What I learnt from Paul Getty

What I learnt from Paul Getty

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What I learnt from Paul Getty

He was an oil man who in 1957 was named by Fortune magazine as the richest man in America, which in those days meant the planet. He made his money in oil in the state of Oklahoma, and then in 1949 he spent nearly $30 in Saudi Arabia looking for oil, it took him four years and eventually he found it. This is what made him one of the richest men in the world.

He was an interesting man and as a young man I read his autobiography, it was fascinating but there was one part I will never forget.

He said that if you want to start a business don’t work for a mega company work for a small one, as while working in a small one you will see and learn, as they won’t hide away all the crisis’s.  You will see them, and even be part of solving them, you will learn the importance of cash flow.

I was in my early twenties when I read this, working for Unilever, and it was so true, as in large companies there are silos and everyone works inside a silo, and never moves out of their silo.

When I decided to start my own business, I left my silo and floated off myself into the world of small business imagining I knew it all.   I didn’t, suddenly life was different, all those company support mechanisms had gone.  I got orders, but people didn’t pay me.

In fact, I found that most of my first customers were taking a long time to pay, and I learnt my first cash flow lesson.  If you are too keen for the order you pick up the bad payers.

I then learnt that there are companies who will suck you in and then come up with every reason not to pay you.  Others will want your expertise, be very friendly but won’t pay you.

Which leads me to ask you how many people have you given freebies too because you wanted to be nice and then nothing came of it? That was another thing that made John Getty so rich.  He didn’t do freebies.  He even put a pay phone in his house!

Now that’s Think Cash!

© Tony Dalton

  author of Cash Management