Rufus Call Willey started an appliance store in 1949 in Northern Utah. A few years later RC was dying of pancreatic cancer and gave the budding business to his son in law, Bill Child. Child was fresh out of college. Over the next 40 years Bill Child built a business that eventually attracted Warren Buffet. In 1995 Child sold RC Willey to Buffet for $175 million in stock.
In an interview that got me to look into the book, Bill Child said, “I’m proof that the American dream is still alive and well.”
Yes Mr. Child you are correct.
Here are a list of simple management strategies that helped him succeed from Bill Child’s book: How to Build a Business Warren Buffett Would Buy: The RC Willey Story
Bill Child’s 13 Simple Management Principles and Philosophies
- Be motivated by excellence, not money. You need to be better than all of your competitors. If you are, the profits will come.
- Offer customers true value on quality products. A low price on a cheap piece of furniture is not value.
- Think like a customer and treat them as you would like to be treated. Remember: we are agents for our customers and they can fire us at any time and take their business elsewhere.
- Enjoy your business and know the industry and its future.
- Avoid unnecessary debt. When the economy takes a downturn, excessive debt will sink you.
- Be efficient. Nothing drains profit like waste.
- Treat your associates with respect; otherwise employees won’t treat customers with respect.
- Pay attention to details. To borrow a phrase from Warren [Buffett]- In retail, you need to be good every day.
- Be honest! Nothing sinks a reputation faster than dishonesty. It takes years to build a reputation, but it can be destroyed in one day over one misdeed.
- Hire good and capable people- people you respect and will enjoy working with.
- Make decision with an eye to the future, not just what is good for today.
- Differentiate your company with marketing; don’t always follow the crowd. At times you must go outside the box. Good marketing creates immediate sales and top-of-mind awareness for your produce and your company.
- Most important, be able to adapt to changes in the marketplace and don’t be afraid to change when circumstances demand. We live in a changing world.