The business man of to-day who deals with the larger problems of finance, law, trade, and the many other divisions comprehended under the generic term "business," makes no secret of the methods by which success was won. The successful man in a certain line - in common with the man who has not attained business greatness - is always interested in the sayings and advice of the Captains of Industry of our nation.
Following are given a number of synopses of the rules which were primarily instrumental in bringing those from whom quotation is made to the haven of success in business.
Elbridge G. Keith, President, The Chicago Title and Trust Company, says:
"I take up one thing at a time. When I lay a thing aside it is completed - completed as well as I know how. Doing one thing at a time, keeping at it until finished, and doing well, must bring success. To do things well means that a certain amount of time and thought must be upon them. What will allow the modern business man to put the most time and the best thought on the greatest number of acts each day? A system - a system which will bring them to his attention methodically - a system which will put such facilities at his command that they can be disposed of quickly and intelligently - a system which will put only a fraction of the work upon him (but that fraction the vital point) and carry out the rest accurately and efficiently. Some people perform the tasks that are assigned them well, but they do not succeed. Why? Simply because they are doing just what they are asked to do - no more. It is the man who does a little more than is assigned to him who gets the position above when it becomes vacant. It is the man who does everything that he can find to do and does all these things well whose climb is constant; and he can only do those few things more than are assigned to him by using systematic methods in his own work."
Edward S. Lacey, President, The Bankers' National Bank, Chicago, says:
"The business world is like an immense plant of machinery where all parts must work in unison. In a plant this result is brought about by the application of mechanical principles and the perfection of mechanical devices. In business, smooth gradation of one operation into another, the turning out of a volume of work with no hitches or errors, must be accomplished through the application of system and systematic devices. There is another vital point of comparison between the mechanical and the business world. The great multitude of inventions did not come until there was a certain concentration of industry, which first established a closer relation between the different processes and then introduced new methods and devices adequately to handle them. In the same way, while the business world was a mass of smaller units, the necessity for system was not so apparent, but as business units increased in size, necessity soon brought about the adoption of systematic principles and methods. A big thing is merely a combination of many little things, but the little things are just as important as they ever were. And to keep watch over and carry out the little details requires the organization of a perfect system."
Thomas P. Phillips, President, The Federal Trust and Savings Bank, Chicago, says:
"There is no business success without system. From my own experience I should say there is no prospering business to-day whose success is not in some degree based upon systematic methods. Now, modern business is so arranging itself that the business man occupies as distinctive and unified a field - a field requiring as much training and technical knowledge - as the lawyer or the engineer. A technical knowledge of and training in systematic methods and organization is the prime requisite in the education of the modern business man and these two phrases mean a great deal. They stand for low costs and decreased expenses, for accuracy and promptness, for time and labor saving, for efficiency and understanding. In the modern game of business two of the most important factors are initiative and will - which means the power to inaugurate and build an organization, and executive ability - which means the capacity for conducting a system. It is the man who uses system in his business, and therefore does business with least cost and with least effort, who shows the profit at the end of the year. And it is the man who uses system in his business, and therefore knows the details, who is able to develop his business to its greatest possibilities."
Edwin A. Potter, President, The American Trust and Savings Bank, Chicago, says:
"A thorough knowledge of the smallest details of one's business, well-directed effort in work, and the power to organize a business - these are the three foundation stones of success. In this day of great industries a thorough knowledge of the smallest details of a business could not be secured in the old way of knowing simply through the process of doing. There are too many details. The business man to-day must have facilities by which knowledge of them will come to him automatically. Well-directed effort means more than merely industry and hard work. It means that the worker must know how and where to apply his labor to the attainment of the best and biggest results. And the power of organizing and conducting a big business - executive ability - means the power to make all the small processes of the business dovetail into each other and work smoothly and efficiently. Through all these three essential factors of business success runs the thread of system. Knowledge of the details of a business can come only from a system which will bring them to the attention of the business man regularly. The hardest work can bring the best results only if efforts are intelligently and systematically applied. The organization of a business can only come through the systematization of the smaller processes."
Henry Siegel, the founder of Siegel Cooper & Co. of New York, president of Siegel Cooper & Co. of Chicago, of the Simpson-Crawford Co. and the Fourteenth Street Store of New York, and the new Siegel, Cooper & Co. of Boston, says: