Most businesses start small. However, those that succeed do not stay there. Mayer Amschel Rothschild (23 February 1744 – 19 September 1812) was a German banker and the founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty, which is believed to have become the wealthiest family in human history. Referred to as the “founding father of international finance,” Rothschild was ranked seventh on the Forbes magazine list of “The Twenty Most Influential Businessmen of All Time” in 2005.
But the starting point of the Rothschilds empire was very humble. Their grand father, Izaak, started as a small trader. The family lived in a home above their shop, which they called “house in the back of the saucepan“. Although measuring only 3.4 metre across, 30 family members lived in there. With high levels of business management and continuous search for opportunities, the Rothschild empire grew tremendously over the years.
While reading the Rothschild story, I picked up two essential lessons that enabled the business to survive and grow even though things were not always moving smoothly.
- They planned like a big business. Even when they were still small, they made plans for the future.
With the help of relatives, Rothschild secured an apprenticeship under Jacob Wolf Oppenheimer, at the banking firm of Simon Wolf Oppenheimer in Hanover, in 1757. The grandson of Samuel Oppenheimer taught Rothschild useful knowledge in foreign trade and currency exchange, before he returned to his brothers’ business in Frankfurt in 1763. So, don’t think small; small is temporary. Today, if you don’t have a written, long term business plan, you are not really in business but you are in a hobby. The good news is, it is not too late to starting working on your business plan now.
- They invested in people. In pursuit of expansion, Mayer Amschel Rothschild appointed his sons to start banking operations in the various capitals of Europe, including sending his third son, Nathan Mayer Rothschild, to England. When last did you send your management and staff for some essential business training? Taking your people for granted, even if they are your family, is a waste of human talent. People will achieve amazing results if they are properly trained, motivated and led.
What lessons on growth do you find really essential in our business environment today? Let’s share them at the BusinessLink Networking breakfast on Friday 24th July 2015. Book now to reserve your place, 04 -700812 or 0772 854 301.
Have a great day.