1.Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA
The main thing in business is love. If you don’t win people’s sympathy, you won’t be able to sell them anything.
IKEA is one of the world’s largest furniture and household goods chains. The company would not be so successful if it did not win the love of customers. Swedish meatballs, fresh buns, fun toys and unusual product names may have helped. There are no pushy salesmen in IKEA – the shop sells its wares itself. There are catalogues, a labyrinthine room and cosy interiors you want to stay in.
2 Oprah Winfrey, the first black female billionaire in history
Do one thing you think you cannot do. Fail miserably. Try again. You will do better the second time.
Oprah Winfrey is now one of the richest and most powerful women in the United States. But her road to success is a story of constant overcoming. The television presenter was born into a poor family. She lived without her parents, with her grandmother, and hardly ever went to school. At 13, Oprah rebelled and ran away from home. At 14, she gave birth and soon lost the baby.
After this Oprah vowed to change her life, took up her studies and became one of her best students. Through diligence and talent, she went to university and became the first black woman broadcaster in Nashville, and afterwards started her own programme, The Oprah Winfrey Show. According to the broadcaster, the key is to be yourself and not be afraid to fail.
3. Brian Tracy, global expert in the psychology of success
The smartest business decision is to hire qualified employees. The right people in the company are 95% of the success of your business.
The most important thing in a company is its employees. They make your business work. So when hiring, take your time and be clear about who you need. Create a favourable working environment: flexible hours, a comfortable office, the possibility of working remotely. Build communication within the company on the principles of openness and mutual respect.
Hiring unsuitable employees is a costly business mistake. Companies usually wait and stall for a long time before dismissing such people. But as long as the employee is working, he or she is neither useful nor profitable. So fire them quickly and without regret, as soon as you realise you need to do so.
4. Donald Trump, entrepreneur and 45th president of the United States
If you don’t tell people about your success, they probably won’t know about it.
Trump is not even in the top 100 of the US Forbes list, but he is one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the world. He owes this not to his money, but to his talent for creating news stories. Trump has turned his name into a brand: his company is called Trump Organization, he has launched Trump Ice drinking water, Donald Trump perfume water and the Visa Trump bank card.
The entrepreneur has never been shy about making high-profile statements, appearing on television and acting like a showman. His participation in the presidential race and his activities as President of the United States is another proof of that. So don’t hesitate to talk about yourself and your business: share your achievements and successes with everyone and be active on social media.
5. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and one of the richest men on the planet
Strive for success, but be worthy of it. Never cheat or do anything that prevents you from sleeping.
It is possible to produce goods cheaply, but harm the environment. You can make employees work overtime, but make them unhappy. It is possible to cheat and pay less tax, but cheat the state. Entrepreneurs have a social responsibility, so they must do business with integrity and be guided by the “do no harm” principle.
According to Branson, you can make a profit by making the world a better place. So does he: his company, the Virgin Group, is fighting global warming and rising carbon dioxide emissions, donating money to charity and investing in education. None of this has stopped Branson from building a successful business.
6. Bill Gates, American entrepreneur, co-founder of Microsoft
Stop acting like you have 500 years to live.
Don’t waste time. Every second spent doing nothing is a wasted opportunity. Set goals, plan your day, and always try to make the most of it – these are the principles that guide Bill Gates.
Gates was expelled from Harvard for failing classes because he didn’t want to waste time going to lectures. In the six years between 1978 and 1984, when he first started his business, he had only 15 days off. All the time he spent in the office at work, and to distract himself he went to the movies. Gates reads about 50 books a year, about one a week. Gates’ dedication, hard work and diligence made him the richest man on the planet.
7. Jeff Bezos, American entrepreneur, founder of Amazon
There are two ways to build a successful company. The first is to work very, very hard to convince customers to buy expensive goods. The second is to work very, very hard to allow customers to buy low-priced goods. Both work, but we prefer the second.
Amazon is the world’s largest company selling goods and services online. The web service accounts for almost half of retail sales made on the web. The company became so popular because of Jeff Bezos’s strategy of not chasing immediate profits, but investing in development and capturing new markets.
In order to compete with competitors, Amazon introduced free shipping and reduced the price if the customer found the product cheaper. This strategy brought Amazon minimal revenue, but allowed it to increase the number of customers and bankrupt its competitors. As a result, Amazon’s shares rose almost 30 times in 10 years and Jeff Bezos became the richest man in modern history, surpassing Bill Gates.
8. Jeff Sutherland, American programmer and head of Scrum
Forget about business cards. Positions and titles are empty labels. Your business should speak for you, not what you call yourself.
The higher the level of the boss, the less he or she knows about the intricacies of the job. Therefore, the main task of a manager is to get rid of hierarchy, to trust employees and to give them freedom of action. A team of enthusiastic professionals who are not supervised by a supervisor will get the job done better and faster.
Hierarchy and rigid structure in a company, although creating the illusion of control, do not work in practice: projects are delayed, deadlines are broken, and employees are dissatisfied with their work and cannot fulfil themselves.
9. Warren Buffett, American entrepreneur and investor
No matter how talented and hardworking you are, some things just take time.
The most obvious and surest way to prosperity is to patiently build up your savings. Warren Buffett, the American investor ranked third on Forbes’ list, teaches this. He earned his fortune through savvy investments and flair.
To be successful in the long run, you need to be thrifty and patient. For example, don’t panic if a stock falls in value and don’t sell it for short-term gains. Buffett realised this from personal experience when, at the age of 11, he bought his first block of shares and soon sold them to make a small profit. A few days later the shares became more expensive, and if he had waited, he would have made five times as much.
10. Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb
You have to live and think like a child – with curiosity and wonder. This is the most important trait an entrepreneur can have. And although I am still young, I always try to look at what people much younger than me are doing.
Empathy, curiosity and the ability to see opportunity in difficulties are some of Brian Chesky’s main qualities. He is not afraid to look ridiculous in the eyes of others, he is constantly learning and immersing himself in everything he does. For instance, when Brian started playing hockey as a kid, he wouldn’t let go of his equipment even when he was sleeping. When he got into drawing, he would spend hours copying artists’ paintings. And when Chesky was preparing to perform at a sporting event at school, he arrived at the stadium the night before the event.
The entrepreneur also had a passion for Airbnb. He spent months living in rented flats to improve the service, meeting with local officials to change the laws, and learning how to run a business from the ground up. Today Airbnb offers lodging in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The service is used by more than 40 million people and the company is capitalized at more than $25 billion.