lunch, and if you’ve been there at least once you know about the epic signs they have. I couldn’t help but take a photo of the Warren Buffett sign to have the info to keep. And now I’ll share it with you. Warren Buffett’s Ten Rules.

No. 1: Reinvest Your Profits
When you first make money, you may be tempted to spend it. Don’t. Instead, reinvest the profits. Buffett learned this early on. In high school, he and a pal bought a pinball machine to put in a barbershop. With the money they earned, they bought more machines until they had eight in different shops. When the friends sold the venture, Buffett used the proceeds to buy stocks and to start another business.

No. 2: Be Willing to Be Different
Don’t base your decisions upon what everyone is saying or doing. When Buffett began managing money in 1956 with $100,000 cobbled together from a handful of investors, he was dubbed an oddball. He worked in Omaha, not on Wall Street, and he refused to tell his partners where he was putting their money. People predicted that he’d fall, but when he closed his partnership 14 years later, it was worth more than $100 million.

No. 3: Never Suck Your Thumb
Gather in advance any information you need to make a decision, and ask a friend or relative to make sure that you stick to a deadline. Buffett prides himself on swiftly making up his mind and acting on it. He calls any unnecessary sitting and thinking “thumb-sucking.”

No. 4: Spell Out the Deal Before You Start
Your bargaining leverage is always greatest before you begin a job – that’s when you have something to offer that the other party wants. Buffett learned this lesson the hard way as a kid, when his grandfather Earnest hired him and a friend to dig out the family grocery store after a blizzard. The boys spent five hours shoveling until they could barely straighten their frozen hands. Afterward, his grandfather gave the pair less that 90 cents to split.

No. 5: Watch Small Expenses
Buffett invests in business run by managers who obsess over the tiniest costs. He once acquired a company whose owner counted the sheets in rolls of 500-sheet toilet paper to see if he was being cheated (he was). He also admired a friend who painted only the side of his office building that faced the road.

No. 6: Limit What You Borrow
Buffett has never borrowed a significant amount – not to invest, not for a mortgage. He has gotten many heartrending letters from people who thought their borrowing was manageable but became overwhelmed by debt. His advice: Negotiate with creditors to pay what you can. Then, when you’re debt-free, work on saving some money that you can invest.

No. 7: Be Persistent
With tenacity and ingenuity, you can win against a more established competitor. Buffett acquired the Nebraska Furniture Mart in 1983 because he liked the way its founder, Rose Blumkin, did business. A Russian immigrant, she built the mart from a pawnshop into the largest furniture store in North America. Her strategy was to undersell the big shots, and she was a merciless negotiator.

No. 8: Know When to Quit
Once, when Buffett was a teen, he went to the racetrack. He bet on a race and lost. To recoup his funds, he bet on another race. He lost again, leaving him with close to nothing. He felt sick – he had squandered nearly a week’s earnings. Buffett never repeated that mistake.

No. 9: Assess the Risks
In 1995, the employer of Buffett’s son, Howie, was accused by the FBI of price-fixing. Buffett advised Howie to imagine the worst- and best-case scenarios if he stayed with the company. His son quickly realized the risks of staying far outweighed any potential gains, and he quit the next day.

No. 10: Know What Success Really Means
Despite his wealth, Buffett does not measure success by dollars. In 2006, he pledged to give away almost his entire fortune to charities, primarily the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He’s adamant about not funding monuments to himself – no Warren Buffett buildings or halls. “When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you lived your life.”

I love how some of these can totally be used in everyday life. It’s definitely challenging (number 3 especially!) for me. I have a couple more posts from Jimmy John’s signs (there’s just so much inspiration and wisdom in there!) so you can look for those in the coming days.

And just because photos are fun, here’s one of the snow that fell yesterday. Sage had a blast outside, and I froze my hands off!

Happy Wednesday!

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One response

  1. Rachel,
    First let me start by saying I love your photography, but I also love your blog. I love the way you think. The photos you took of Wayne Rawson and his finace totally catch Wayne’s personality. I don’t know Michelle at all except via facebook but I do know Wayne quite well and you captured his quietness, seriousness, chivalry, and spunk in the most profound way. This post about Warren Buffet tells me that not only are you creative and fun, you are also serious and driven! Great work on the blog and I love the photos that you take. Keep it up!

    January 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm

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