The famous five

We didn't want to make this year's Summer Notes into a self-help book. But in the process of putting this year's publication together, we've come across some great tips from some inspirational business leaders and we thought we'd share them here:

Pick up the damn phone.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates was still a teenager when he and Paul Allen heard about the new microcomputer being produced by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) and they knew this was an opportunity for their software idea. They quarrelled about who should actually make the call to MITS – in the end Bill did it but pretended to be Paul. They had no software at the time but having talked their way in they set to work and eight weeks later had the product and a deal. They always knew they could produce the software – what made the difference was picking up the phone.

2020 Famous Five cropped

You can tell a guy to go to hell tomorrow - you don't give up the right. So just keep your mouth shut today, and see if you feel the same way tomorrow.

Advice given to Warren Buffet by business leader Tom Murphy

Buffet’s great skill as an investor lies at least in part in his emotional intelligence – he manages his own emotions and observes those of others. So this quote says a lot – don’t lose your temper, play the long game, keep things in perspective and behave well.

Get a job. Any job.

Business leader Melanie Whelan

Most of us don’t have to be told to get a job. We have to get a job or are already occupied with other responsibilities. But still this is a profound piece of advice for those lucky enough to be leaving university with great qualifications, thinking they have the world at their feet and searching for the opportunity that perfectly accords with their every desire and aspiration. Just get to work and let the future take care of itself.

Always be the only person who can sign your checks.

Oprah Winfrey

Comedian Tina Fey was at the start of her career and making no money when she heard this piece of advice from Oprah. Fey admits she finds it boring when her business manager talks to her about taxes but, taking advice from someone who has achieved a great deal from exceptionally challenging beginnings, as Oprah has, she began to take ownership of her own path to success.

Never take the last dollar off the table

Baroness Joanna Shields

Joanna Shields credits her father with this advice and she took it to heart when selling Bebo to AOL. There is always more money to be made if you really turn the screw, but the best business is done when both parties feel they have done well. Act with integrity. As the old saying goes: “Never deny another man his profit”.