For most people, the “Oracle of Omaha” needs no introduction. With a self-made net worth of $84 billion, some experts consider the 87-year-old to be the greatest investor of all-time.
Despite his incredible achievements and decades in the public eye, the modest Midwesterner is frugal, relatable, and full of humility – and his life story is an endless source of lessons to aspiring business professionals around the world.
The Warren Buffett Series
Part 1: The Early Years
Today’s infographic, which is done in partnership with finder.com, is Part 1 of the Warren Buffett Series, a five-part biographical series about the legendary investor.
Note: Stay tuned for future parts with our free mailing list.
The young Warren Buffett was clearly a special kid. He ran his first “business” when he was five years old, and he invested in his first stock when he was 11. Buffett even managed to emerge from high school richer than his teachers.
But what lessons can we learn from Buffett’s prolific childhood – and how did his experiences as a young man shape him into the magnate we know today?
From Numbers to Dollar Signs
Even for someone as gifted and focused as Buffett, a serendipitous insight played a crucial role in charting his future course.
During a visit to the New York Stock Exchange when he was 10 years old, the sight of a young man rolling custom, handmade cigars on the floor made an outsized impact on him. In particular, Buffett realized that such a job couldn’t exist without massive amounts of money flowing through the stock market.
This unexpected epiphany planted the seed for stocks in his brain, and Warren’s long fascination with numbers soon shifted towards dollars.
The Buffett Growth Mindset
Warren Buffett famously spends 80% of his day reading – and the written word was just as important to his younger self. As a lad, one book that caught Buffett’s eye was One Thousand Ways to Make $1,000 by F.C. Minaker
Specifically, the book showed Buffett how $1,000 could compound over time – and that the earlier you had money working for you, the better.
An important lesson from the book? There’s a massive difference in returns between 60 and 70 year compound interest scenarios. In other words, annualized returns are just one part of the equation – but how long the money compounds is the other crucial part. This is a big part of the reason why Warren Buffett got started early.
Warren Buffett’s First Stock
Through his various activities, Buffett had $120 saved by age 11. Naturally, he invested it in a stock, co-investing his sister’s money. They each bought three shares of Cities Service Preferred for $38.25 each.
The share price promptly dropped to $27, but Buffett waited it out. When it got to $40, he sold to net a small profit – however, the stock soon after went all the way to $202!
Warren calls this one of the most important moments in his life, and he learned three lessons:
- Don’t overly fixate on what he paid for the stock
- Don’t rush unthinkingly to grab a small profit. He could have made $492 if he was more patient
- He didn’t want to have responsibility for anyone else’s money unless he was sure he could succeed
These important lessons would eventually tie in well to his value investing philosophy.
The young Buffett wasn’t afraid to try new things to build up his capital. He collected golf balls, sold peanuts and popcorn, sold gum and Coca-Cola, and even created tipsheets for horse races on a typewriter.
Some of his stranger endeavors? He launched Buffett’s Approval Service and sold stamps to collectors around the country, and he also launched Buffett’s Showroom Shine – a car shining business that didn’t last too long.
Warren’s Work Ethic
By the end of high school, Buffett had launched multiple businesses, sold thousands of golf balls, read at least 100 books on business, and hawked 600,000 newspapers.
This hard work led to him having a fortune of $5,000 by high school graduation time, the equivalent of $55,000 in today’s currency. He even owned land at this point, after buying 40 acres of Nebraska farmland with his newspaper profits.
Knocked Off Course
After high school, Buffett decided he was a shoe-in for Harvard. He knew it would be stimulating for him intellectually, and that the famed business school would allow him to develop a strong network.
The only problem? He got rejected.
Instead of letting this get to him, he discovered Benjamin Graham’s book The Intelligent Investor and fell in love. It was the methodical investing framework he needed, and he would later call it the “best book about investing ever written”.
Buffett would soon be accepted at Columbia Business School, where Benjamin Graham and David Dodd taught finance. Graham became Buffett’s idol, and his second-biggest influence behind his own father.
Part 2 of the Warren Buffett Series will be released in early January 2018.
Credits: This infographic would not be possible without the great biographies done by Roger Lowenstein (Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist) and Alice Schroeder (The Snowball), as well as numerous other sources cataloging Buffett’s life online.
The Habits of Highly Effective Leaders
This infographic delves into what it takes to become an effective leader, and how those qualities can impact a company—beyond employee satisfaction.
How Strong Leadership Impacts the Bottom Line
Organizations of all shapes and sizes are under immense pressure to retain good talent.
High employee turnover can directly impact a company’s bottom line—with many studies suggesting poor leadership is one of the main causes.
Today’s infographic from Online PhD Degrees explores what it takes to be an strong leader, and the behaviors of poor leaders that should be avoided at all costs.
In today’s rapidly changing world, how can the qualities of a strong leader positively shape a company’s future?
The Benefits of Investing in Leadership
Effective leadership is worth its weight in gold, with 58% of employees claiming they would choose having a great boss over a higher salary.
Not only that, 94% of employees with great bosses feel passionate about their jobーnearly twice as many as those working for a bad boss. A strong leader increases employee loyalty, creating a conducive environment for reaching a company’s goals.
