Lessons for 2014 from Three Renowned and Successful Businessmen

Welcome to the AccountingWEB series "Michael Alter's Dollars and Sense" by Michael Alter, president of SurePayroll. You can see all of his articles here.

One of the most important things you can do for your firm is to continue learning. It’s one of the key things that separates successful leaders from the not so successful. The people who help their businesses achieve new heights are the ones who are continually learning how to get better.

So as we head into 2014 and we start to see some bright spots in the economy, take some notes from some of the most successful business people out there. Make them part of your philosophy in the New Year.

Lesson 1 (from Jeff Bezos, founder, Amazon.com):

We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”

This is Bezos’ philosophy on making changes within your business. Your end goals don’t have to change, but you will almost always have to make changes in the tactics you use to get there.

Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t get so hung up on details that you’re not moving forward. Don’t assume that just because you’ve done something one way for years, it’s still working as well as it did in the beginning. Maintain your vision, but always look for new ways to improve it.

Lesson 2 (from Warren Buffett, billionaire investor):

It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Buffett has many memorable quotes and lessons, but this is a great one to keep in mind during what I like to call the moment of truth. This is that moment when you will either keep or lose a customer based on the actions you take. Remember how easy it is to do reputational damage to your firm, especially in today’s world of social media. Whatever you say to a customer, make sure it’s something you’d be comfortable seeing on Facebook the next day.

Lesson 3 (from Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Facebook):

I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.”

Zuckerberg’s point is becoming more and more salient every day. Technology has made so many things easy in business today, particularly things that may not be core to your business, such as payroll, marketing, and IT. Make sure you’re outsourcing when possible. It can result in considerable time and cost savings.

About the author:
Michael Alter, payroll expert with an MBA from Harvard Business School, is a nationally recognized spokesperson providing thought leadership and sensible advice to help accounting and payroll professionals build deeper more profitable relationships with clients. Alter, president of SurePayroll, writes the Trade Secrets column on INC.com and is frequently published in Bloomberg TV, Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine.

You may like these other stories...

Event Date: October 21, 2014, 2 pm ETKristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience’s communication style. When two people have very different communication...
Majority of House of Representatives urges leadership to preserve cash method of accounting for tax purposesA bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives – 233 members – has signed a letter urging House...
Tax friendly trusts swell under new rulesUS companies are latching onto an obscure real estate provision to avoid corporate taxes, widely adopting a financial maneuver that has been expanded under the Obama administration,...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Sep 24
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.
Sep 30
This webcast will include discussions of important issues in SSARS No. 19 and the current status of proposed changes by the Accounting and Review Services Committee in these statements.
Oct 21
Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience's communication style.
Oct 23
Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.