Leadership

Self-made billionaire Tilman Fertitta reveals a major way people block their own success

One of your biggest hindrances to achieving success is throwing in the towel too quickly, according to self-made billionaire Tilman Fertitta.

Fertitta, who stars in CNBC's "Billion Dollar Buyer," has an estimated net worth of $3.7 billion and is CEO of restaurant and hospitality corporation Landry's. In this week's episode, the billionaire meets with the co-founders of K&N Custom Granite, Gus and Jessica Trevino, a mom and pop shop that supplies granite and remodeling designs for residential and commercial properties.

The Houston-based business was hit hard during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and is still feeling the effects months later. "All the streets around us were flooded. So we were stranded at the house," Gus tells Fertitta. Although most of the surrounding businesses were damaged by the flood, Gus and his wife Jessica say they were "blessed" that water did not enter their shop.

However, their business incurred financial damages in other ways. Prior to the storm, says Gus, they had jobs lined up that needed to be completed. "And we couldn't," he says. After the storm, the business was forced to shut down for almost three weeks, which led to a loss of $15,000 to $18,000.

Since then, it's been hard for them to make up those lost funds, especially since they have a small niche shop. "So if we're slow," says Gus, "it kills us."

Tilman Fertitta, entrepreneur and host of Billion Dollar Buyer.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Tilman Fertitta, entrepreneur and host of Billion Dollar Buyer.

He explains to Fertitta that his company also lost their No. 1 account and had to live paycheck to paycheck. If this business doesn't work out, says Gus, "there is no plan B."

The situation became so dire that the two strongly considered filing for Chapter 11 or Chapter 13, a move that he is still considering as they waver on the brink of bankruptcy. "It was that bad," he says.

However, Fertitta quickly advises him against doing so. Rather than going out and wasting money on hiring a lawyer, he explains, the two can persevere and do an in-house structuring themselves.

"As long as you can still function whatsoever, don't ever file Chapter 11," says the businessman. "People throw in the towel too quick but you don't have to do it."

Fertitta has gone through his share of tough financial times as an entrepreneur as well. "I can relate. I know how hard it can get," he tells them. "I remember the 80s in Texas when every bank failed. And it was hard for me."

"Just keep enduring," says Fertitta.

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook.

See also:

This self-made billionaire says he's highly successful because he never 'shot for the stars'

Why self-made billionaire Tilman Fertitta plans on leaving his entire fortune to his children

Self-made billionaire Tilman Fertitta says you should still send handwritten thank you cards