The Richest Man in England

I once went out with the richest man in England. Not in the biblical sense of course, and after a few bottles of something expensive he expounded his somewhat brutal assessment of life and business. I took notes. Here is the potted version. Do not try this at home.  
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  • Think beyond the square. Set an unachievable goal. Shoot for the stars and hit the moon. Pictures of Porches on the fridge. All that sort of stuff.
  • Starting with nothing is good. Who is the better competitor? Someone fat and comfortable or someone lean and hungry, someone driven, focused, bold and prepared to take risks.
  • Debt is king. You’ll never make big money without it. Do not be afraid of debt. Liabilities drive you to the most Herculean of efforts.
  • Growing a business organically will only ever achieve incremental returns. Take the big steps, and the little steps will look after themselves. There is more money made in a room in an hour than is made in a factory every day.
  • Your business has to be scalable. You cannot make exponential money without exponential growth. A pop star making an album is a scaleable business and why pop stars are rich. After 100 years in the game, Morgan cars are still in the same factory and have a waiting list. They don’t sell cars, they ration them. The business is not scaleable.
  • Patience is not a virtue it’s a waste of bloody time. Time is the most valuable of commodities, and you will not succeed without it. No one got rich working 9 to 5 and respecting weekends. You can’t build a business from 9 to 5. It takes total immersion. Every activity becomes a time versus money equation.
  • There is no such thing as intelligence, what we mistake for smart or intelligent is actually just the expression of hard work and preparation. There is nothing you can do with brains that you can’t achieve with application. What you don’t know you learn. We all have the capacity to learn. Intelligence is impossible without hard work and possible with it. The difference is effort. Nothing comes without effort. From pop stars to the guy who invented the Rubrik’s cube (Rubrik?), brilliance is 99% perspiration.
  • There is no substitute for mistakes. Mistakes compress learning.
  • Education is paramount. The more you learn the more the lights come on and the more you realise how many other lights are off. You have to know, there is no substitute. Knowing opens doors. And knowing what you don’t know is as important as knowing what you do.
  • You cannot do everything yourself. Lucky then that the most valuable and available capital in the whole world is human capital, employees. The willingness of highly capable and educated people to work for a certain rather than variable sum is the most exploitable, available and cheap investment you will ever make. Invest in the markets and you concern yourself with returns of zero to 20% per annum and possibly even a loss. Invest in people and your return can be hundreds of percent. There is simply no better return on capital than capital “employed”.
  • There is education and there is qualification. Set out in pursuit of a qualification and you will deliver yourself to the corporate sector for exploitation. Set out for an education and you will develop beyond that. To take it to the extreme “why do exams”. You already have everything you need. That piece of paper is of little use unless you want to impress someone else and build their assets instead of yours.
  • We cannot employ the unchallenged. Twenty-five-year-olds are not supposed to be sitting in their parent’s homes eating takeaway Pizza. The longer they stay on the financial umbilical cord, the weaker they get. Feed the ducks, and they will never learn to feed themselves. For their own sake, you have to release them to the wild. Kick them out. We cannot employ weaklings.

That’s about all I’ve got. Things got a bit fuzzy and illegible after that. A crash course. He picked up the bill as well. Bargain.

  Marcus Padley More about the author – Marcus Padley Marcus Padley is a highly-recognised stockbroker and business media personality. He founded Marcus Today Stock Market Newsletter in 1998. The business has built a community of like-minded investors who want to survive and thrive in the stock market. We achieve that through a combination of daily stock market education, ideas and activities.

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