The 8 Business Tips From Retail Legend Gerry Harvey

Looking for valuable pieces of business wisdom? Gerry Harvey can teach you a lot about thriving in the market.

As a business owner, you could always use some good advice on how to succeed. There’s knowledge out there that can help you achieve all your dreams, if you only know how to put it into practice.

You’ll find below the rules that one of Australia’s most successful businessmen lives by. Gerry Harvey, executive chairman of Harvey Norman Holdings, has a lot to say about what it takes to succeed. Judging by the success of the popular retail chain, you could say that one can benefit from his knowledge.

Harvey is famous for his no-nonsense approach to business. It’s one of the main things that secured his impressive net worth of $1.55 billion. Let’s over some of the most valuable business tips, Gerry Harvey-style, that you may want to adopt.

1. Stop Trying to Impress Others

In the modern business environment, it’s hard to resist playing to one’s vanity. You can’t help but notice those successful entrepreneurs flaunting their lavish lifestyle all over social media. They show off the very exciting houses, cars, clothes, and whatever else worth showing off. 

Be that as it may, Harvey believes that this is quite unnecessary. In fact, on most days he doesn’t even subscribe to the business dress code.

Harvey has this to say about it:

‘I’m probably not your typical business person in many ways. I don’t wear a suit. I don’t carry a briefcase. I don’t wear a tie. I’m fairly casual. I haven’t got a big office, and it’s in a very ordinary part of town. I’d much prefer to downplay than impress.’

Harvey understands that running a successful business doesn’t have much to do with your social image or how people see you. He’d much rather stay grounded and do the work than putting his mind on impressing others. And if you’re looking to succeed, you’ll want to do the same. Stop thinking about what others think and focus on yourself and your business.

2. Care About Your People

You won’t be able to achieve anything too impressive in business on your own. Your personal talent and hard work will only take you so far. To scale your business to great heights, you’ll need capable people by your side.

When you find them, make sure that they connect with you and the ultimate goal. You don’t have use for people who get to work and immediately count the time to when they get to go home. You must create a culture in which everyone can thrive and grow with you.

To do this, Harvey suggests for you to show people that you truly care about them:

‘If you do genuinely care about people and love them a little, eventually you all have this common goal about where you want to go. They see it, and they believe it, and they become believers with you, and you can achieve wonderful things.’

Think about what you can do to make people believe in your goal. More importantly, how can you get them to connect emotionally with the work they’re doing? As soon as you figure this out, you’ll be able to create a dedicated team full of those who give their all to achieve the common goal.

3. Educate Your Teams

You may know that you should only bring the most talented people on board. But that’s not to say that talent can beat out hard work and constant improvement. That means you need to constantly invest in your people. Otherwise, they’ll reach a plateau, and with them the progress of your business.

‘At the end of the day, the more quality individuals you develop in the community, the better off the community should be,’ which is Harvey’s way of putting it.

You must give your people everything they need to progress. Even though it should mostly be their doing, you need to equip them with the tools and the knowledge needed for them to keep improving. The moment you stop encouraging them to do so is when you consign your business to eventual stagnation.

 

4. Be Better than Your Competition

Many business owners refrain from direct comparison to the competition. They believe that that you’re better off focusing your attention inward. However, Harvey disagrees.

He explains as such:

‘I think the main thing you measure your success by is what you do in comparison to your opposition. If you’re in an industry where you’re the leader, then you’re performing very well.’

This might sound a bit ambitious. After all, you don’t become an industry leader overnight. But that’s also the point. You need to strive for being better than your competition all the time. This is the only way to insure against complacency.

With this in mind, it’s not always a bad thing to compare yourself to others. Just don’t allow other people’s success to discourage you if you don’t measure up at first. In other words, don’t beat yourself up for not being as good as the competition. Use this as a source of motivation to become better and make your way up.

5. Take Care of Yourself

Running a business is a full-time job and then some – you’ll be working constantly. While your employees might go home and not have to think about work, you can’t afford to do the same as a business owner. You always think about how to take care of problems and to grow your business.

This can all be very exhausting. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the everyday grind and forget about your well-being. The stress might take over you and cause burn-out.

What do you think happens then?

In most cases, you’ll start to resent your business and want to get out of it. You’ll perform poorly, which your results will reflect.

For this reason, you must take good care of your health, both mental and physical. Per Harvey:

‘All I can say to you, if you look after your health, eat the right stuff, do enough exercise, keep your mind active, you might be around when you’re 100 having this conversation with someone.’ 

Take a look at your habits and see if they could use some tweaking. Don’t underestimate the power that minor positive changes can have over time. You’ll be no good to anyone if you’re burned out. To counter that, you’ll want to prioritise your well-being over everything else.

6. Stay Rational

You probably don’t need anyone to tell you that you should listen to reason when making business decisions. Emotions cloud your judgment into taking actions that don’t make sense or work.

There are so many tools that you can use to grow your business. Look at the numbers and make rational decisions based on what you see.

This is the way Harvey has always done it:

‘I am a common-sense sort of a person, and I don’t get carried away with emotion and fears.’ 

More often than not, emotional decisions lead to regret. Sure, you might get lucky once in a while but do you really want to gamble with your success?

Of course not. That’s why you need to make rational decisions that have something to stand on. Think every move through and set emotions aside.

7. Create an Inclusive Environment

In today’s business world, there’s no room for biases, which can only prevent you from finding the talent required to thrive in the market. This means that you should give everyone a chance to prove themselves regardless of their background.

‘Everybody, be they female, whatever your religion, whatever your nationality, you’re an individual, and if you perform well, we want you, and if you don’t, we don’t,’ says Harvey.

When building a team, don’t forget the ultimate goal. Use it as the only factor in making decisions. If someone fits your business’ needs and can take you closer to success, it’s someone that you can put to good use.

 

8. Don’t Stop Going After Success

Today’s business world is more abundant with opportunities than ever before. There was never a time like today when you have everything needed to grow your business and success right in front of you. You only need to know where to look to take advantage of the bountiful opportunities.

Harvey describes it in a highly inspirational fashion:

‘You get that air of satisfaction from achievement. It makes you feel good. We are only here for a very short time, and so you’re crazy if you don’t go out and try to milk it to the greatest extent you can.’

There’s no doubt that it won’t always be easy. What matters is to remember that there’s always something new that you can do to grow. Rather than letting opportunities pass you by, grab them whenever you can and may your wildest goals come true.

Don’t Stop Growing

No matter the stage of your business, think of it as your starting point. With that done, you’ll have established the point to go forward from. And as you go about building your success, you may want to adapt some of Harvey’s advice to your own strategy. 

Remember that it will take a lot of time and effort to get to where you want to be. Don’t rush things and take care of yourself and your people. After that, perhaps it’s a matter of time before your wildest dreams come true, hopefully.

At CUB, our ambition is to unite those who are changing the world through their businesses. We support these people by building a private community of Australia’s next titans of industry. And we bring these titans together to accelerate the achievement of each other’s ambitions. 

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