Shut Up and Listen  – by Tilman Fertitta

How highly I recommend:
Good and actionable business advice from an interesting perspective: a billionaire who achieved most of his success in the hospitality business. "In one way or the other, every business is in the business of hospitality".
Published on:
August 19, 2020
Written by:
Sebastian Hallqvist
“Wherever you are in life and business, there is a paddle coming for your ass. So start worrying and planning NOW.”


In one way or the other, every business is in the business of hospitality.

Hospitality is the way you respond to what the customer asks for.

The goal of interacting with customers is to make the customer feel like they are your ONLY customer.

It’s free to be nice.

Take the word ”no” out of your vocabulary. Say what you CAN do instead of what you CANNOT do. It’s OK to charge for the extra effort of giving the customer what they asked for.

Know your numbers

“Know your numbers, numbers don’t lie”

Working capital is the difference between success and failure. It is the lifeblood of business. The amount needed will vary depending on the industry and type of business you are in.

A line of credit can be immensely helpful here. A loan is also useful.

Secure bank financing when times are good. Stay liquid when times are bad.

Don’t ever put your lifestyle before the success of the business.

Be careful with signing property leases — it’s the same thing as taking out a loan! You are guaranteeing that you WILL pay the money that you owe. Take precautions so you can get out of the lease if you go out of business.

Revenue comes first, then cost of sales, then labor cost and other expenses. Revenue means nothing if it brings relatively higher costs.

The 95–5 rule

Most businesses are good at 95% of what they do. It’s the remaining 5% that can determine if the business excels or not. Focus on the 5%.

View your business through the eyes of the customer. Details matter.

Leverage your strengths.

Know what you know: ask your partners and associates what they think your strengths are. In return, tell them about theirs.

Never become partners with someone who has the same skills as you.

Make your friends in business your personal friends.

See the opportunity, seize the opportunity

“When things are bad we tend to forget that they are going to get good again. When things are good, we tend to forget they will get bad. We need to always prepare for each situation.”

It takes patience to wait for the right opportunity.

Note: this ties well into Warren Buffett’s “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful” and (sort of) Richard Branson’s “Always protect the downside”

Live your leadership

Always seek information. Listen first. Listen to everyone.

Use your instincts when listening.

Keep meetings short. This makes them goal-oriented and blunt.

Keep your hands dirty.

Always follow up to make sure what you asked for gets done.

You have not failed until you decide to quit.

Work the deal so that either you both loose or you both win.