Nice Guy Finishes First: What We Can Learn from His Side of the Desk

Joe Levy


Joseph Levy, Jr., Chairman of Levy Venture Management

Use publicity to stand out in a crowd – Joe has used flag pole sitters  and putting Chicago Art Institute-sized lions painted Northwestern colors of purple and white on the roof of his dealership to get the public’s attention.

Find out what people want and give it to them – He used clowns to entertain the kids at this dealership and in entertaining the kids, they would tell the clown what the parents wanted in a car, which the clown could covey to the salesman.  He also had employees who spoke multiple languages so that they could clearly understand what was being said and use that to move the deal forward.

Find great people – Joe has had employees for life, including the ever-wonderful Athens that keeps all the cogs moving.  When Athens started with Joe nearly 50 years ago, the bus and train commute was almost too much, but instead of losing Athens, he hooked her up with a car and she manages the office to this very day.

Watch for new business ideas – There are new ideas that continue to crop up that have incredible business potential – like the concept of having senior caretakers that do more than take blood pressure or do the laundry.  A full service companion that is equally adept at playing cards, or reading a book aloud.  The merging of services and he demand for senior care is only going to continue to increase in coming years.

Key Points

  • Give back -  Kellogg, Culver and 99 other institutions Joe has supported
  • Find a way – The visionary Burnsville Eco- building
  • Pursue work that aligns with your interests and abilities – CDW

About the Author: Kate Koziol, president of K Squared Communications helps entrepreneurs and other talented people and companies make more money by drawing positive attention to their products and services.

Authors Note:

I have been a member of Joe’s Entrepreneurial Group since being introduced by my good friend Rich Damisch.  Heavily stacked with Northwestern Kellogg grads, I got my MBJ (Masters of Business by Joe) degree by faithfully attending early Saturday morning meetings for the last 8 years.  I consider Joe to be one of my most valued business advisors and credit the group with teaching me the language of business since my East Coast theater degree did not cover business topics.  Being outnumbered about 10 to 1 with men, it also taught me how to become “one of the gang.”  More on that later.

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