Invest in what you know, says billionaire Lars Larsen -- which, for this Danish entrepreneur, means bed linens, furniture and golf courses. The following Q&A, published in the February 2014 issue of Bloomberg Markets, is excerpted from a Dec. 13 interview conducted at Larsen's office near Aarhus, Denmark.
Where do you want to grow your business?
Russia. It’s a vast country. There's huge potential, just as in China, but it takes time to learn a new country. There are more and more Russians with the money to buy. It will be a huge success. We’re moving into Portugal, too, and when we have learned Portuguese, we will go to Brazil.
What’s your best-ever investment?
I had $20,000, and I started up JYSK.
What’s your worst investment?
I don’t remember, because I don’t dwell on them.
You co-own Denmark’s Himmerland golf course.
It’s my hobby to do that, but I don’t like to have a hobby which doesn’t earn money. So I’ve invested a lot there to be ready for the European Tour -- and to make it perhaps Europe’s biggest and most successful golf club.
Do you invest in gold?
I never think in terms of gold, currency, diamonds. I’m not clever enough for that. Today, I only invest around my own business.
What do you spend your salary on?
I have a little boat in the south of Spain. I have a nice house on Majorca, a house on a golf resort in South Africa. I’m not so crazy that I’ve worked my whole life and earned a lot of money and then don’t spend a penny on myself.
Any money-saving tips?
To get a good deal, I buy them all with a friend. The houses, the boat, everything. We each buy half. So I pay half price! They get used more.
What’s the most extravagant gift you've given your workers?
Our Christmas party. I don't call it a gift; I call it an investment. Because for half a year before the party, the staff are talking about what this year's will be like. The next six months, they're smiling and talking about what a fantastic party it was.
What's the last thing you would get rid of in hard times?
JYSK. I will sell all other things before JYSK. That’s my baby, and you don’t sell your baby.
For today's ranking of the world's richest people, click here to access the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Metcalf in London at +44-20-3525-4919 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor on this story: Robert S. Dieterich in New York at +1-212-617-4485 or email@example.com