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Business Advice from Uncle Al ... (Capone, That Is)

Business Advice from Uncle Al ... (Capone, That Is)

Al Capone might not have been your typical entrepreneur. After all, he was convicted of tax evasion and was actively involved in prostitution, bribery, smuggling and selling illegal booze. But just because his business wasn't legal doesn't mean Capone didn't know a thing or two about running a successful operation. In fact, Capone owned more than 300 businesses and knew how to get things done and command respect and loyalty from his employees.

In fact, Capone's business acumen may well have been one of his greatest assets, according to Deirdre Marie Capone, Al Capone's grandniece who lived in the house of her famous (and favorite) uncle. Capone, the last member of the family born with the Capone name, authored an explicit memoir that details her efforts to hide the fact that she was related to Capone and recounts her decision to eventually embrace her name and family history.

The book, "Uncle Al Capone…The Untold Story From Inside His Family" (Recap Publishing, 2011), tells many never-before-known facts about this iconic figure's life, death and business dealings.

In the book, she recalls what life was like as a child growing up in the Capone household and shares fond memories of the man who taught her to ride a bike, swim and play the mandolin. 

Capone said she knows what the "family" was really like, and what the "outfit" was all about. In her tell-all book, she shares details untold until now, including her claims that that Ralph (Al's older brother) and Al Capone lobbied the Nevada legislature to legalize gambling, alcohol and prostitution in that state; that they were the owners of the first upscale casino in Las Vegas way before Bugsy Siegel came to Vegas, and what really happened in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

In an exclusive interview with BusinessNewsDaily, Capone gives us some business tips that could have come directly from her notorious uncle.

  • You're only as good as your word. Al Capone ran a very efficient business, she said. He taught every person who worked for him: "Your word should be your bond."
  • Remember where you came from. When Al Capone saw one of his employees strut around acting like a big shot, he would tell him: "Don't let your head get too big for your hat."
  • Be honest with your business partners. Ralph and Al Capone needed to give orders just once to the employees and they were expected to do their jobs correctly. Al Capone would instruct them, "Don't lie to the people you work for."
  • Remember, it's never easy. Al Capone at one time ran more than 300 different establishments. When a reporter wrote about how easy it was for him to make money, he was quoted as saying. "Find out what it's like to run a business and meet a payroll."
  • Earn your customers' loyalty. Al Capone supplied good quality alcohol to the citizens in Chicago from 1920 to 1931 during Prohibition. He was quoted by a reporter as saying "Be loyal to friends and invincible to enemies."
Jeanette Mulvey
Jeanette Mulvey

Jeanette has been writing about business for more than 20 years. She has written about every kind of entrepreneur from hardware store owners to fashion designers. Previously she was a manager of internal communications for Home Depot. Her journalism career began in local newspapers. She has a degree in American Studies from Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter @jeanettebnd.

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