No one ever said it was easy being an entrepreneur. Whether you're in the early stages of your statrup, just secured funding for your startup or you are ready for product launch, there will always be those three components when you ask yourself if this whole entrepreneur thing is worth it. Instead of giving up and throwing-in the proverbial white towel, this forum will help in giving you all the motivation you need to achieve your result.
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LESSONS FROM BERNARD ARNAULT; THE RICHEST MAN IN FRANCE
Étienne Arnault was born on the 5th of March 1949. He is a
French business magnate, an investor, and an art collector. Arnault is
the chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LVMH, the world's largest
luxury-goods company. He is the richest person in France and the fourth richest
person in the world according to Forbes magazine,
with a net worth of $75.5 billion, as of March 2018.
After graduation, Arnault joined his father's company,
in 1971. In 1976, he convinced his father to liquidate the construction
division of the company for 40 million French francs and to change the focus of the company to real estate.
Using the name Férinel, the new company developed a specialty in holiday
accommodation. Named the Director of Company Development in 1974, he
became the CEO in 1977. In 1979, he succeeded his father as president of the
In 1984, with the help of Antoine Bernheim, a senior
partner of Lazard Frères, Arnault acquired the Financière Agache, a luxury goods company. He became the CEO of Financière Agache and subsequently
took control of Boussac Saint-Frères, a textile company in turmoil. Boussac
Dior, the department store Le Bon Marché, the retail shop Conforama, and the diapers manufacturer
Peaudouce. He sold nearly all the company's assets, keeping only the
prestigious Christian Dior brand and Le Bon Marché department store.
In 1987, shortly
after the creation of LVMH, the brand new luxury group resulting from the
merger between two companies, Arnault mediated a conflict between Alain
Chevalier, Moët Hennessy's
CEO, and Henri Racamier, president of Louis Vuitton. The new group held
property rights to Dior perfumes that
Arnault believed should be incorporated into Dior Couture.
In July 1988, Arnault provided
$1.5 billion to form a holding company with Guinness that held 24% of LVMH's
shares. In response to rumors that the Louis Vuitton group was buying LVMH's
stock to form a "blocking minority", Arnault spent $600 million to
buy 13.5% more of LVMH, making him LVMH's first shareholder. In January 1989,
he spent another $500 million to gain control a total of 43.5% of LVMH and 35%
of voting rights, thus reaching the "blocking minority" that he
needed to stop the dismantlement of the LVMH group. On 13 January 1989, he was
unanimously elected chairman of the executive management board.
Since then, Arnault led the
company through an ambitious development plan, transforming it into one of the
largest luxury groups in the world, alongside Swiss luxury giant Richemont and French-based Kering. In eleven years, the market value of
LVMH has multiplied by at least fifteen, while, simultaneously, the sales and
profit rose by 500%. He promoted decisions towards decentralizing the group's
brands. As a result of these measures, the brands are now viewed as independent
firms with their own history.
Arnault professional decisions
support the idea that LVMH has "shared advantages" such having the
strong brands that help finance those that are still developing. The portfolio
of major luxury brands has a history of stability, and thus its solidity allows
for new acquisitions and group development. It is because of this strategy that
Christian Lacroix could open his own fashion house.
In July 1988, Arnault
acquired Céline In
1993, LVMH acquired Berluti and Kenzo. In the same year, Arnault bought out
the French economic newspaper La Tribune. The company never achieved
the desired success, despite his 150 million euro investment, and he sold it in
November 2007 in order to buy a different French economic newspaper, Les Échos,
for 240 million euros.
In the 1990s, Arnault decided
to develop a centre in New York to manage LVMH's presence in the United States.
He chose Christian de
Portzamparc to supervise this project. The result was the LVMH Tower that opened in December
1.Believe in yourself
You may not be born into an
ideal family, but blaming your parents or your situation for where you are
right now is not an excuse for you not to succeed in life.
Realize that you have the
ability to overcome your personal obstacles. Sometimes it may be difficult to
believe in yourself when you have developed negative feelings from past
experiences. It takes proper mindset to get fresh perspective of things ahead of
you and believe it.
“People need to constantly
invest in their mindset. It’s tough to be in business. It’s not your skillset,
it’s your mindset that you need to manage first. It’s about emotional and
mental intelligence. If you don’t know how to control your emotions, you are
nothing. Sometimes emotions will make the decision for you not logic,” Arnault told this writer.
2. Be willing to embrace
Many startup founders struggle
with the financial aspects of the business. They fear the numbers and try to
delegate the tasks of reviewing the financials to their accountants and
Overcoming the fear of
understanding the financial relationship of your business can spell the
difference between leading your business to nowhere and growing a sustainable
“I put my hands into
everything. I learned how to read profit and loss and the balance sheet, if I
don’t know the story behind the numbers in my business, it is like I don’t how
my business is doing. That was one of my turning points. You don’t need to love
your numbers. You just need to make love with your numbers.” Arnault explained.
“If you don’t know what your
numbers are, you will not know where you are at, how can you make that dollar count
and grow your business,” he added
3. You Can Always Learn More
It doesn’t matter
how good you become at your chosen skill or craft, there is always potential
for more learning and development. Many successful people might
let their achievements go to their head, and make them think there’s nothing
they can improve upon. This really isn’t true; there’s always room for people
to improve and learn more, which is exactly why Arnault and many other people
have continued to grow year by year. It’s all about being hungry to learn more,
4. Never quit.
"Before success comes in any man's
life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some
failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do
is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred
of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their
greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had
overtaken them." — Napoleon Hill, "Think And Grow
Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) believed wealth to be the physical manifestation of
one's perseverance. In the book, "Think And Grow Rich," Hill tells
the story of being three feet from gold, where out of frustration a gold miner
sells his machinery to a junk man who then strikes it rich by digging just
three feet away from where he had given up hope. "Think And Grow
Rich" is truly an inspirational work of literature and one of the most
widely read personal finance books in history. It also highlights the importance
5. Invest for the
overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in
ten years." — Arnault
Bill Gates is founder of the Microsoft Corporation and has
been the richest man in the world for the past two decades. His philosophy can
be applied to any goal you're working to achieve in life, but in terms of
investing, it is important to remember the benefits of long-term investments
and the snowball effect of compound interest.
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