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It’s Not Where You Start but Where You Finish: Lessons for Business & Life

It’s Not Where You Start but Where You Finish: Lessons for Business & Life

Автор David Schwartz

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It’s Not Where You Start but Where You Finish: Lessons for Business & Life

Автор David Schwartz

162 страницы
3 часа
6 нояб. 2013 г.


David Schwartz has given us the privilege of peering into the workings of his mind. His book is indeed an invitation to tap into his thoughts, wisdoms and philosophies and in so doing, to share a veritable feast of lessons from a genuine business master.
6 нояб. 2013 г.

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It’s Not Where You Start but Where You Finish - David Schwartz


I SPENT 43 years doing what I love. And I am conscious of the fact that I am indeed incredibly fortunate to have been in such a privileged position. I have been fortunate also to have worked with many wonderful people – family, partners, as well as friends in business and customers, clients and advisors. All these people and my wonderful family are what makes my working career such a joy.

So why have I written this book?

Over the years I have spoken to, guided and helped many people. These people would come to me after and thank me for the guidance I’d given them, very often not realising the impact it would have on their lives. I would often think that I should remember to teach the same lesson to my children when they are old enough and mature enough to appreciate the value of my experience. Over the years I have done that, writing those lessons down and collating them into this book.

Some might say it’s an indulgence to write a book such as this. I have been humbled in my life by people who have helped me on my journey. I have learned from great masters in life and in business, and they include my father Percy, my mother Reva, my Uncle Jack, my grandparents Morris Schwartz, Harry and Joey Jacobson, and my business partners of whom there are many. In addition to the lessons I’ve learned from them, my own preparedness to observe, adopt their ideas and to back myself and my judgment in building businesses, has brought me to where I am today.

The lessons here are not intended to be prescriptive or any kind of step-by step manual in launching or starting a business or career. Rather, because I know there are so many ingredients and choices that present themselves which can derail the best of businesses, I thought, why not try and distil all that I know into a book written in a way which takes the reader on a kind of journey?

Don’t read this book if you want the secret to success. There is no secret. No shortcuts.

People who succeed in life and business do so because they work at it and have the right attitude and mindset. Intentionally, I talk about mindset at the beginning. This forms the essence of Part One of the book. Success is an inside job, but it isn’t as simple as: Positive thinking will overcome all hurdles. It’s about doing some work even before you write your business case. You need to discover your passion. What would make you jump out of bed at 5.00am every morning to work on your idea or business? You need to discover your skills and, most importantly, accept that you don’t know it all and can’t do it all and therefore look hard at who you need to seek help from in pursuit of your vision.

I do believe that we all have some entrepreneurial spirit in us and we sometimes need the encouragement, help and guidance to start. That’s why hanging up your shingle, proclaiming to the world that you are Open for business is the most important thing you can do as an entrepreneur. It isn’t important what that shingle says at the beginning. This is one of my core beliefs and the title of this book. It’s not where you start, but where you finish.

In Part Two of the book you’ll read my views and experiences on growing and building businesses. I have turned businesses, that have had next-to-no capital, into multi-million dollar enterprises. How I have done this is exemplified in some of the pages here.

Finally, in Life Wisdoms, I give you what is most dear to my heart. Hard-won wisdoms on how we can find balance between work and family and also live with integrity, compassion, charity and openness.

In order to make the lessons clear and simple, I sprinkle them throughout each section and they are italicised. I also distil them into a summary at the end of each chapter and the book.

The goal of this book is to share what I have learned on my journey in business. I hope you enjoy this journey as much as I have.

David Schwartz

Perth, Australia.


There is always a beginning to every journey. In this part David introduces his book with lessons on the importance of mindset and attitude.

These are lessons that he learned from his early days of starting a business when he set off to find my own path and separate from the family business. Within just a few years he had made enough money out of property investing to venture into some larger development projects.

He would go on to do multi-million-dollar deals soon after. A truly remarkable achievement.



I STARTED my first business with my good friend Yehudi. We had both been given tropical fish tanks for our 13th birthday.

I noticed I had baby fish in the tank one day and quickly read up on what to do with them. The advice was to separate them from the adults because they would otherwise be eaten. Yehudi and I then figured out if we could buy a second tank and grow the fish to a size where we could sell them we could pay for the tank just with the babies I already had. Some two years later Yehudi and I had 30 tanks and became a supplier to one of the biggest tropical fish stores. That was in the late 1960s.

By age 15 we sold out of the business. A successful exit!

As an adult aged 20 I started my own venture. This was in the early 1970s and I used capital of my own. By the late 1980s I was doing multi-million dollar property deals and already had a number of business partnerships in play. But I realised that even before you hang up that first shingle and launch yourself into business, you have to conquer your mind and harness your thinking. As Eastern philosophy teaches: The most important thing is how we think. It is all in the mind.


I always try and look at what is the positive side of an issue.

It’s a simple story, but the other day a man came up to me and said, Opportunities never come my way. He looked forlorn, beaten by years of struggle. And he wasn’t the only one. Many people have said similar words to me in recent years.

The truth is, people often have negative thoughts about things. Instead of seeing the positive they believe the negative and so don’t attract good people and ideas to themselves.

Since I was very young, I have never had this problem because my mind is focused on looking for opportunities. I am a positive thinker. I believe I can do it. I am constantly on the lookout for great ideas whether it is by watching TV, reading a magazine or shopping in the supermarket.


Strange how opportunities present themselves, but only if you have the mindset. Very recently I had a call from my daughter Gabi. She had need for a special tinted optical lens. They were hard to come by. The lens she was using became unavailable as the manufacturer had closed the operation. The supplier of the lens was CIBA who was manufacturing out of Puerto Rico. Surely there was an opportunity to fill a gap in the market for the type of contact lens my daughter was seeking? Could I buy the lens maker? Clearly there was an opportunity to get a licence to manufacture the lenses or to use our own technology and start making the lenses, taking advantage of the new-found opportunity.

Now we proudly make these tinted lenses and sell them on the world market. We now not only sell the lenses but we have also entered into a joint venture with a former head of R&D at a large global corporation. When I heard that this person had left the company, I asked my partner in the lens business to find out how we could get them interested in joining our small growing business. Yes, we now have another partnership setup to develop new technologies in lens manufacturing.

People ask me, Why does it happen to you?

I think it’s because I have an inquiring mind, and find out everything I need to know to support my ideas and decisions. When you focus on finding opportunities you will notice them. It is like the question, How many red cars did you see on your way to work this morning? None? It’s surprising how many you will now see on the way home. And then you might see an opportunity related to red cars or the lack of them. When you question everything you see it is amazing what opportunities flow from there. You need to train and remind yourself to do it.


I always look and say, Can I make this product? or Can I import it from a better source? or Can I improve on somebody’s idea? Or I tell myself that there must be a huge margin in what they are

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