Jack Cowin is a guy who’s been around the block. At the age of 79, the Canadian-Australian entrepreneur has managed to amass a fortune of close to $ 5 billion — an impressive fortune defined by a handful of important achievements: introducing Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) to our tanned shores around 1969 — as we is eternally grateful-establishes Hungry Jack’s as the domestic answer to the international Burger King franchise around 1971, takes the reins of Dominio’s Pizza and serves as CEO of one of the country’s largest privately owned companies in Competitive Foods Australia. Despite all this and more, Jack Cowin is not quite ready to hang up his boots yet – in fact, he has a few lifetimes to give.
Talking to AFR Rich List Co-editor Julie-anne Sprague on the brand new of the famous financial publication How I managed it podcast series, the old man Cowin gave lots of wisdom to the masses to explain – get this – how he did it. So without further ado… mouth closed, ears open and notepads ready. It may just be the most valuable read of the year. If nothing else, you might get a better understanding of how a productive billionaire who has not just inherited his coin works.
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13 hours of life from Jack Cowin
1. If you lose your health, nothing else is important
“How much money would Kerry Packer have paid to get a new kidney? Include techniques like meditation or physical exercise in your life to maintain your mental and physical health. ”
2. If you lose your integrity, no success will be meaningful
“Success will create a hollow feeling when you look in the mirror. What would Alan Bond, Brian Quinn and Laurie Connell say on this subject? What would they say is important to them today if they were nearby? ”
Control your own destiny
“The most satisfied people I know have control over their lives and affairs. We are probably all seeking independence to do what we want, when and where we want to do it. 90% of the population is in jobs, activities or relationships of economic necessity. They stay in a job they hate. Have a vision or dream of where you want to go. Develop your passion. ”
4. Be prepared to take some risks
“Life is an adventure and a challenge. When you are young, you can afford to fail because you can start over. When you are old, you need stimulation. ”
5. But there are reservations to risk
- Do not bet on the farm
Things go wrong with the best laid plans. Spread the risk. In cricket terms, you do not have to swing to a six on all occasions. Singles and doubles get you there. Do not underestimate the power of compound interest rates.
- There is no shortage of great deals or ideas
Do not fall in love with a company. Do not put yourself in danger by chasing anything.
- Priority number one is survival
A CEO’s first job is to ensure that the company stays in business and survives. Understand what threats can take you out of the game and what decisions, if they are wrong, can be terminal.
- Think through the action plan at worst
Accept it without risk and the possibility of failure, perhaps success will be limited.
- Do not wait until the dogs bark at the door to do things
Banks do not issue umbrellas when it rains. When passing around, some ($) take some as they probably will not pass them when you want or need them.
6. Counterbalance the risk
“Get some money out of a business that is risky or market demanding. Counterbalance existing investments in your business. You sleep better at night. ”
7. Keep some powder dry
“Make sure you have an opportunity fund or capacity to raise money when the right deal shows up. Be prepared to model, test and prove that people will pay real money for the product before a boots-and-all commitment. Take a step-by-step approach rather than putting it all on your nose to win. ”
8. Find a tolerant partner
“You need a partner who can appreciate your quest for success and fulfillment. Be kind to your children as they are the ones checking you in at the nursing home. It can be very unfulfilling to try to enjoy yourself when no one else likes your business. ”
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9. Never give up if you think you are right
“Big companies operate on the basis that the little guy wants to fold. Viewing eliminates 85% of competitors who do not want to go the distance. The flip side of this is not dying on your sword in pursuit of mission impossible. Be prepared to reduce your losses. While Kenny Rogers sang, ‘You were told when to hold them and when to fold them.’ “
10. Laugh at yourself
“Do not get caught up in your own significance. Try to be humble even if you do not believe it. Be able to laugh at yourself. ”
11. Life is about dealing with people
“You can solve the biggest problems if you can maintain a smile and a sense of humor. Try to surround yourself with smart people who complement your skills. Pay attention to the big things. Delegate the everyday. Delegate, but do not abdicate. ”
“Learn to focus. Take a lesson from Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Get a regular business that produces cash flows; be a rifle, not a shotgun; the taxman helps share in losses instead of capital; watch out for new girls, more beautiful theories and distractions. ”
13. Understand the business
“And understand the basics, including market cycles. There have been three big bubbles: the paper merchants from the mid-80s; dot.com bombs; and mid-2000 U.S. housing failures. ”
And in the end, life is an adventure. It’s about the journey, not the destination.
You can check out the section on AFR’s How I managed it podcast with Jack Cowin (and his lifetime) below.