How did we do it? I get asked that often. Here is one of the main messages in this whole book: It is not fancy. It is as fundamental as blocking and tackling. I just did it. I just went to work every day and did everything that needed to be done.
I have a three-legged milk stool in my office perched on top of a cabinet. It is a great symbol for how to succeed in business. There are three legs: Take care of the customer, have a little fun, make a little money. If you don't do that, it doesn't work, but if you do, it comes together easily....
I learned that too many people who become bosses don't understand the market or work as hard as they should.
Here's a classic trap: A businessman is successful with one business, so he thinks two or three or four would be even better. This changes the equation dramatically. With one operation, you can be there yourself and use the sheer force of your personality to drive it, but as soon as you get two you're dividing your time; you need someone who is strong and good enough to run the other business. It's going to be more difficult to make a profit. Other people don't care about it as much as you do. There are some who work hard, but they are few....
Good people are hard to find, but they're there. We've got many good people in our organization. The trick is to find them jobs that keep them interested and match their talents and what they want to do (not everyone is a boss). Then you have a happy, motivated work force. In our company, we give our general managers the opportunity to buy 10 percent of the dealerships they manage. We prefer that they do this-obviously, someone who has a financial stake in the business is motivated to work hard and make the business a success.
Consider this: On January 5, I paid tithing for the first time. On February 17, I was demoted. On April 6, I bought a car dealership. By May 31, I had sold 172 cars and was off and running in the car business. People might say this was a coincidence, but how many coincidences need to occur before they're not considered coincidences? When I began paying my tithing, that was absolutely the beginning. Then I was demoted and it forced me out of a situation where I thought I would be indefinitely. There were forces at work that sent me back to Utah.
No, no no no, you got into this business because you're funny and you're weird and you're socially retarded, and you also got into because it pays well...
Obsess over customers, not competitors
Modern-day prophets have pled in plainness for us to avoid "get-rich-quick" schemes if we would avoid the heartaches of financial bondage. Perhaps we have not said enough about the fact that too many of us, in our moments of dreaming of grandeur, plant the seeds of economic disaster. Then at a later date when much is lost, we blame those who participated with us. It is difficult to be of good cheer when self-deceit is our companion. When we willingly expose ourselves to the winds and storms of fraud and scam, we should not be surprised when we come down with deficit disease. Over the years of listening to those who have suffered heavy money losses, I have heard many in desperation declare, "I was taken." Often my heart, mind, and the Spirit have prompted me to share, "Yes, you were taken by yourself." We all need to be encouraged to lift up our heads and see where our thoughts and undeclared priorities are taking us. Self-deceit permits us to blame others for our failures.
"The cares of the world" (D&C 40:12), said the Lord, have taken many away from the real path, the real work, for the cares of the world quickly become our sole concern. Brigham's favorite word for Satan's trick was "decoy"---the work ethic decoys us away from the work we should be doing. Mammon is a jealous god and will not tolerate a competitor. But we get the idea that the only virtues are business virtues.
RUN A HOME LIKE A BUSINESS Make a budget and keep track of earnings, expenses and debts. And structure your business as a partnership; when it comes to making big financial decisions and setting goals, do it together. “When they are making the decisions together, they really have ownership of those decisions and any results of those decisions,” said Mary Ann Sisco, national wealth adviser at JPMorgan's private wealth management division. “Even if you have negative results, you tend to weather the storm better.”