Business advice from a First Nations genius

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Alfred SimpsonWe invited Alfred Simpson, one of the most intelligent people in Ottawa, to our annual business planning meeting. Alfred, in his sixties, does not live opulently. His home is a modest rent-controlled apartment and he takes the bus to get around.

Yet Alfred is wealthy in the ways that count.  Although he has been a widower for several years, he enjoys close relationships with his two children, both of whom have inherited his exceptionally high intelligence. His IQ is in the 99.997 percentile. To put this into perspective, you need to be a have an intelligence of 98 per cent to join Mensa. Simpson is the Prometheus Societys membership officer.

While Alfred Simpson is not interested in making wads of money, his son has succeeded in business, providing  contract research on native land claims issues.

The enterprise employs several researchers. His son started small, but quickly attracted the best researchers by paying them a higher share of gross revenues than the competition.  This resulted in the best researchers staying with him, increasing billing volumes, and annual sales about $1 million. Net income is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Best of all, because this business is conducted on a First Nations reserve, Albert’s son pays not a cent of income tax.

During his presentation, which I described in the weekly Construction Marketing Ideas newsletter, Alfred Simpson advocated ethics and integrity as the vital cornerstones of business success.  Later, he forwarded an email from his son, sharing further observations about the keys to successful business.

  • Providing a product/service that people or organizations need.
  • Providing that service/product better than the next company.
  • Resilience to weather the inevitable bad times associated with business cycles.
  • Businesses should be designed and operated for the long-term.
  • It is important to always treat clientele with respect. Clients often remember the personal interaction as much as the service/product.
  • Have realistic expectations for business development/growth – this  is why a long-term vision is required.
  • Believe in the product/service being offered. It should be something that speaks to you as a person.

Undoubtedly this advice is timeless, relevant to anyone in business and is brilliant in its simplicity. I am fortunate to be able to learn from a true genius.

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