This is part of my operating manual series opening up the playbook of private equity and company building luminaries. Check out past ones with Mark Leonard, Andrew Wilkinson, Robert F. Smith, Joe Liemandt, Felix Dennis and Mike Speiser.
If you are interested in buying, growing, and selling small companies, check out my course & community on it at IndiePE.com.
Felix Dennis is one of my favorite founders. He is basically a cruder Richard Branson.
- Built a $750m media empire
- Gave it all away before he died
- Spent $100m on drugs & women
- Founder of Maxim magazine
- Planted a million trees
His best advice:
Ownership Over Everything
To become rich, you must be an owner, and you must try to own it all.
Own and retain control of as near to 100% of any company as you can.
He once replaced his whole executive team because they demanded equity.
Choose Your Market
New & rapidly growing industries provide more opportunities to get rich than established sectors.
- Availability of risk capital
- Power of a rising tide
Be where the loose capital is searching for a home and boldly seize opportunity.
Great Idea Fallacy
Ideas don't make you rich. The correct execution of ideas does.
The original is not the greatest.
Watch your rivals closely and never be ashamed to copy a winning strategy.
Joy of Delegation
Delegation & promotion are the bricks & mortar that will make your startup stronger.
True delegation can often be a joy to be involved in on both sides.
Power doesn’t matter when you own the company.
Glory to your workers is great, providing you get the $$$.
What to Delegate
Almost everything. He didn't run his companies and stopped doing so early on.
When a company is about to launch, sell, or close something then he is always involved.
Absentee landlords never prosper.
Running Companies by Delegation
Without permission CEOs may not:
- Vote anyone on/off board
- Physically move the HQ of the company
- Dispose of or shut down any substantial asset
- Purchase/launch any substantial new product or business
- Award themselves bonuses/salary increases
Create a frugal company culture on day 1.
Revenues are not within your control. Cash spent is.
Limit physical purchases. Watch staff travel & entertainment.
"Overhead walks on two legs". Hire as a last resort. Will this person bring in 7-10x their salary in revenue?
The most important skill required for becoming rich: identifying, hiring, rewarding, and managing talent.
Money isn't the only way to reward talent. The opportunity to prove oneself, run the show, and excel can be just as powerful.
Ignore the title and read his autobiography.