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'Condo King' shares insight on what helps his business succeed
For Toronto condo magnate Brad Lamb, the secrets to his success are hard work, dedication and paying attention to the smallest details.

The hard-working entrepreneur has some important advice for small business owners: get involved in your business, really involved.


“I think the most important thing is to become an expert,” says Lamb. “You have to immerse yourself in all aspects of your business. You have to learn everything there is to know. And despite the size of his growing business ventures, Lamb does just that.


“It’s vital for anyone to know their business inside and out. So for instance, in my business, I could tell you how much is in every one of my bank accounts within five or six per cent of what’s there. I could tell you how much each property I own is worth without even researching the price. I could tell you the profit levels of every development I could tell you our revenues every month for sales. These are things you have to know.”


Make the most of charge and credit cards


As his business ventures continue to be successful, Lamb maintains a small business mindset, acknowledging that you can’t avoid business expenses, so instead, he makes them work for him. Lamb is “a strong believer in credit cards,” charges his business expenses to his card instead of opting to pay with cash, allows him to earn rewards for each dollar he spends, which he can then invest back into his business or use for himself. When it comes time to spend $60,000 to outfit a model condo suite, Lamb says “I don’t hesitate to pay with my card in order to accumulate points and access funds for 30 days or longer depending on the interest-free period.”


Taking advantage of earning rewards points also helps ensure he takes some time for himself. “It is almost addictive,” he says of running his business. “You want to keep buying and growing and expanding, so it is important when you achieve a certain level of success to allot personal time. It is important to reward yourself for hard work.”


Turn business purchases into rewards and treat yourself


As a business owner, there’s often guilt associated with rewarding yourself. Many feel their financial successes should be put back into their business. Leveraging a rewards card enables business owners to take a step back and do something for themselves.


“I use my credit cards for tens of thousands of dollars for things every month,” he says. “I actually get points, so I can fly – for instance I am flying to London in the next couple weeks – because the credit card paid for it. Those are benefits you wouldn’t get if you didn’t use credit”


That does not mean that Lamb is giving entrepreneurs carte blanche to spend irresponsibly on bank loans or use credit cards in order to pile up rewards. Extremely disciplined, Lamb did skilfully utilize payment cards in his early days as a real estate developer, when his finances were not as solid as they are today. “When I wanted to go to the next level of business, I needed to secure access to capital and that can be borrowed money or it can be equity, places you can get capital from.”


Cash is king for small business owners


Cash flow is as important to Lamb as profit, given the fact that each development he embarks on has a similarly massive appetite for capital. In his opinion, a successful business can never have too many bank lines and other sources of credit.

Most small businesses fail for a very simple reason: they run out of money. Some small businesses fail despite the fact that they do really well and they have the sales. . .You need to have money.
says Brad Lamb.


While Lamb believes small business owners should learn everything they possibly can about managing finances, his advice is simple: “I think it’s just a matter of being very aware of where your money’s going and where your money’s coming from.” He credits his financial knowledge to investing in himself and finding the right financial partners for his business. One of which are charge cards. “It just doesn’t make any sense not to use credit smartly, or credit cards smartly or charge cards. It’s such a massive benefit for small business. It’s not available to you anywhere else.”


The opinions expressed in this article are those of its individual writer, and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of American Express Canada or Amex Bank of Canada. Third party web sites may have privacy and security policies different from Amex Bank of Canada. Links to other web sites does not imply the endorsement or approval of such web sites.

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