Investing in Great Businesses: Warren Buffett

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 3-4  minutes

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Investing= “Allocating resources to improve quality of life.”         -Tim Ferriss

After reading a blog post from Tim Ferriss regarding lessons from Warren Buffett, I decided to compile the key takeaways.

If there is one thing you should know: Never, never, never invest in something you don’t understand better than the majority.

Here is how to think of the great, good and gruesome companies:
To sum up, think of three types of “savings accounts.” The great one pays an extraordinarily high interest rate that will rise as the years pass. The good one pays an attractive rate of interest that will be earned also on deposits that are added. Finally, the gruesome account both pays an inadequate interest rate and requires you to keep adding money at those disappointing returns. (2007)

Determining if a business is a great business:

• Those that have high returns on capital and that require little incremental investment to grow. (2009)
• High returns, a sustainable competitive advantage and obstacles that make it tough for new companies to enter.
• A truly great business must have an enduring “moat” that protects excellent returns on invested capital. (2007)
• “Moats”—a metaphor for the superiorities they possess that make life difficult for their competitors. (2007) Moats can widen or shrink.
• Long-term competitive advantage in a stable industry is what we seek in a business. (2007)
• One question I always ask myself in appraising a business is how I would like, assuming I had ample capital and skilled personnel, to compete with it. (1983)
• A great business has pricing power or the power to raise prices without losing business to a competitor
• An economic franchise arises from a product or service that: (1) Is needed or desired; (2) Is thought by its customers to have no close substitute and; (3) Is not subject to price regulation.
• The best protection against inflation is a great business: (1) Has the ability to increase prices rather easily (even when product demand is flat and capacity is not fully utilized) without fear of significant loss of either market share or unit volume
• Businesses needing little in the way of tangible assets simply are hurt the least.
• Customer goodwill creates economic goodwill
• It’s far better to have an ever-increasing stream of earnings with virtually no major capital requirements. Ask Microsoft or Google (2007).

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How to Become One of the All Time Greats: 5 Keys

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-3 minutes

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“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”- Barack Obama

Over the past few days I listened to the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. I heard about this book after reading Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. He continually referred to it so I said to myself: let me give this a shot. It was on my “To Read” list, but I never got around to getting it.

This book had some great takeaways and I wanted to share those with you.

  1. To be a great leader, your decisions and actions need to be about the company and not yourself
    • The leader does not let his ego get in the way of making decisions.
    • The leader is not concerned about fame or his salary.
    • When the company succeeds: the leader says it is because of the entire company, each and every employee. The leader believes they are lucky to be at such an amazing place.
    • When the company makes a poor decision: the leader takes full responsibility.
    • The leader will put the company first and do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal.

 

  1. Who before what
    • It is about hiring the right people
    • One needs disciplined people who you can trust will do an amazing job and will continue to “break new ceilings”
    • Wait until you find the right person, as it will help your team to succeed rather than spend the time training someone who might have had some red flags

 

  1. Managers should manage the system not the people
    • When you have the right people from the get go, a manager should manage the system to help make the team more productive and effective

 

  1. The goal/vision for your team should be simple
    • Ask yourself: What can we be the best at?
    • Continually ask yourself: Is the decision I am making getting our team closer to the goal?
    • Stay focused, present and don’t let the sunk cost fallacy get in your way

 

  1. A culture of your own
    • Bring in the right people that are aligned with your culture and values
    • Make your workplace lively and fun. A place where you are excited to come in each and every day.
    • Work should not just be work. It should be a place full of friends that are there for you, with that same passion and fire under their feet.

 

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More about Maxwell Fayans

For book suggestions: The Maxwell Fayans Book Club

Live Worry Free: Tips from the great Dale Carnegie

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2 minutes

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Remind yourself that the only things you can control are your thoughts and actions. Everything else is uncontrollable. -Ryan Holiday, Daily Stoic

I recently just listened to How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie in my car. I did skim through it (parts of it made me sleepy on my commute) but I walked away with some great reinforcing ideas on how to live a worry free life. Worry can lead to sickness and poor health. Here are some ways to prevent that.

The most important takeaways I found are:

-Ask yourself: What is the worst possible outcome? How does it make me feel?

  • This is something that I use when making decisions that are stressful or risky. It tends to calm me down and make it easier to move forward rather than thinking about all the different outcomes.

-Live day by day. I know that sometimes you need to look at the big picture but by living each day to the fullest and not thinking about the future or past can help you to live a happier life.

-When discussing a business problem  answer these questions in writing: What was the cause of the problem? How could we solve this problem? What do you recommend?

-Be grateful and appreciative of what you have. There are many people out there in worse situations than you.

-Practice happiness. Smile more. Meditate daily. Get busy doing the things you love. Be optimistic and don’t let your negative emotions get to you.

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