What separates billionaires from the rest?
They take high risks.
Now, you might say, "Isn't that what business is all about, Tommy?" Well, here's the difference: Billionaires -- the ones I've talked to, at least -- know how to take high risks that have high payoffs.
In other words, these risks scare most people away but give incredible rewards if managed right.
Most of us aren't billionaires, but we can learn how to take the right risks. Here are a few risks that I took and that have paid off tremendously for my business, A1 Garage.
1. Use business credit to grow your business.
Should you grow slowly, debt-free, or should you use credit to grow your business?
Years back, I met with one of my competitors -- a smart, successful man -- and he asked me "Dude, why aren't you buying new trucks?"
"Well, I can't afford new trucks." (Back then, I would buy old Dodge Dakotas for $2,000. Or, I would get guys to drive their trucks.)
What he shared next blew my mind: "You can use business credit, you can write the trucks off using accelerated depreciation, you can also finance the trucks for lower payments. Just think about the perception of a brand new truck when you drive up to the customer's house! You're immediately worth more money in their eyes."
Convinced, I got business credit and bought all brand-new trucks. This is one of the key reasons that we've been able to charge more. And overall, I've seen how using credit wisely has helped us grow faster and expand in more markets.
2. Charge higher prices.
Charging more can feel scary, what if your customers complain, or worse still, leave for your competitors? But here's the thing, a lot of the time, we underestimate how much we're worth.
If this is something you're struggling with, here's what I want you to say to yourself: "My prices are based on my talents, not your budget." My business isn't the cheapest option in the market. Yet, customers come to us because we give them a great experience, and we have skilled technicians.
Also, if you want to hire the best talents in your market, you need to pay top dollar.
3. Pay more to hire great employees.
Six years ago, my manager called me up from Milwaukee to say, "Milwaukee is different from Phoenix. It's a shitty market." So I called up Robin, one of my top technicians, "I want you to go to Milwaukee and crush the record there." He gladly took up the challenge. Later that week, he called me, "I did good boss. $23,000. I think I want to stay in Milwaukee." That was three times higher than the best sales record at the time.
On average, we pay our technicians at least 10 percent higher than the market average and it goes way up for high achievers with performance pay and incentives.
4. The best risk anyone can take? It's free.
All right, I've talked about money, money, money.
But here's a very important risk that most people should take that won't require spending a single dollar.
It's about risking rejection, risking embarrassment, risking disappointment.
In other words, put yourself out there and ask for help -- be it experts who can help you grow the business to the next level or customers who can dramatically increase your income.
Every billionaire I've ever met, they are great at relationships. They know who to call and when. They understand what the right person for the job is. If they don't have a clue, they ask till they get the answer they need.
Now, a final piece of advice for you. While taking risks is important, you also want to make sure you aren't being foolish. I dumped money into marketing and hiring -- without having the right checks and balances -- and we had to close our operations in four markets.
In other words? Don't rush into taking risks -- make sure you understand what you're getting yourself into. If you need a lawyer or accountant's opinion, pay for their time to audit things upfront.