Robert T. Kiyosaki is perhaps best known as the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, a personal finance bestseller that challenges conventional views on finance and “changed the way tens of millions of people around the world think about money.” Besides featuring in popular television shows sharing his insights on personal finance, Kiyosaki is also an entrepreneur who founded the financial education-based venture Rich Dad Company, and co-created an investment game called CashFlow that helps people understand and manage cash flows. Known for his straight talk when it comes to financial literacy, Kiyosaki will share his insights in Dubai at the National Achievers Congress 2016, organized by Najahi Events and Success Resources, on November 18-19, 2016.
Kiyosaki’s views on managing money reflects in his professional pursuits, which has been all about simplifying the complex financial world for the common man. “All of us can benefit from becoming smarter with our money- regardless of how old we are, what country we live in, or the dreams we have for our families and our futures,” says Kiyosaki. He says that with Rich Dad Poor Dad, he aimed to “take complex and confusing ideas and concepts, and make them clear and easy to understand,” and this continues to be his focus in all his endeavors. “The most relevant message for entrepreneurs and businesses is that the idea of “getting out of debt” is an obsolete idea, and learning to understand, use, and leverage debt can make the difference between a business success story and a business failure.”
Q&A with Robert Kiyosaki, author, Rich Dad Poor DadGiven the number of years that have passed since Rich Dad, Poor Dad was first published, can you talk about what you think makes the book remain relevant or significant today?
When Rich Dad Poor Dad was first published I took a lot of heat. "What do you mean…Your house is not an asset?" "What do you mean…The rich don't work for money?" And: "Savers are losers?" The consensus was: “You don’t know what you’re talking about, Robert.”
That was nearly two decades ago, and as we prepare to celebrate a huge milestone -the 20th anniversary of the publishing of Rich Dad Poor Dad- I have given a lot of thought to exactly what you’re asking. I think the magic of Rich Dad Poor Dad is that, like it or not, money is a constant in our everyday lives. And while “money isn’t everything” it does affect almost everything in our lives that is important- where we live, what we eat, our education options, our healthcare, our relationships, and our lifestyle. And because Rich Dad Poor Dad is a simple story about a young boy who had two dads, with two very different points of view about money, people from all walks of life can relate to it.
The messages of Rich Dad are still relevant today for several reasons. The most obvious of which is that rich dad’s philosophies are exactly opposite of traditional teaching, or conventional wisdom. Intelligence, I have come to believe, is found on the "edge" of the coin- a vantage point from which a person can see both sides of an issue or an idea. Having two dads taught me that there are always different points of view and that keeping an open mind, appreciating and understanding all points of view, is the way to better understand the entire scope of an issue, and to become more intelligent. Today, with a global economy and technology that’s evolving faster than we ever imagined, the ability to “see” multiple points of view is a great asset and a way to really learn and understand ideas and concepts. This is especially important when it comes to complex subjects like money, accounting, and investing.
From your perspective as an entrepreneur, can you list a few of the mistakes you see your peers in the field make, and how would you suggest avoiding or correcting them? What, according to you, differentiates a successful entrepreneur from his/her peers?
The mistake I see again and again, is entrepreneurs who believe they need to have all the answers. Rich dad taught me that if you’re the smartest person on your team, then your team’s in trouble. The key to a successful entrepreneurial venture is the team that the entrepreneur assembles. These trusted advisors should all bring specific skills and experience to the team.
One of the common challenges entrepreneurs face when starting a business is the lack of finance/funds. Given your background and experience, what would you suggest people in this predicament do in order to follow their passion and dreams?
The number one skill of an entrepreneur, my rich dad taught me, is the ability to sell. They “sell” their ideas and their vision to investors, their leadership and management teams, their employees, and their customers. It’s often said that “money follows management,” and that’s why an entrepreneur’s team is so important. A person may have an incredible business idea, a product or service that truly supports a need in the marketplace, but without a business team that can bring it to market, capture market share, project and manage cash flow, and support and service the sales, the business is likely to fail. The vast majority of new business ventures fail, and, very often, for good reason- A weak team that can't get the job done.
What are your impressions about the Middle East region, and its approach to business and entrepreneurship? Anything specific that you like about this ecosystem, and any tips you may have for its people to accelerate their success journeys?
While conditions of markets and business climate may vary from country to country there are many basics of business that are universal. One thing that I’ve seen, in my own life and as I travel around the world, is that a person’s spiritual and emotional strength can mean the difference between success and failure. When it comes to business launches and growing businesses, there are always ways to acquire what we need- whether it’s knowledge, talent, resources or capital. What we can’t find, outside ourselves, is the fortitude and inner strength that will sustain us when times get tough, when we’d faced with one obstacle after another and when it’s often easier to just give up. My message to entrepreneurs everywhere is that one of your special gifts is strength -spiritual strength tied to your mission- that will sustain you when others quit.
What are a few tips you’d like to offer entrepreneurs that you think are essential for attaining success with their respective businesses?
- Learn to differential between good debt and bad debt, and how to use debt to grow a business.
- Focus on building and acquiring assets over high income as an employee (even an employee of your own business).
- Articulate your company’s mission and your vision for its future, so you can inspire and attract a team that will share your vision and contribute to your success. Don’t ever lose sight of your mission, and those you serve and why.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn. And finding the lesson in our mistakes and failures can be a fast track to moving your business fast forward.
- Be generous and embrace the laws of compensation and reciprocity.