Biz Talk
Past Issues:

Business Visionaries What Can You Learn?

bezos_custom-e40ec99d74f51fdd948a696570851f064924c066-s800-c85Take a moment to think “big” for your business. Back away from looking at what you are doing every day. Look instead at other successful business owners and ask yourself, “what have these successful men and women learned that I can apply to my business?”

It’s both instructive and inspiring to see how many extremely successful people often share the same tips. Here are a few real life examples:

1.  Focus on the Problem—Not the Money: Elon Musk, business entrepreneur and investor, has several roles including founder of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla. Musk says that, business owners tend to get caught up in the idea that a single big break will make you a lot of money. But focusing only on the money can hurt you.

According to Musk, you need to think about the user’s problems and how you can solve them. This ensures that there is true value behind your business idea, and the money then follows!

2.  Don’t Be Afraid of Failure

If your house burns down, learn from it, says Canadian entrepreneur and Dragon Den judge, Arlene Dickinson. This tip is shared by most highly successful people. Mark Cuban, Bill Gates, Sara Blakely (Spanx), Steve Jobs, Richard Branson all tell us that failure is a natural part of the learning process. If you are scared of taking chances, the results can be worse than failing. Give it your all—in good times and bad.

3.  Focus on the future: Following the dot-com crisis in 2000, Amazon could easily have gone out of business. But CEO Jeff Bezos focused on the future: He saw that Amazon had what it could take to build an important and lasting company.

“It’s all about the long-term,” he wrote in a letter to shareholders, explaining that Amazon’s decisions going forward would be based on its goal of long-term market leadership—not short-term profits.

4.  No excuses: Led by Steve Jobs and now, Tim Cook, Apple has always held up the importance of holding people responsible. Apple doesn’t have committees. “At Apple,” wrote Jobs in his book, “you can find out exactly who is responsible. There is no room for excuses. If you’re leading a team, you better do your job.”

5. Education is part of what sells: Martha Stewart was raised by two schoolteachers, which taught her to respect education. She makes sure that the information she publishes is as well-informed as it can be. Her vision has made her a recognized expert in all things to do with home and lifestyle management.

6. Have a relentless focus on the customer: Nadia Shuaib, one of the winners of the Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year Award, grew a home-based electronics business into a multimillion dollar e-commerce company within two years (Budget Electronics).

Even as she scales her business, Nadia continues to send handwritten thank-you notes for every order.