th images menu user export search eye clock list list2 arrow-left untitled twitter facebook googleplus instagram cross photos entrep-logo-svg

7 Things Business People Can Learn From Warren Buffett's Recent Q&A

The 'Oracle of Omaha' shared his insights during Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting
By Rose Leadem |

 

Investors flocked to Omaha, Neb., on May 6, Saturday for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting. Hosted by billionaire investor, chairman and CEO Warren Buffett and vice chairman Charlie Munger, the executives spent hours answering questions from shareholders. From money to retail to healthcare, they touched upon a diversity of today’s most relevant topics.

 

Related: 21 Surprising Facts About Warren Buffett

 

Check out these seven things business people can learn from Buffett at this year’s annual meeting.

 

 

1. As a CEO, act fast.

During the meeting, Buffett recalled the Wells Fargo fake accounts scandal that unraveled late last year, highlighting where exactly the company went wrong.

 

Buffett broke down the scandal, pointing out the three biggest mistakes the company made: a poor incentive program, an irresponsible leader and underestimating its impact. However, the biggest mistake that Buffett mentioned was the company’s CEO at the time, John Stumpf, not acting quickly and effectively enough after he found out about the situation in 2012.

 

"It had to stop when the CEO learns about it," Buffett said.

 

 

2. Get involved in multiple projects.

Both Munger and Buffett praised Amazon.com founder and CEO, The Washington Post owner and Blue Origins founder Jeff Bezos. Buffett complimented the way Bezos has built Amazon and the ways he’s involved himself in his other non-Amazon projects.

 

“At The Washington Post, he's played that hand incredibly," he said. "He's been involved in the actual execution, not just bankrolling the operation."

 

 

3. Don’t focus too much on the economy.

Buffett isn’t too worried about the future of the U.S. economy. Although this is not a new idea for the investor, he did reiterate it at the annual meeting: “When the rest of the world is fearful, we know that America will come out fine,” he said.

 

Related: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates's Top Secret to Success

 

"There will be an occasional hiccup in the American economy. It doesn't matter who is president," Buffett continued. "Those people may get blamed for it."

 

An economic downturn can also be helpful for some companies. For Berkshire Hathaway, a downturn in the economy can make investments look cheaper, Buffett explained.

 

 

4. Move online.

Touching upon the topic of retail, Buffett said he believes that big retailers will suffer as consumers transition from in-store shopping to online. "The department store is online now," Buffett said.

 

Even Buffett has taken action because of this, selling much of Berkshire Hathaway’s Walmart stock earlier this year.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

 

"The world has evolved, and it's going to keep evolving, but the speed is increasing," Buffett concluded.

 

 

5. Tax cuts could help businesses, but don’t change because of them.

Buffett explained that a corporate and investment tax cut could help businesses such as Berkshire Hathaway, ultimately lowering their tax obligations. However, he doesn’t think they should have too much of an impact.

 

When asked about investing in capital projects if the government acts on its promised investment tax credit, Buffett said it “depends.” It’s important not to act too soon or change the way your business runs because of a potential change in the law. "I can't recall sending anything out to our managers saying 'let's do this because the tax law is going to change,’” he said.

 

Both Munger and Buffett agreed that businesses are unlikely to change their major investment decisions because of “some little tax jiggle.”

 

 

6. Healthcare impacts business.

Buffett shared his ideas on the healthcare system in the U.S., explaining higher healthcare costs hold back business growth, especially for international businesses who compete with countries that have lower rates of health care spending.

 

"Medical costs are the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness," Buffett said.

 

Buffett shared how the American Health Care Act, which was passed on Thursday, would in fact benefit people like him.

 

Related: 5 Things Warren Buffett Does After Work

 

"It's a huge tax cut for guys like me," he said. "The net effect of that act is that my federal income taxes would have gone down, down 17 percent, last year.”

 

 

7. Don’t miss an opportunity.

The Oracle of Omaha shared one of his business regrets: not buying Google stock when he had the chance. Buffett said he regrets not buying the stock before the company went public, and even after the IPO, when the company met with him.

 

“I knew the guys. And so I had plenty of ways to ask questions or anything of the sort and educate myself, but I blew it," said it.

 

Munger agreed, calling the missed opportunity their “worst mistake in the tech field.”

 

 

*****

 

Copyright © 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.

Latest Articles

Property Tycoon Urges Php200-300 Hike in Daily Wages for Construction Workers

A boon for labor, the proposal could be tough for small construction firms that cannot absorb the...

byPauline Macaraeg | October 17, 2017 11:00:00

Financial Adviser: 5 Retail Lessons Every Startup Can Learn from the Co-Founder of Lazada

Lazada is the largest e-commerce destination in the country today. How did they do it?

byHenry Ong | October 17, 2017 11:00:00

The Most Powerful Word in Business Is 'No'

Focus in business is one of the key ingredients to success. Focus comes from the word no

byTim Denning | October 17, 2017 08:00:00

How One Entrepreneur Found Lasting Success By Focusing on 3 Basic Business Principles

A single-minded focus on revenue can blind you to how badly your business is really doing

bySerenity Gibbons | October 17, 2017 06:00:00

Use This Successful Entrepreneur's Scheduling Secret to Have Your Most Productive Day

Monitor your energy levels to know when to attempt your biggest tasks

byNina Zipkin | October 17, 2017 02:00:00

22 Influential Matriarchs From Notable Filipino Families

We round up a list of inspiring and accomplished women who have made an impact on Philippine society

byHannah Lazatin and Paolo Chua for TownandCountry.ph | October 17, 2017 00:00:00

Is Your Company Among 6 PH Firms Included in Forbes’ List of the World’s Best 500 Employers?

The local companies include the country’s biggest banks and property developers

byLorenzo Kyle Subido | October 16, 2017 17:00:00

Bigger and “Instagrammable” Stores Driving Greenwich To Growth

Franchise the homegrown pizza-and-pasta brand for a minimum fee of Php1 million per store

by | October 16, 2017 16:00:00

3 Takeaways on Digital Transformation from IMMAP’s DigiCon 2017

The conference chairman sums up the highlights of the three-day mobile marketing summit

byLorenzo Kyle Subido | October 16, 2017 12:00:00

3 Ways to Build Entrepreneurial Resilience for the Next 'Wave' of Challenges

When the problem is what you didn't do, the solution begins with figuring out what to do next

byJeff Boss | October 16, 2017 08:00:00

If You're Going to Fight, Fight Early

Facing conflict head on, asserting yourself and getting on the same page is critical to success

byKevin Hart | October 16, 2017 06:00:00

Here's Why Companies Lose 17% of Women Employees at Mid-Career

While many women take a career off-ramp for different reasons, most just don't want to be "stuck"

byAmanda Schnieders | October 16, 2017 02:00:00