Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lecture on Guide to Enterprise

“When we take away from a man his traditional way of life, his customs, his religion, we had better make certain to replace it with SOMETHING OF VALUE” 
                    - Robert Chester Ruark, Something Of Value 

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 When Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller et al, began to generate wealth, the questions of ethics arose. To become enormously rich through moneymaking business inevitably raises questions about values. To many, progress means material wealth. The business ideology of a modern free world, man’s material progress is far from a threat, but rather a promise of a new age - “a time of fulfillment when everybody would have enough of everything,” in the words of Charles W. Ferguson who epitomized Dewitt Wallace.

The philosophy of Philanthropy, the legal Neo-Robin Hood of recent times, has saved the face of the rich businessman in the eyes of a critical world. That to continue accumulating wealth is not bad as long as that wealth is “given away” to benefit mankind.

I may have transgressed a little from the topic, but the defense I would like to point out is the essence of not only giving away the wealth one accumulates in business, but more importantly the duty of an entrepreneur to treat well his constituents particularly the employees, as he accumulates wealth. Equitable compensation precedes philanthropic purpose. It is of course the most ideal to blend both values.


Ruark, the author of “Something of Value” said “ If a man does away with what is good custom and tradition, he must first see to it that there is something of value to replace it. But enterprise is also prospective. It envisions a concept that is ahead of anyone’s thinking, and of today’s conventions. It is a laying down for the future a work that can be done today. Henry Ford industrialized America with his vision of a people’s car. John F. Kennedy saw the future of space science to serve mankind. Satellite communications today, a multi-million dollar electronics business, has revolutionized the world, linking the peoples of many nations.

We conceptualize even the ordinary. Like local resources that can be tapped for maximized utilization. Local talents can be at par with the Western’s. it is looking ahead, thinking deeper and organizing well that enable us to arrive at a concept and subsequently putting it to use. For the business administrator, this is priceless tool.

These are rules that guide a prospective entrepreneur so that he is not only successful, but his efforts should be made truly relevant to the community in which he is a part.

1. Build an independent enterprise – Call it “ empire building" but it is better than to be a subservient to a boss. Be the boss like the accountant who became a partner of an auditing firm.

2. Be enterprising, explore the frontiers – Like Dewitt Wallace, he discovered a new piece of journalism, the Reader’s Digest.

3. Innovations have price to be paid. Do not let people pay them for you – If you recommend fertilizer use, be sure that the ones who get the most benefit are the users - farmers - and secondarily the manufacturer and distributor.

4. Preserve tradition that holds values – Do not discard old things for new ones. But if you do, just like what Ruark advised, “ there must be something of value to replace it.”

5. Look ahead but through concepts that are implementable – It is not always true that if you use your imagination, necessarily you must think modern. Be indigenous, if you can.

6. Benevolence and philanthropy are ethical leverages to wealth getting – But if you give part of your wealth, be sure there is absolutely no condition that negates altruism.

These are some concepts as guide to a successful enterprise. Good luck!

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