In fact, research shows that companies with strong leaders are crucial when it comes to outperforming industry competitors and are three times more prepared to react to the speed of change. Moreover, a company with a strong leader is almost five times more likely to have higher customer engagement and retention rates.
How to Lead Effectively
While each company has its own processes and demands different skill sets, there are core behaviors that separate leaders from managers:
- Clear Purpose: Clearly articulating the company’s future vision to all levels of staff in a clear and concise way.
- Contagious Passion: While managers light fires under people to motivate them, leaders light fires in people.
- Self-Accountability: The expectation to work harder than employees and set a standard of excellence.
- Flexible Determination: Leaders are agile and open to change.
- Sustainable Outlook: Focusing on long-term goals proves to a team that a leader is invested in the long-haul.
- Dual Focus: Beyond thinking big picture, leaders provide employees with a clear and actionable strategy for success.
Effective leaders are born from this combination of behaviors. However, one of them has the farthest-reaching impact, both on employees and a company’s bottom line: purpose.
Purpose and Performance
The Global Leadership Forecast finds that a strong and well-executed purpose can build organizational resilience and improve long-term financial performance.
Leaders who amplify an organization’s purpose create a culture of optimism where employees feel safe in proposing new ideas that will shape the trajectory of a company.
The Future of Leadership
To stay competitive, continuous learning and re-skilling should be at the heart of every organization’s leadership strategy. Leaders of the future should possess the ability to redesign jobs in a more fluid way and lean in to the changing nature of work.
“If we don’t disrupt our business, somebody else is going to do it for us.”
While management is a foundational skill, organizations need to invest in their leaders to ensure constant growth. Embracing the traits of an effective leader can not only provide improved returns—it also empowers organizations to thrive in an uncertain future.
Ranked: The 20 Easiest Countries for Doing Business
Entrepreneurship is challenging at the best of times. Here are the countries where at least starting a new business is easy to do.
Ranked: The 20 Easiest Countries for Doing Business
Contrary to popular belief, the hardest part about running a business may not be finding customers, it’s getting one started.
Depending on the public policies and application processes of your country, you might struggle or succeed in opening and operating a business.
If you live in New Zealand, for example, you can get a new enterprise up and running in half a day. If you live in Luxembourg or Argentina, however, it’s a different story─with the process sometimes taking over a year.
Today’s chart uses data from the World Bank’s annual Doing Business 2020 report, which delves into the ease of doing business in countries around the world.
Measuring the Ease of Doing Business
Now in its 17th year, the Doing Business (DB) report measures how easy it is for someone to start and run a company in an economy, using 12 key factors throughout a business lifecycle:
- Starting a business
- Employing workers
- Dealing with construction permits
- Getting electricity
- Registering property
- Getting credit
- Protecting minority investors
- Paying taxes
- Trading across borders
- Contracting with the government
- Enforcing contracts
- Resolving insolvency
Of the 190 countries reviewed last year, only 115 made it easier for entrepreneurs to do business.
Note to readers: this year’s DB score did not factor in Employing Workers or Contracting with the Government when ranking economies.
Top 20 Easiest Countries to Run a Business
|#1||🇳🇿 New Zealand||86.8|
|#3||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||85.3|
|#5||🇰🇷 South Korea||84|
|#6||🇺🇸 United States||84|
|#8||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||83.5|
|#16||🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||80.9|
|#17||🇲🇰 North Macedonia||80.7|
In the top spot for the fourth year in a row, New Zealand only requires half a day to start a business. Singapore also stands out for having the shortest timeframe when it comes to paying business taxes and enforcing business contracts.
Only two African nations─Rwanda and Mauritius─are listed in the top 50 countries, with Mauritius being the only one to crack the top 20 list.
Latin American economies are noticeably missing from the rankings, as many countries in this region are fraught with bureaucracy and prolonged processes.
Most Improved Scores
Several developed and developing economies made significant strides in 2019 to implement reforms that opened doors for new business owners.
The Doing Business 2020 report shows that the cost of starting a business has fallen over time, particularly in developing economies.
Top 10 Most Improved Economies, 2018-2019
Saudi Arabia made the greatest improvement overall, adding 7.7 points to its score.
Bahrain also made improvements over the most number of factors (9). While Jordan showed improvement in the fewest factors (3), it showed the second highest jump in DB Score.
Gains Among Low-Income Countries
The DB 2020 study also shows that developing economies are making progress: it’s now cheaper than ever before to run a business in developing economies.
However, a significant disparity still remains when we consider the difference in business costs between high-income and low-income economies.
An entrepreneur starting a company in a low-income economy will spend about 50% of per capita income (PCI) to launch a venture, whereas an entrepreneur in a high-income economy spends only 4% PCI to accomplish the same task.
Put another way, entrepreneurs located in the bottom 50 economies spend an average six times more to open a new company as those in a high-income economy.
Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth
Generally, more entrepreneurs will enter a market where they can easily conduct business─adding more value to local economies.
While the rankings clearly illustrate the link between ease of doing business and economic growth, there are still significant barriers in place that not only deter entrepreneurship but also inhibit a relatively simple strategy for growth.
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