You may have heard of a little multibillion-dollar company in China called Alibaba, aka “the Amazon of China,” which issued the biggest and most successful IPO in history last fall. Alibaba was founded by visionary Chinese businessman Jack Ma.
Obviously, Ma is a pretty smart guy, and his advice on how to be successful in business was recently published in a blog post on Lifehack. (If you have yet to hear of Lifehack, check it out – it has quickly become one of my favorite sources of information on a range of topics.)
Because Ma’s advice around entrepreneurial habits was broad and far-reaching, I pulled out the eight nuggets of wisdom that can really help you grow your business. Enjoy!
- Channel your ambition
Focus all of your time and energy on a few big goals – and pursue them with zeal. Once you reach those goals, then you can work towards secondary goals. If you don’t keep your eye on the big prize, you’ll end up distracted and will slow down your progress. (Warren Buffett does this, too.)
- Treat every opportunity as an open door
We all know that life is full of surprises, so no matter how well you’ve planned out your business’ growth trajectory, stay open to new opportunities. Instead of dismissing them, ask, “Will this help me reach one of my top goals?” If yes, run a cost-benefit analysis to be sure.
- Attitude is more important than capability
I have certainly found this true, and in fact, someone asked me recently how I started and grew my business. My answer: “By hook and crook.” In other words, I radiated confidence to land my company’s first few clients, and I used those early projects to greatly bolster my skills.
- Act quickly
When you see a golden opportunity, whether it’s pursuing a strategic business partnership, entering a new market, or licensing a new technology, act quickly and decisively – or your competition will beat you to it.
- Unify your team towards a common goal
This is where company culture and mission come into the picture. Unless your team clearly understands and buys into your vision, they could end up working against you – and hinder or stop your company’s growth.
- Hire those with better technical skills than you possess
I’ve heard countless successful entrepreneurs declare that you have to hire people who are smarter than you, and I agree. Your team’s skills, talent, and drive are what will propel your business forward. You can’t do it alone!
How many elections did Abraham Lincoln lose before becoming our 16th President (and one of the country’s greatest leaders)?* When you are chasing a big, hairy, audacious goal, there will be setbacks. Surround yourself with a strong support network, and remind yourself why you’re doing this.
- Take all competitors seriously
Never make the mistake of dismissing a competitor as harmless. That small, quiet competitor over there in the corner may be staying out of the limelight because they are building a completely disruptive technology. Keep innovating and improving so you won’t be left behind in the dust.
What business advice or habits are you grateful for? What has helped you grow your business?
*Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections, failed twice in business, and suffered a nervous breakdown that left him bedridden for six months.
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