At some point every business fails. That is the nature of capitalism. Innovation leads to profits, profits attract competition, competition dilutes margin, no margin no profits, no profits no business. And if a business ever somehow avoids this system and grows too strong to compete with, usually governments break them up. So no matter what, at some point every business fails. The party always ends.
But my party is going to last way longer than it was set to when I started out on this path. When I opened Rothman PPC, there was some time limit out there in the future when my party was set to end. Was it 5 years? What it 25 years? I don’t really know. But what I do know is that my shelf life has been extended by a massive amount due to the generous nature of Warren Buffett.
I’m always learning from Buffett. I read his letters or watch his videos every single day. I’m always learning from my investing and business hero. But the thing that’s impacted me most here at Rothman PPC is his concept of the moat, and specifically always widening the moat.
A business, following Buffett’s metaphor, is an economic castle, and the manager is the king or queen in the castle. And outside the castle’s walls, brutal capitalism and all its soulless actors are coming to overrun you and take your castle. That’s the competition. And to defend your castle from the competition, you’ve got to create a moat around your castle. And then from there your job is to continually make the moat as wide as possible.
Wide moat means you stay in business. No moat means there is no business.
So my job as a manager is to continually grow my moat. Business for me at this point really is that simple, and I’m telling you, that’s all I think about every single day. Grow the moat, grow the moat, grow the moat.
8am I’m reading my morning newspapers, drinking coffee, and I’m thinking grow the moat.
Mid-morning I’m engaged with clients and campaigns and getting my clients great leads from Google Ads, and I’m thinking grow the moat.
Late afternoon I’m wrapping up for the day, taking care of administrative work, and I’m thinking grow the moat.
Growing the moat and making it as wide as possible is my job description. Helping people is all I do all day, and I do it to continually grow my moat and protect my castle. There’s a lot of things outside the business manager’s control, but focusing on growing the moat is something a manager can do every day.