Warren Buffett Says You Should Practice the 4 Habits That Separate the Best From the Rest

Lessons from the Oracle of Omaha that will yield good returns.


Warren Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, turns 91 in August. Remarkably, at an age where most people’s cognitive functions have entirely regressed, where many are now at the hands of caretakers, Buffett still captures the world’s attention as the fifth richest person on the planet.

The greatest investor of this generation has amassed a following of millions who’ve learned, like Buffett, that long-term success is achieved by making smart decisions — in investing and in life.

Here are four Buffett lessons that will yield good returns when you choose to act on them.

  1. Master the practice of “boundaries”

With all the demands on him every day, Buffett learned a long time ago that the greatest commodity of all is time. He simply mastered the art and practice of setting boundaries for himself. That’s why this Buffett quote remains a powerful life lesson. The mega-mogul said:

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

Buffett’s advice is a bull’s-eye to our conscience. We have to know what to shoot for to simplify our lives. It means saying no over and over again to the unimportant things flying in our direction every day and remaining focused on saying yes to the few things that truly matter.

  1. Invest in your personal development

What assets should you be investing in the most? In a 2019 interview, Buffett said: “By far the best investment you can make is in yourself.”

As Buffett has repeatedly taught us, it means to never stop acquiring knowledge — the kind of knowledge that betters yourself as a whole person, not just as an investor.

Buffett’s lifelong pursuit of learning, which he shares with his longtime Berkshire Hathaway partner and colleague Charlie Munger, is the secret sauce of his success.

  1. Model the leadership behaviors of the best managers

In Buffett’s 2015 letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, he summarized how one arrives at leadership greatness in a few words:

Much of what you become in life depends on whom you choose to admire and copy.

The quote was in reference to Tom Murphy, who taught Buffett everything he learned about managing a company. Murphy, who was Buffett’s biggest admirer, gave plenty of lessons on the best management practices that Buffett has adapted for his own companies, including:

  • Give autonomy to workers.
  • Delegate your authority effectively and wisely.
  • Hire for integrity.
  1. Build a positive reputation

Buffett’s reputation is founded on his principled and level-headed approach to his personal and professional life. When it comes to building a good reputation, these are some things worth prioritizing:

  • Establishing trust, transparency, and fairness
  • Offering good value and high-quality products and services
  • Treating people with dignity and respect
  • Communicating clearly and promptly
  • Providing a service to the community

You should treat your business practice as a reflection of yourself, and that means being thoughtful and considerate of how your decisions affect others. If you embrace professional opportunities as a chance to add value to your community, your reputation will reflect your own personal growth.

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Pic’s & Whittakers

A few of the key factors in the success of any business are being able to adapt, innovate and strive for continual improvement, even if you have the market sector cornered, and that is exactly what Pic Picot and his merry band of peanut butter wizards do at Pic’s Peanut Butter World.

The Pic’s story about making peanut butter at home because he thought the commercial stuff was simply awful is very well known but people often forget the risk, thoughtfulness and extensive planning required to build a business the size of Pic’s Peanut Butter into the enterprise it is today.

Let’s be honest, it is just peanut butter, damned fine peanut butter but just peanut butter none the less, it is the dedication to excellence, the branding and marketing that has made this one of New Zealand’s most trusted brands and has provided the springboard to expand the range of products produced by the enthusiastic Pic’s team that shares his dream to create a business that is important to New Zealand, and just happens to be based in the place he calls home, Nelson.

When a new Pic’s product arrives on the shelves everyone is more than happy to try it because we trust Pic and his brand but what we don’t see is the very careful market analysis and product testing that happens before you and I get to buy it.

Making products like almond butter and cashew butter seems like a simple thing to do but there is a lot of planning that goes into the production of these to ensure there’s no cross contamination with peanut products. Then there’s simple things like selling peanut butter ‘slugs’ so you can take the handy little plastic squeeze pouches with you anywhere or even selling it in buckets for those who just can’t get enough of his pure peanut butter – “we only add salt, nothing else”.

Because we live in a region where a large proportion of the world’s boysenberries are grown it seems like common sense to add boysenberry jelly to the range they produce, after all peanut butter and jelly is a classic blend to spread on your morning toast.

Honey is another product that was simple to add, just find a reliable source of premium honey and add the trusted Pic’s brand. Then there’s those who have created products like ice cream and chocolate using Pic’s peanut butter; however, creating a whole new product isn’t easy, especially when you have built a peanut butter brand on having nothing but peanuts and salt in each jar.

The latest product from Pic’s has been created in association with another trusted New Zealand brand, Whittaker’s Chocolate. Pic’s Peanut Chocolate Butter is like a Whittaker’s peanut slab in paste form, and it’s bloody delicious!

When I received a sample of this new product I phoned Pic and told him we needed to talk, the product is ridiculously good so I wanted to know what went in to creating it and getting it to market without compromising his trusted brand. We sat down over a coffee and he told me “it actually started about five years ago so it isn’t something we have jumped into on a whim.

“There had been mutterings in the firm about needing a chocolate peanut butter about 5 years ago so when a Dutch girl came to work for us as an intern and she needed a project we gave her the peanut chocolate butter as a project to research for us.

“She did some work on branding and label design and we made some trial batches and ran a public taste test at a Nelson City market day at the time, the public loved it but I was resistant because I’m a purist when it comes to peanut butter, it’s who we are as a company.

“But the team were keen to do something and kept pushing the idea to me, I just kept my thumb on the hold button for five years rather than pressing go however, I have a fantastic team and I know I need to support them as much as they support me, I trust them and their thoughts around these things and I can’t be autocratic all the time.”

Having Whittaker’s as a co-brand partner was an important part of the decision. “I love the fact they are manufacturers like us, not just a company marketing a product, I want to partner with people who make stuff rather than just selling a product, we also always want to make products that are going to be used rather than being tried once or twice then ending up being pushed to the back of the shelf in the pantry.”

That means a huge amount of effort went into creating the right peanut chocolate butter blend, “we are peanut butter makers first and foremost so it had to be a peanut butter product with a chocolate flavour rather than a chocolate product with a peanut flavour.”

When we talked about the risk of bringing a product like this to market he said of course it’s a risk, “but if we stop taking risks we become boring and that is worse than death. If you didn’t do something different you would never know what the outcome might be and just might miss the golden opportunity.”

As much as I like this new product Pic’s is first and foremost a peanut butter producer this country, and many others around the world, trust so Pic Picot would never let his company do something that will compromise the hard-earned trusted brand stamp.

A top tip from me is to try this delicious peanut chocolate butter spread on a warm croissant for a Sunday morning treat, outrageously decadent!

Published in the Nelson Mail 03-02-2010

Celebrating 25 Years of Creativity at Downings

The year is 1994, Sony releases the PlayStation One; Lieutenant Dan gets new legs; Friends makes its debut and Tony Downing starts a design studio out of a small flat in Tahunanui. Twenty five years later, that business is a bit bigger!

Downing Creative is the leading Marketing and Branding creative business in this region and we are proud to have been part of their journey.

Congratulations to Tony, Vanessa and everyone at Downing Creative and thanks for the work you do for us and for trusting us as your financial advisers

Check out their new website to see how they can help you and your business. Click here for some great ideas

Excellence in Bed & Breakfast Hosting – Award Winners

Congratulations to our long-term clients Brian and Anthea Harvey who have just been awarded the 2019 Supreme B&B Business of the Year at the recent B&B Awards

The Awards Programme celebrates excellence in hospitality in the bed and breakfast and hosted accommodation sector.  They provide a benchmark of excellence and inspiration to other bed and breakfast hosts along with showcasing the best of New Zealand hospitality within the B&B accommodation sector.  Rayma Jenkins, President, said “the Awards honour, recognise, encourage and reward our members who are the very best bed and breakfast properties in New Zealand.”

Bed & Breakfast Association New Zealand and Vision Insurance are pleased to announce Bellbird Lodge, Kaiteriteri, owned by Anthea & Brian Harvey, has been awarded the 2019 Supreme B&B Business of the Year.  

The Bed & Breakfast Association Award programme is made up of three Awards – Supreme B&B Business of the Year, Emerging B&B Business of the year (open to those who have been operating two years or less) and B&B Host of the year.

Supreme B&B Business of Year winners Brian and Anthea care for and about their guests.  In their words “it is not about what we think the guests want but what they actually want”. 

2019 Emerging B&B Business of the Year Award Winner is Acacia Heights Gardens, Taupo, owned by Heather & David Bridson.

2019 B&B Host of the Year Award Winner is Morepork Riverside Lodge, Paihia, Barb & Paul Linton.

 “The calibre of entries in all categories this year is extremely high, each one deserves the highest praise,” said Rayma.  “A hallmark of a stay in a hosted bed and breakfast is a personalised experience for our guests.  There is no one formula for operating and this is certainly true of our entrants”.

The programme is judged by Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s Chris Roberts and the Association’s President and Vice President.

Other winners were:

Supreme B&B Business of the Year 1st Runner Up – Whakaipo Lodge, Taupo

Supreme B&B Business of the Year 2nd Runner Up – Morepork Riverside Lodge, Paihia

Emerging B&B Business of the Year Highly Commended – Willows Green, Blenheim

Emma Heke in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine October 2018

Our client, Emma Heke, is featured in the NZ Lifestyle Block magazine this month. With great photography by Daniel Allen this article tells Emma’s story about making teas from her home in Nelson.

Buy your copy to find out more about this very successful small business making its mark in NZ and click here to enter the NZ Lifestyle Block competition to win 10 packs of delicious Heke Homemade Herbals teas, these teas are favourites in our office.

Volume wins big

The old saying that nice things come in small packages couldn’t be more apt in the case of another client who has been successful, this time at the 2018 Retail Hotlist Awards.

The very small shop in Church Street that is home to Volume – The Space for Books belies the stature of this perfect little bookshop. After opening just over 18 months ago Volume has quickly gained a reputation as one of the very best independent bookshops in New Zealand and this was recognised recently when they won the People’s Choice Award for BEST PROVINCIAL RETAILER at the 2018 Retail Hotlist Awards – not just for bookshops but for all retailers

This is proof that customers want great service and that is just what Thomas and Stella deliver everyday to every customer


Purple Cake Day & WOW tickets

We are big supporters of the Kenbe La Foundation and Purple Cake day. The team has a great deal to offer you this year. Here’s what they have to for you:


We’re from the Purple Cake Day children’s charity.

Are you or your staff planning to see the World of WearableArt Awards Show in Wellington this year?

If so, here is a wonderful opportunity to get a great seat AND support a good cause!

As a charity of choice of WOW®, Purple Cake Day has tickets to sell to the Preview Show on Wednesday 23 September.

We’re thrilled about this opportunity because 50% of the ticket sale goes to the vulnerable children we support in our projects – one of which is rebuilding schools in Nepal after the recent earthquakes. Which means YOU get a great seat AND help vulnerable kids in Nepal, Haiti, Kenya and Vanuatu.

  • These tickets are for the Preview Show at 7pm, Wed 23 September, (which means you will be amongst the first to see the 2015 show).
  • They are Premium Plus seats (stage side tiered seating, without a programme) at just $100 per ticket.
  • Tickets we have available are limited.
  • To find out more about this year’s World of WearableArt Awards Show, visit worldofwearableart.com

And of course, the more the merrier. Feel free to forward this email or add it to your staff newsletter and make a night of it with friends, neighbours, cousins, aunts, great-grandparents, colleagues, or staff. That would help immensely.

Please use this Purple Cake Day link [available 6 July onwards] to purchase tickets.

And then, get ready for a wonderful night!

Emily & the Purple Cake Day Team 

Hopgood’s Restaurant

The following article about one of our clients, Hopgoods Restaurant was written by Neil Hodgson and published in the Nelson Mail at the end of April in his regular Taste of Nelson Column. We think it is a story worth sharing again.

Hopgood’s Restaurant or as everyone calls it ‘Hopgood’s’ is a restaurant you can rely on to deliver great quality food and service every time, something that is very difficult to do in any business let alone a hospitality business.

I first met Kevin Hopgood when a friend introduced me to a chef who wanted some advice on where to get local wines for a new restaurant he was opening. It only took me a few minutes to realise Kevin Hopgood knew what he was talking about, he knew what he wanted to achieve and all I had to do was give him the names of local wine producers who made wines that would work well with his style of food. When he contacted those wineries he was welcomed with open arms because this is the style of restaurant that serves food designed to enjoy with great wines, a restaurant where the whole dining experience is important not just the food.

So what is the secret? I think it is the vast experience Kevin has garnered over the years as well as his commitment to fresh, quality produce and well trained staff that adds up to a successful Nelson restaurant. Mentoring young chefs to achieve great things is important to Kevin.

Food is something that has always excited Kevin, he started is cooking career in the UK at the tender age of 17 with a year at catering college. His first job saw him working as a junior chef at the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) in London’s Pall Mall, just a block behind the Queen’s London home, for two years where he cooked classical French style food.

His next job had him working the very modern restaurant of the time, L’Escargot in Soho. Owned by Martin Lam and Jancis Robinson (MW), his passion for wine and food matching was ignited. Being inspired by a top chef and a Master of Wine for three years was invaluable experience for a young chef.

Kevin’s first experience in a Michelin Star restaurant was at Rue St Jacques inn Charlotte St, London with Gunter Schlender where he worked in the fish section for two years before moving on to Rules, the oldest restaurant in London. This is where Lilly Langtree used to date the king of the day, using a secret passage in the restaurant to access a private dining room.

The opportunity arose to work for the Roux brothers Albert and Michele Roux senior as their protégé at Le Gavroche, he trained with them honing his skills before they appointed him as a relief head chef in various restaurants they owned. This saw him cooking as head chef in many of London’s finest hotels and restaurants, the Roux brothers obviously had faith in his talent.

Kevin was approached to run a restaurant in Charlotte St with the doyenne of London dining Elena Salvoni in 1992. Elena had retired but was bored so two months later opened a restaurant called Elana’s L’Etoile (means the stars in French). The then almost 70 year old Elena and Kevin worked together as maitre de and head chef for 10 years before he moved to NZ.

During his time at Elana’s he won the Wedgewood Chef & Potter competition in 1998 from more than 200 chefs entered. The prize was worth some 15,000 pounds and included a full set of monogramed glasses, a 12 piece setting of Wedgewood crockery and 10 days at the stunning Le Toussrok resort in Mauritius. This trip became his honeymoon after he married Jane in 1999 and the Hopgoods moved their young family to Nelson, arriving on the 1st January 2005 and establishing Hopgood’s Restaurant in October that year.

One of the things that makes Kevin Hopgood very proud is the success many of the chefs he has mentored over the years have achieved. A recent review in Melbourne says “Matthew James, Melbourne’s first and only Michelin trained chef to offer MasterClasses in the comfort of your own kitchen reigns from London and has been classically French trained by some of the best Chefs in the world, Jacques Rolancy, Albert Roux, Kevin Hopgood and the renowned Gordon Ramsey”.  Luke Dale-Roberts of Cape Town’s The Test Kitchen which was given the prestigious ‘One to Watch’ award at the 2013 San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards. British born Luke has appeared twice in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants during his time as Head Chef of La Colombe, taking it to 12th place. Luke has a strong Kiwi connection; one of his early mentors was Le Roux Chef Kevin Hopgood.

Kevin Hopgood’s skill as a chef and mentor is recognised in many corners of the globe and we are very lucky indeed to have this quiet, unassuming man running one of the finest restaurants in New Zealand right here in Nelson where he gets immense satisfaction employing staff and seeing them succeed, being part of a strong community, seeing his family grow up, being able to bump into suppliers and customers in the street and knowing where the food and wines he serves come from.

A New Zealand Collectible Art Show – The Framing Rooms: June 2015

The Framing Rooms are looking for expressions of interest in their second Collectible Art Sale.  It will feature New Zealand Artists and include traditional and contemporary work.  Their aim is to gather together a dynamic mix of artworks that people find exciting and that they would love to own.  They are able to exhibit up to 40 artworks at a time.

What is considered collectible?

Collectibility concerns factors such as the status of the artist, when in the artist’s career the artwork was produced, the condition the work is in, provenance and current trends.

Valuations will be very helpful in knowing what price a work should sell for. There is the possibility that Neil Roberts (experienced Fine Art Valuer based in Christchurch) can come to Nelson and offer this if a group of people are interested.

How The Collectable Art Sale will work

  • A catalogue will be available on our website and the gallery will show the artwork for 2 weeks.
  • Publicity will be organised including email marketing
  • There will be a preview day and an opening
  • The artworks will be sold on a fixed price basis.  This will be agreed on between the owner and The Framing Rooms.
  • When an artwork is sold and paid for it can be taken from the wall.
  • The Framing Rooms takes a 20% commission on sales and payment is made the week after the sale is over.
  • The owners of the artworks can be anonymous

Insurance : The Framing Rooms does have insurance but any artwork priced at over $1000 must have a valuation to be covered by our policy.

Their first Art Sale for Ann and John Hercus was very successful and really enjoyed by visitors to the gallery.  They are looking forward to working with other Nelson art lovers on this second event.

If you would like to be involved please email Gill Starling at info@theframingrooms.co.nz or call on 548 3991 or call into visit the gallery at 96 Collingwood Street (opposite The Free House).