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Lessons Learned From an Entrepreneur, Harris Rosen

By Erik Folgate

Today I was in a conference for green lodging and hospitality, and it was hosted at the Rosen Centre Hotel, a prestigious and luxurious hotel and convention center in Orlando, Florida. Harris Rosen, the founder and owner of the Rosen hotel chain, gave an introduction to the conference and instead of boasting about how green his hotels are or spitting out numbers about his hotel, he told his story about how and why he became an entrepreneur. He is the type of older man that speaks softly but captures you the moment he starts speaking. You just know that everything that comes out of his mouth is words of wisdom. Here are a few things he said that really stuck out to me.

Poor Childhood Was a Blessing

This is the second time this year that I’ve listened to an entrepreneur explain that their poor childhood was a blessing, not a curse. How many times have you heard people make the excuse that people from unfortunate childhoods have a tougher barrier to entry? It may be so, but if that was you, rise above the situation and allow it to make you hungrier for success. Are you stuck in a rut at a dead-end job? Don’t let that be a barrier, let it be motivation to make your career dreams come true.

Rosen Doesn’t Borrow Money

He simply stated that his grandfather told him not to borrow money, so he doesn’t do it. If his company doesn’t have the money to build a new building or make a new renovation, he doesn’t do it. Rosen’s company wasn’t affected by the recession, because his business isn’t leveraged. In down times and good times, his business remains steady.

Responsible Capitalism is Not a Myth

I am sick of hearing people say that capitalism has corrupted our society. The new mantra is that the pursuit of profit breeds greed. No, people are corrupt. We constantly struggle to overcome pride, selfishness, and greediness. It gets the best of some people, and that’s why we see Wall Street greed. Capitalism isn’t the problem, people are the problem. Rosen believes that you can make a profit and give back to your community. His hotel properties have the strongest eco-friendly initiatives in the state of Florida, and he is a very generous business owner. Generosity from millionaires and billionaires is not uncommon, and large corporations sponsor and fund thousands of non-profit companies every year. Responsible capitalism is real and thriving.

Do you own a small business? What are your guiding principles? Entrepreneurship and small business is the anchor of our economy, and we cannot forget that. Learn from entrepreneurs who made something from nothing. Embrace old-fashioned principles, and you’ll find success as a business owner.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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