We just returned from our Shaw Flooring convention and were so inspired to hear one of our favorite mentors speak, Warren Buffett. As a small business owner, and independent retailer for the past 20 years, this was even more special because we not only sell Shaw Flooring, we also sell Benjamin Moore paint, two of the companies owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
You could hear a pin drop as we were all on the edge of our seat trying to absorb every drop of wisdom from him as he spoke. First and foremost he cares about people and that really comes through from everything he said to us. One of his passions is teaching and helping to inspire young adults which is his way to pay it forward from all of the mentors that helped him.
When the panel of retailers inquired how he feels the outcome of the election will affect the economy? He assured us that America will be fine, we always bounce back as we did after the recession. One of the attributes he desires in his managers is to attack a problem quickly, own up when you make a mistake by taking responsibility and then move on and learn from it. This strategy to forget the past has helped him refine his bridge game, he joked.
You can tell he chose all of his companies very carefully, they each mean something special to him. You get the feeling that they all have a special purpose and fit into his portfolio nicely. He takes pride that he buys companies that already have something there and strives to make them even better.
His companies like Benjamin Moore and Shaw denote quality products, that deliver on their promise. We also feel the same sense of pride about providing these products to our customers.
I took away many important lessons from the talk, and one in particular was when he was asked how we as brick & mortar stores can compete with the big box and on-line retailers?
Mr. Buffett summed it up in saying something that we all deep down already knew. He said, “if you take care of your customers, everything will be fine, I have never seen a company fail that has satisfied customers”. We can do that!!
What I would give for a box of Sees Candy right about now.