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Monday, February 17, 2014

Five great business tips from five great billionaires

By Ian Taylor

Billionaires recommend hard work, marketing and risk taking
Failure teaches lessons that success cannot
Running your own business can be tough. Between doing everything to make your ideas a reality and the harsh financial reality of the present age, it can be hard to know what to do, where to turn to, and what to spend your hard-earned time and money on. Luckily, you have five fairy-god-billionaires who each have a pearl of wisdom to drop on what can make your entrepreneurship a success.

Richard Branson – You can't run a business without taking risks

In one of his more recent books, Like A Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach at Business School, Richard Branson emphasises the point that taking risks has to become a bread and butter part of every entrepreneur's plans. This isn't encouraging unnecessary risks or risky investments, but rather that when you set a plan for your business, or find your niche, there is going to be an urge to hold back.

Fear of failure is one the biggest demotivators out there, so sometimes you just need to close your eyes and jump. Believe in your plan and your product. Be prepared for failure of course, but don't let the fear of it keep you from doing something that could guarantee your success.

Steve Jobs – Money is not the be all, end all

“[I was worth] over $100,000,000 when I was 25, and it wasn't that important because I never did it for the money.”

The late Mr Jobs has a great piece of advice for both you and your management of your employees. Once you are making enough money to live comfortably, the job stops being about just getting to the next pay rise or finishing the quarter with an increase in profits. Rather, people will want to be challenged. They want to master their skills and have them put towards an overall goal.

So once you and your employees are making enough, don't motivate them with the idea of making more. Motivate them with the idea of making enough and being able to better not only themselves, but your company as a whole.

JK Rowling – Rewriting is compulsory

No matter how well you plan your investments, your business, or the first chapter of your new novel, something will either not work quite as well as expected, if not go totally wrong. When that time comes, it will serve you very well not to stay the course of your metaphorical ship, as it is heading towards a hurricane.

JK Rowling rewrote the first chapter of Harry Potter over fifteen times, sometimes ripping out large chunks of it. When your plan stops working, it isn't an admission of failure to rip out the parts that are jamming up the cogs and rebuilding them. Your business will be all the stronger for it.

Michael Bloomberg – Get your name out there anyway you can

Before Michael Bloomberg was the billionaire mayor of New York, he'd just gotten fired and invested in starting his own business: making financial information available to people right on their desktops (before everyone had desktops).

So to get his name out there, he'd go downtown, buy cups of coffee, and proceed to the offices of Merril Lynch, where he would then offer it to people in the hallways. After doing this day after day, he built relationships with people at the company (and learnt what they might be looking for in the product he was developing), and three years later Merrill Lynch became Bloomberg LP's first customer.

Bill Gates – Work hard

It's simple, but it's probably the best idea on here. In a video from way back when, Bill Gates talks about how life isn't television. We build this ideal of not having to work and hanging out with our friends (Ross, Monica, and Rachel) at the coffee house.

But that's not how business is done. If you want your product or service to succeed, you can't just dream about it. You have to do it. That will take a lot of time and a lot of work, but if you work as hard as you can, then you won't have ever have to look back and ask, “what if?”

About the author: Ian Taylor is a writer and entrepreneur who encourages the use of a SMSF for high-yield returns and safe investment.

 Image license: Roy Blumenthal, CC BY-SA 2.0