Warren Buffett consistently ranks among the richest people in the world, and is famous for giving a large percentage of his money away to charity. And, notably, he’s widely regarded as the most successful investor in the world. Do you think he has something to teach you about business and marketing? You bet.
Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses – and Focus on Your Strengths
Warren Buffett knows that his biggest strength is his ability to allocate capital. He also knows that he can’t work with bureaucracy or inefficiency. His business is now structured around these things – he runs his $141 billion company with a team of less than 20 employees. He also dislikes technology and is known for not carrying a cell phone on him. How many people that regularly rank among the richest in the world do that, do you think?
The point is that Buffett knows his strengths and he plays to them, while ignoring his weaknesses or simply working around them. This is the best tactic to use when you’re marketing yourself or your business, or when building your business, because trying to shore up or improve on your weaknesses is quite simply an ineffective tactic. Even if you managed to improve your weaknesses by 100%, the chance are that they’ll never be as strong as your natural strengths. It’s a much better idea to focus on playing to your strengths and improving them, because then you can be phenomenally good at one or two things instead of so-so at everything.
Say Something Controversial
Buffett made the news for a controversial column he wrote for the New York Times, calling for the U.S. government to “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich“. The article quickly went viral, being shared on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook by thousands. Sure, some people violently disagreed with the article – but just as many or more loved it and agreed with its message.
In a similar vein, Buffett’s practice of giving large amounts of money to charity makes him noteworthy. He’s pledged to give away 99% of his fortune to philanthropic causes, which is something that sticks out to people and makes him much easier to remember. As Dan and Heath Chip (authors of Made to Stick) would say, it’s a sticky idea.
How can you use this in your business? Write about something you really believe in, even if it’s unpopular or controversial thing to believe. Showcase this on your About page or in a blog post – it doesn’t matter. In fact, you might try using it both places, as a blog post is more likely to go viral but an About page is a cornerstone of your website that will be visited again and again.
Don’t Take Yourself too Seriously
Buffett is known for making fun of himself. Some of his better known one-liners include things like the following:
I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.
I drink five (Cherry Cokes) a day. That’s 750 calories. I would have lost 70 pounds a year if I didn’t drink them. Really, it’s been a lifesaver.
And when asked what his partner Charlie Munger thought about Buffett’s idea to give away $30 billion in stock to the Gates Foundation, Buffett replied:
He said, “You finally had a good idea.” It took me 40 years to get that out of him. Yes, one good idea. He’s not expecting another one.
Having a sense of humor and the ability to make fun of yourself makes you relate-able, which makes you more likeable, which makes people more likely to buy from you. People want to support people they like (assuming that all of your other business ducks are all in a row). Crack a few jokes at yourself now and then, it’s good for you and your business.