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Business Lessons From Les Schwab

“I think the biggest misconception the public has about a successful businessman is he is working for more moneyYou won’t find many truly successful ones that are greedy.”

“I’ve always wanted to be the best tire dealernot necessarily the largest tire dealer.”

“I told my managers .. ‘If you don’t do for your employees what I have done for you, then this company will die when I die’.”

Do good for people and it will come back to you ten fold. Do bad and it will also come back to you tenfold’.”-Mary Kay

Love your customer, give him top service, give him the best available price the first time and stay with it, and don’t let your customers run your business.”

“My thinking has always been, if I give away half the profits I still have half left; if I share $10,000,000 with people, I still have $10,000,000 left over before taxes. I don’t understand why businessmen can’t do this, as it is unselfish for good reasons. It helps a lot of other people.”

“[When competition arrived that operated for lower cost and somewhat lower prices] after thinking about this for a year or so, wondering if I should cut wages and benefits, I finally made the decision. That decision was, ‘If I couldn’t be proud of my company, If I couldn’t pay good wages, if I couldn’t have good benefits, if I couldn’t have the best employees, then why would I even want to stay in business, as I had all the money I wanted personally’. So we did nothing, and we won.

The customer likes us best. Life is hard .. for the man who thinks he can take a short cut.”

The more I’ve done for my employees, the more successful our company has been.”

“What is the best route to follow to continue to be successful? What should our company do to to build for the future? The answer is, as it has always been … BUILD PEOPLE.”

The success of any company is in direct proportion to the ability and motivation of its people, and that fits anything.”

We are different from most of the American corporations, as we think the most important people in the company are the people on the firing line; the ones who sell, do the service work and take care of the customer

Too many corporations think all the brains are in the main office and all the bonus money is paid to the four or five high people.

More businesses would be successful if they gave more attention to the people on the front lines.”

The decision making should always be made at the lowest possible level… Give your manager the authority to make his own daily decisions, under certain guidelines of course, but let him run his show.”

“[We tell store managers that] we expect you to run the store. You are on your own, and you will sink or swim according to your abilities.”

“If the store manager runs his store right, he doesn’t have to spend hours and hours looking at the office reports; if he’s doing okay the records will show it. In fact if he spends too much time in his office reading the mail, it is a sure thing his store will suffer. Sell tires, give service, keep expenses low, make sure everything is billed out, keep good communications with employees, be careful with credit, watch for leaks .. do these things and you’ll come out all right. The damn computers can’t run a tire store, they can only tell you what you have done.”

I’ve told accountants .. you tell us where the pencil has gone; but, if you were smart enough to tell us where the pencil should go, you would really earn the high fees you charge us. The same goes for lawyers.”

Stay out of a store 30 days and you’ve forgotten 50 percent of what you know.”

“The large rubber companies turned out to be our best friends. Why? Because, their ways, their policies broke their dealers, often leaving us as the only deter in town in a position to give service.”

 We are successful. Our future depends on us creating our own programs for the future. If we fail to create, then we will die on the vine

“Just as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, our customers will change. We must take into consideration changes as we plan our future advertising, our promotions, our themes, our future image in the marketplace.”

“Things, ideas, and people change. If we wait for things to happen the right moment may have passed and the market will have slipped by. We must continue to build enthusiasm into our company. Without enthusiasm out company is dead.”

No one wants to follow a weak leader. We build strong leaders with open and honest communications.”

“[I tell managers] be honest with the people we work with. Be honest with your customer. I’ve told you before, I’ll tell you again .. ‘There’s absolutely no excuse, no reason, or cause for you to be anything but 100 percent honest with the people you work with, or with the customer you serve.”

We must earn our way every day. And those not earning their way must have the limb sawed off the tree, as cruel as that may sound.. and that goes for Member Dealers, you must earn your way or we must saw off your limb and drop you from the tree.”

“I talked about our operation as being a three-way partnership. The stockholders as one unit, the corporations and its people as another unit, and the employee Trust Fund as the third unit. Our company will always be successful as long as all three units work in harmony. Greed can come from any of the three, but most likely it would show up first with the stockholders, it usually does in any company.”

A company, any company, should work up programs and policies that are fair to stockholders, to management and to the employees. And then we should have very open communications, follow the open book policy. If you can’t defend it, it must be wrong. If it is wrong, then make it right.”

 

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