Tilman Fertitta is an American businessman who has mastered the art of deal making while never losing sight of the principles of customer service, from the ground floor up.
His life’s work is Landry´s, Inc empire., an eclectic hospitality conglomerate that owns and operates more than 600 dining, entertainment and gaming venues.
A true example of the American dream, Mr. Fertitta´s entrepreneurial success has seen him rise from humble beginnings with a single restaurant location in Katy, Texas (population 18,000 properties across 36 states and 15 countries including household names like Mastro’s Steakhouse and Ocean Club, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Oceanaire Seafood, Vic & Anthony´s Steakhouse as well as multi-unit restaurants including consumer favorites Landry´s Seafood House, Rainforest Café, Saltgrass Steak House and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. to name a few.
Tilman is also listed as one of America´s wealthiest individuals, with a fortune estimated at just over 5 billion dollars, but his exemplary track record in business has always gone hand in hand with meaningful philanthropic work, as Mr. Fertitta believes giving back to the community is one of the pillars for a purposeful life.
He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the Houston Police Foundation and Houston Children’s Charity and is currently serving his sixth year as Chairman of the Board of Regents, University of Houston.
In his new book, aptly titled “Shut up and listen!” Tilman shares an abundance of valuable information directed at people from all walks of life, with additional value for anyone who currently runs a business or is interested in building a career as a successful entrepreneur driven by ethical business principles and service to the customer.
“If the overall idea is to find ways to separate ourselves from what everyone else does, that can be just as meaningful for a stay at home mom taking care of her kids as a Fortune 500 CEO,” he adds. “We can all relate to these simple truths. Through all the unbelievable highs and lows in my life and business, I don’t fear anything, but I worry about everything. When things are good, understand they will someday be bad and vice versa, so don’t panic. And the more successful I’ve become, the more I’ve realized that while it’s nice to be important, it’s more important to be nice.” –Tilman affirms.
For ultra successful business magnates like Mr. Fertitta, the devil truly is in the details. He believes that in order to accomplish extraordinary goals, one must train oneself to focus on the subtleties that most people ignore.
One of the most impactful chapters in Shut Up and Listen! is “Get to Know Your ‘Five,’ in which Tilman – ever attentive to every last detail of deal making and customer interactions – explains that the 5% of the business that owners overlook can be the difference between leading it to the top or taking it down.
Tilman sums up his 5% concept this way: “I’ve heard it from all sorts of entrepreneurs: How can a measly 5% help or hurt my business so much? How can such a small part matter, especially when most everything else is working so well? Believe me, it can. By the 95 percent, I’m talking about the portion of your business that functions well. It can refer to the core competence of your business, be that food service, landscaping, or any other activity. (The 5% are) . . .those elements that, when executed well, can set your business apart and help propel it to the next level – or at the same time, hinder your growth if they’re not done right or ignored together.”
“Stories have been written about me saying that I can see a burned-out light bulb 40,000 feet in the sky,” Tilman says. “Why is that? Because when I go into my businesses, I pay attention and look for what’s wrong. I’ve trained myself to see little things that matter. It drives some of my colleagues crazy, but I take their complaints as compliments. Little things truly matter in taking a business from good to extraordinary.”
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