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The Owner of the Houston Rockets Has a Warning for Every Business Owner

Executive Summary

As an entrepreneur or business owner, complacency is the root of all failures and damaging to business success. According to Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets and master restaurateur, if you aren't always worrying about your business, you could risk losing everything.

  • In business as in most areas of life, something will go wrong at one point or another. Plan for the struggles in the good times so you can experience growth in the bad times.
  • The force taking aim at your business and growth strikes in your blind spots, the areas you neglect while you are juggling other tasks and honing other vital skills.
  • Keep your eyes wide, mouth shut, and hears open.

Be just like me: never, ever stop worrying about your business.


Because when it comes to business and most everything else in life, there is a paddle for everybody’s ass. And you never know when it’s coming or where it’s coming from. I really do believe that.

I don’t care if things are going well for you, that you think you know it all. Put this one thing in your head: there is a paddle coming for your ass right now. By a paddle, I mean that there is always a force out there, something that’s taking square aim at your business’s success and growth.

Potential Bullets to Business Success

  • There might be someone with a better product.
  • There might be a lawsuit waiting to pounce.
  • The economy may turn.
  • A bank that you relied on may deny you credit.
  • New government regulations may be ready to take effect.
  • Your computer may be hacked.
  • These days, it’s not ridiculous to worry about a terrorist attack, international or domestic.

The best you can hope for when something damaging or disruptive happens is that you act quickly to minimize the impact. But you have to open your eyes. You need to start worrying, anticipating, planning, and being proactive.


Because the paddle comes from the blind spots we all have when we juggle the many roles and skill sets needed to successfully run a business. It is way too easy for complacency and overconfidence to set in, which leads to ignoring crucial details.

People ask me all the time: “What do you fear?”

I say I don’t fear anything, but I worry about everything. That’s one of the significant features of the message I try to get across when I speak to business leaders, students, my employees, and entrepreneurs on my television show Billion Dollar Buyer. I have to tell entrepreneurs that, even as they pitch some very appealing products to me, there is some area where they are falling short that is hurting their business.

The next step is a simple one: Shut up and listen.

Excerpted with permission from Shut Up and Listen! by Tilman Fertitta, copyright Tilman Fertitta.

Bring It Home

Turning your fear into worry is a healthy step towards building a proactive business. In which areas of your business are you falling short, and what plans will you enact to catch up? Tell us about a time where an unforeseen circumstance resulted in a major setback for your company or team. How did you bounce back to achieve business success? Comment below!

Tilman Fertitta

Tilman J. Fertitta is an accomplished businessman and recognized as a world leader in the dining, hospitality, entertainment and gaming industries and is often referred to as "the world's richest restaurateur." The star of his own reality TV show on CNBC called Billion Dollar Buyer, Fertitta is the sole owner of Fertitta Entertainment, which owns the restaurant giant Landry's, the Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels, and the NBA's Houston Rockets. 

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