With the term ‘successful entrepreneur’ being synonymous with Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, it is hard to believe that he has had more than a fair share of setbacks.
For someone who failed his university entrance exam three times before he was finally accepted, and who was rejected for 30 different job applications (including one at KFC), his resilience and refusal to give up is definitely inspiring.
Here are 30 lessons on business, management and life coming straight from the man himself.
- The location of your company is not as important as how you market your product.
- Your product should be able to withstand economic downturns and gloomy forecasts.
- Success usually comes with the simplest processes. It is better to work towards your goal step-by-step, rather than taking short cuts.
- Be aware of what customers want and need, and find ways to fulfill them through your product.
- The most unreliable thing in the business world are interpersonal relations, one should not rely on them to succeed.
- Honesty should be something that is proven through the smallest details in transactions, not something sold like a commodity.
- When against a strong competitor, it is better to find ways to support their function. Survival should always be the biggest priority.
- The mindset one should have in a startup should be finding a sense of achievement in watching the company grow to greater heights, as compared to chasing big titles like CEO or CFO.
- You should always be able to explain your products to the layman in the simplest terms.
- Short-term passion is worthless, be sure you are in it for the long run to reap the fruits of your success.
- Plans should always center on delivering a good product, good quality, and good service.
- Use your experience to your benefit. There is no point in competing with those in the past, but aim to overtake those in the future.
- Always keep in mind the intentions of your product and if it will solve a problem or fulfill a need.
- The difference between an entrepreneur and a businessman is that an entrepreneur thinks of improving the society as a whole, while the businessman only thinks of the money to be made.
- The top 3 mistakes businesses make are: 1. Not knowing who your competitors are; 2. Looking down on the potential of competitors; 3. Not wanting to understand your competitors.
- To be a good entrepreneur and businessman honesty should be the cornerstone in the way one works.
- You can only improve when you put down your pride and learn from your competitors.
- There shouldn’t be any shame in admitting one’s own mistakes – it is more important to look towards the future of the company as compared to saving ‘face’.
- When looking for a cofounder, it is better to find like-minded people who are hungry for success and appreciate teamwork, as compared to those who have already succeeded.
- An entrepreneur should have the mentality of a great manager. Be aware of the experience your workers have and know how to harness them like your own.
- When briefing your staff, it is as important to highlight to them the worst-case scenario as it is to highlight to the the best-case one – being prepared for the worst helps your company survive it.
- A team should always ensure that no one in the team gets left behind. Anyone can lead in good times, but it takes a true leader to rise during tough times.
- A wise leader always looks at the best of others and believe that he/she still lacks in certain areas compared to them.
- Intelligence is the downfall of wisdom. It is better to be wise than intelligent, because wise people believe that others are smarter than themselves and are therefore not complacent.
- Being the ‘bigger’ person is a key to success. In the face of misunderstandings, it is better to be gracious as compared to jumping the gun and losing your temper.
- Less is more. It is better to be thorough and do a great job as compared to doing a mediocre, albeit gargantuan task.
- Learning does not simply come from sitting down and reading, it comes from interacting with people and going to all types of places.
- Hide your greatest strengths. It is alright to show some weakness, but never show your full potential. Always keep tricks up your sleeves.
- “Someone who cannot even be a good soldier cannot be a good general”. One should be able to bite the bullet and make it through the tougher and less glorious times.
- Greed contributes to one’s downfall more than the craftiness of others.
Here’s the full video in Chinese: