Long-term investing doesn’t just mean ride your winners. It means don’t shy away from your losers.
My group of companies has a fair value net worth of $1.7 billion on a pre-tax basis as of 12-31-17 in part because we have taken a long term “built to last” approach to our investments and our relationships.
For example, with lenders: Every business needs access to capital and lenders are an important constituency for any business. Treat them well.
There has NEVER been a payment default or a credit loss with ANY loan associated with me or any of our companies since the inception of our business activities in 1991. We have always put our lenders first, including always infusing equity into a company to pay down debt to protect the lender if needed.
We have NEVER walked away from a company and left the lender holding the bag. We have NEVER run away from our losers when banks are involved.
Perhaps our persistence has cost us money supporting investments that we should have “cut loose.” But we believe maintaining our reputation for supporting all of our investments is more important than the financial gains from “walking away from your losers.”
Ultimately, our people and customers win when they know regardless of what it takes we will support the business. This builds the long-term focus a business needs to succeed over many technology and market cycles.
Yes, all of these long-term moves have reduced our short-term financial gains. But we aren’t in this for the short term. It’s the long run that matters for our companies, our people, and our customers we serve.