Privately Speaking.

BOSE, Cargill, Mars(yep-the candy one), ToysRus, SAS, McKinsey, Forbes, Levis, Del Monte Foods, Bausch & Lomb,

and soon-to-be DELL.

They all have one thing in common. They are all PRIVATELY held SUCCESSFUL companies.  Yep. You read that correctly. These companies are not listed in any stock market in the world – and most of them are multi-billion $ ‘going concerns’.

Born and Bred in a capitalist society, I am somehow wary of the ‘market’ and the ‘street’. They define the Q-t-Q (Quarter to Quarter) life of many of us. Don’t get me wrong. I love capitalism. But I do not subscribe to having business leaders decide on an organization’s strategy to churn out profits in line with what the market/street/analysts expects – every three months. You make long term bets to sacrifice short term gains , and the market punishes you. I’m reminded of Richard Gere’s job in Pretty Woman suddenly. Pick up companies cheap and sell them for scrap by breaking them up.

Yes, having an IPO/listing gives you access to capital which you would desperately need to grow your business – but – it somehow feels akin to selling out.

The point being, even if you are not listed – you still grow and continue to be profitable.  And dont forget about innovation.

I was reading an article in Forbes recently which talked about the fact that these privately held companies in USA grew TWICE that of S&P 500. I felt vindicated and hungry to seek out research in this area. I even saw some YouTube interviews of CEO’s of these ‘private’ companies.

They all talked about Employee happiness-quotient, hiring professionals from different walks of life and having a long term vision for the company. Nothing different from listed companies….

But there was one small difference. All of them talked about 2 important things. One is that they do not have the market/street hounding them for results and analyzing pieces of their strategy and Second ,because of the first – they have time to focus on the most important thing , the Customer. Very Interesting. Indeed.

Closer home – i couldn’t recall large companies that are privately held. Google threw up ‘Wagh Bakri Tea’ . Maybe someone can let me know of others!

Cheers to the soon-to-be-billionaires of Twitter. And well wishes to the executive management who will be subjected to scrutiny that is all too familiar to Mark Zuckerberg now.

BTW – almost half of the privately held companies are family owned/run. But hey, Nobody’s perfect !

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