What are the habits of successful entrepreneurs? Learn as you read on what makes Jack Ma of Alibaba, Anthony Tan of GrabTaxi, Steve Jobs of Apple Inc, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook exceptionally successful today.
#1 They are in the Business of Helping People
What are the similarities that these exceptional entrepreneurs have? They are in the business of innovating, improving lives and helping others. Jack Ma believes that the key of what he is doing is “not only making money and running a business but putting the value first, to serve and help others.”
Anthony Tan of Grab Malaysia started the app with an intention to improve the Taxi System in Malaysia. “Drivers weren’t making enough money and hated their jobs. Women couldn’t go around safely. We needed to do something about it.” His good intention raised some US $340 million funding for Grab and became one of the essential apps in Malaysian daily lives.
Craig Newmark believes that Craiglist exists as “a platform where people help each other for the basics, and also, shows people that the Internet is good for mutual support.”
“Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life” Mark Zuckerberg knows it well enough that he has been doing it for the last 12 years.
#2 They Make Mistakes
A lot of businesses are afraid of making mistakes, but take this trick of the trade from Mark Zuckerberg to motivate you: “So many businesses get worried about looking like they might make a mistake, they become afraid to take any risk. Companies are set up so that people judge each other on failure.”
Or take Jack Ma’s advice on taking full responsibility on making a mistake or failing: “I find that when a person makes a mistake or fails, if he or she always complains or blames others, that person will never come back from the failure. But if the person checks inside, this person has hope.”
Well, the late Steve Jobs had the same principle when he said, “sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. Best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”
#3 They Empathize
With more than 500 employees on board with Grab, Tan believes in the power of empathy. He emphasizes on the importance of staying in touch with every aspect of his company by visiting the call center regularly and picking up the phone to understand and experience his business process personally. “When I’m in another city, I use Grab to get around. Most of the time, the drivers have no idea who I am. I ask them about their experience with the app. You have to feel the problem, see the problem, and fix it yourself. Your teammates will feel that, and then everyone comes together. Then it scales.”
Like Tan, Jack Ma resonates with the philosophy of empathy by building Alibaba – an e-commerce ecosystem that “allows consumer and businesses to conduct all aspects of business online- with the aim of helping people. “I want to create one million jobs, change China’s social and economic environment. By focusing on customers first, employees second and stakeholders third.”
#4 They Take Criticism and Prove Others Wrong
When Alibaba came up with its own 3rd party online payment solution, many banks and critics found the idea “stupid” but Ma casually asserts, “a stupid thing – if you improve it every day, it is going to be very smart.” After two decades, Alipay now has the biggest market share in China with 300 million users and controls just under a half of China’s online payment market in the 1st quarter of 2014 and has thus proved that his once ‘stupid’ idea is now worth a trillion dollars.
When Grab first started, many criticized the service as an Uber clone, but Tan made use of “the advantage of being local” and worked with the local community on ways to assimilate the service into their daily lives while subsequently challenging Uber’s reputation. Because of this, they now operate not only in Malaysia but in Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines.
#5 They Never Give Up
Yes, you’ve heard it a million times, and you will keep telling yourself that all you have to do is keep on going- and it’s true!
Don’t forget that Steve Jobs was kicked out from Apple, the company he built, at the age of 30 and built NeXT soon after that. Jack Ma’s jobs applications were rejected several times, while Mark Zuckerberg built some unsuccessful software and applications and faced several different lawsuits before he made it as a successful CEO. Craig Newmark jumped from one company to another due to his attitude problem, and Anthony Tan occasionally drove a taxi to learn more about the industry before he started Grab.
The key to being successful is perseverance as Steve Jobs has always mentioned, “About half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance” or in Jack Ma’s words “Never give up! Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine. If you give up tomorrow, you will never see the sunshine.”
None of these exceptional entrepreneurs have ever given up on becoming what they wanted to become, so if you are determined in becoming successful, don’t give up.