22 Sep Jack Ma’s Advice to Entrepreneurs
Last Friday, Alibaba Group, led by a man named Jack Ma (马云), filed for the world’s largest IPO ever, raising more than $1.5 billion, which gives the company a valuation of $26 billion. The company has come a long way considering that it barely had enough cash to survive for 18 months and only booked $1 in profit for fiscal year 2002.
How was Ma able to accomplish the impossible and escape the dark clouds that hung over him? Simple. He lived according to 5 basic idioms that he tells entrepreneurs were key to his success in entrepreneurship. Below are the English translations and you can read the original article here.
Ma – “A great opportunity is often hard to be explained clearly; things that can be explained clearly are often not the best opportunities”
Opportunities that can be explained clearly are the low–hanging fruit on the tree. It will benefit you, but only in the short run. Ma usually disregards business ideas if more than 90% of people approve of them. He believes that if that many people think the idea is a “home run”, many people must already be working on it and the opportunity no longer exists.
Ma – “You should find someone who has complementary skills to start a company with. You shouldn’t necessarily look for someone who is successful. Find the right people, not the best people.”
It is simply impossible to be an expert on everything. You aren’t expected to be either! Hiring the right person for the right job will prove to be invaluable in the success of your company. They will be able to help run other aspects of your business better than you could have ever done on your own.
Ma – “The most unreliable thing in this world is human relationships.”
Expect to be let down at some point by someone in your career. However, do not dwell on the “could have”, “should have”, and “would haves”. This will cloud your vision and hinder your momentum. Be sure to nurture all your relationships and always seek to help and serve others. Eventually, they will return the favor.
Ma – “‘Free’ is the most expensive word”
Unfortunately, there really is no such thing as a free lunch. Somebody has to pay for it! Promising your customers “free” things will attract their loyalty until you are unable to keep good on your word. In business, your word means everything. As soon as you go back on what you promised you would do, you lose client trust, and before long, your business fails. Be careful what you promise!
Ma – “Today is cruel, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be beautiful.”
Throughout your career, metaphorically speaking, once you reach the top of the hill you are climbing, invariably, there will be another hill to tackle. Do not become discouraged when you first run into difficulties. If you remain focused on your vision and continue to motivate your team to keep climbing, you will eventually summit and see the other side of the hill. If you choose to stop climbing all together, you will never have that opportunity.
VentureCapitalist believes that the characteristics of entrepreneurs will ultimately make or break a company. Contact us today, and we will help you on your journey to success.