LESSONS FROM BERNARD ARNAULT; THE RICHEST MAN IN FRANCE

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Bernard Jean 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.

EARLY LIFE
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 company.

CAREER
In 1984, with the help of Antoine Bernheim, a senior partner of Lazard Frères, Arnault acquired the Financière Agache, a luxury goods company.[5] He became the CEO of Financière Agache and subsequently took control of Boussac Saint-Frères, a textile company in turmoil. Boussac owned Christian 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.[9] 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 1994, LVMH acquired the perfume firm Guerlain.[12] In 1996, Arnault bought out Loewe,[13] followed by Marc Jacobs and Sephora in 1997.[14] These brands were also integrated into the group: Thomas Pink in 1999, Emilio Pucci in 2000 and FendiDKNY and La Samaritaine in 2001.
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.[15] The result was the LVMH Tower that opened in December 1999.

SUCCESS LESSONS
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 the numbers
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 bookkeepers.

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 business.

“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, always.

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 Rich"
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 of persistence.

5. Invest for the long term.

"Most people 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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