By Bill Freehling
FIRST a full disclosure: I never met Carl D. Silver.
By the time I started covering business for The Free Lance-Star, Silver was no longer really involved in the real-estate development business he started more than a half-century ago that bears his name.
It wasn’t until fairly recently that the idea occurred to me that I should make sure I met Mr. Silver, whom I’d heard was battling health problems, sooner rather than later. But sadly that never came to pass. The Central Park developer died Tuesday at the age of 86.
Still, having met his son, Larry, and having spoken frequently with executive members of the Silver Cos., I have heard many tales of Carl D. Silver. And I learned much more about him this past week speaking to former business associates, public officials, charity beneficiaries, family members and friends for our coverage about Silver’s death.
I therefore thought it appropriate to use this week’s column to pass along some of the attributes that seemed to lead to Silver’s vast successes and wealth. Perhaps it will prove useful to future generations of business leaders.
Your word is your bond. Everyone who knew Silver says his honesty was unquestioned. His ability to make future deals depended on this trust, and he never lost sight of that.
Outwork your competitors. Silver apparently worked around the clock. That lifestyle is not for everyone, but it shows the extent to which some are willing to work to achieve business success.
Do what you love. Like many successful entrepreneurs, Silver worked relentlessly long after he had any need for the money. It’s often said that if you love what you do, it doesn’t seem like work.
Give back without fanfare. Lots of businesses like the PR and goodwill that come with splashy charitable donations. Silver seemed to prefer quiet acts of kindness without asking anything in return.
Treat people well. Silver was apparently relentless when he saw a business opportunity involving real estate, approaching people over and over to offer to buy their land. But the people he dealt with said he did it in a pleasant, honest and straightforward way.
Be results-driven. Silver didn’t want to hear excuses. He wanted results, and demanded that of his staff.
Look to the future. Silver ran a successful car business for 20 years. But he was willing to give that up when he saw better opportunities in real estate.
Undoubtedly more lessons could be learned, but those are a few things that led to the vast success of a true Fredericksburg-area tycoon.
Staff reporter Bill Freehling writes this weekly column on business, personal finance and investing.
This was published by Fredericksburg.com. Link to the source:http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2011/112011/11202011/665924