Barnett Helzberg Shares Secrets for Success at First Wednesdays

Photo Credit: Ben Gruber

Photo Credit: Ben Gruber

What is Barnett Helzberg’s secret to success? That there is no secret.

Helzberg, the former Chairman of Helzberg Diamonds, spoke to approximately 200 students, faculty, staff and mentors at First Wednesdays Nov. 2 in Bloch Executive Hall. During his presentation, “How Barnett Helzberg Turned his Small Diamond Business into an Empire,” Helzberg discussed his successes, failures and lessons learned throughout his career.

Below are some of Helzberg’s key “secrets” for success in business:

On hiring for fit: “One of the greatest business mistakes I made was hiring people who didn’t fit in my organization. Nobody wants to fire their employees, but you’re cheating yourself, and your employees if it’s not a fit.”

On the size of an organization: “Bigger isn’t better. Better is better.”

On customer service: “You can’t be everything to everybody. There are three key components to consider when dealing with customers – price, quality and service. I tell customers to pick two, and that’s what I can do well.”

On mistakes: “Failure is key. It’s part of your success.”

On knowledge: “Smart is dumb and dumb is smart. If you’re showing you know everything, you take away your chance to learn. If you’re ‘dumb’ and act like you know nothing, you listen and learn more effectively.”

On lessons learned: “If you don’t love what you’re doing, don’t do it.”

Barnett Helzberg is an inaugural member of the UMKC Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

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