It is no secret that being successful is the goal of practically every business owner; with certain companies and corporations pulling in hundreds of billions of dollars each year, many dreams of obtaining the same levels of success as the top 1% of the world. To help guide you towards this, here is a list of 10 successful business moguls and their advice to entrepreneurs who are looking to make a name for themselves.
Mary Barra (CEO of General Motors)
“If we win the hearts and minds of employees, we’re going to have better business success.”
Mary Barra is the current CEO of General Motors. After joining the company in 2008, she slowly worked her way up the corporate ladder. Along the way, she is responsible for some of GM’s most effective production changes and design ideas.
For instance, their new electric and driverless vehicle lines were created under her jurisdiction. She also had a major say in implementing new company policies that benefit employees and promote a stronger, more diverse company culture.
Once Barra took over as chief executive of GM in 2014, she became the first female head of an automobile manufacturer. Stereotypes have unfortunately led to women not being recognized in the automobile industry, but Barra did not let that stop her.
Through her hard work and dedication, she was able to prove those who doubted her wrong and take GM to new heights. This mindset is vital in any facet of the business, especially for entrepreneurs. Without the ability to bounce back from obstacles and overcome them, there is no way one can keep a successful business running.
Because of this, her dedication does not come without its proper recognition. In 2018, she was ranked among the top 5 in the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Barra continues to receive high praise for the advancements and improvements made to her company each year.
Jeff Bezos (Founder, Chairman & CEO of Amazon)
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”
Jeff Bezos is the founder, CEO, and current chairman of Amazon. Although he is now one of the richest men in the world, his beginnings were anything but that. Bezos graduated from college in 1986, but it wasn’t until 1993 that the first iteration of Amazon was created. Amazon’s first true business venture was an online bookstore named Cadabra.
This move would not come without scrutiny, however. Many early investors estimated that there was about a 70% chance that Amazon would go bankrupt and fail entirely. Bezos used these numbers as motivation to expand Amazon and open new facets of the business to the general public.
As the years went on and the internet became much more advanced, so did the impact Amazon was having. Just think, if Bezos listened to those investors and lost hope, he might never have continued to push himself and his company.
There might not have been an Amazon today. For future entrepreneurs, Bezos’s advice comes in a term he calls “work-life harmony.” This implies that there is a balance between work and home life that must be achieved to remain successful.
These two concepts are interconnected, and without each one balancing the other out, there is the possibility that one can overtake the other and cause distractions. These distractions can ultimately get in the way of certain goals and hinder your ability to expand any new business.
Warren Buffett (Chairman & CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway)
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Warren Buffet is the Chairman & CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway. Buffet’s work as an American investor, business tycoon, and philanthropist has garnered him an immense amount of respect and praise in the business world. He began his investment journey at a very young age, using his first income tax return as a newspaper boy to buy his first stocks.
Obviously, his interest in the stock market and investing would grow substantially to where it is today. His net worth as of 2021 has amounted to over $100 billion and is still growing. He is also widely known for his efficient-market hypothesis.
This hypothesis states that asset prices reflect all available information. While the asset part of this may not directly involve entrepreneurship, the idea of assessing information does. When creating or attempting to grow a new business, it is extremely important to analyze any new information and metrics that you are presented with.
Additionally, by understanding what the information means and how to go about using it, you can better indicate what measures need to be taken in order to benefit your business.
Tim Cook (CEO of Apple)
“You can only do so many things great. Cast aside everything else.”
Tim Cook is the current CEO of Apple. After Steve Jobs died in 2011, Cook was tasked with taking over the company. Even though he was already responsible for most of Apple’s daily operations at the time, Steve Jobs was the shot-caller of the company. The company was His passing meant that those responsibilities were now transferred to Cook.
Although this might seem like an inconceivable task, he did not step away from the challenge. Cook has also been credited with helping to save Apple from bankruptcy in its earlier stages. With the combined leadership of Cook and Jobs, they were able to take Apple’s less than $6 billion net worth in 1998 and turn it into around $100 billion today.
In June of 2014, Cook would reveal that he is gay. Although he had been battling with himself for years on the matter, he continued to stay focused on Apple’s agenda and strengthening the company overall.
His commitment to bettering Apple while juggling his personal matters shows how strong of an individual he truly is. Due to this, Cook is now the first and only openly gay CEO on the Fortune 500 list.
This concept is fairly typical when discussing business moguls. There might be times in your life where things are not going to plan, but the ability and willingness to power through those hurdles will not only build character but translate into a stronger work ethic in any business.
Mark Cuban (Owner of Dallas Mavericks)
“Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world.”
Mark Cuban is an American entrepreneur, investor, media proprietor, and television personality who has an estimated net worth of $4.3 billion. He is famously known for his role on the show Shark Tank as well as being the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, an NBA franchise. Cuban’s first job after graduating college was as a salesperson for Your Business Software.
This did not last long, however, as he was fired less than a year later. Cuban did not let this stop him, though, and he would go on to start his own company, MicroSolutions. His constant drive to go above and beyond and achieve greater things has put him in the position he is today.
He very well could have been content with the life he was living, but he instead immersed himself in different industries and created a strong network that has helped him along the way. This mindset is vital for entrepreneurs looking to become successful.
Having a strong network of business professionals and becoming familiar with a range of industries can lead to a significant advantage over competitors. By creating an inner circle of individuals that you trust and can work with the make improvements to your business, you will automatically have a head start compared to those who do not.
Elon Musk (Founder, CEO of SpaceX & Tesla Motors)
“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”
Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Musk is by far the most prominent and well-known businessman over the last few years. He, like many others on this list, got to where he is today through a profoundly determined work ethic.
Musk’s business career began in 1999 when he co-founded the online bank X.com. This site would later merge with Confinity in 2000 to form what is known today as PayPal. PayPal, as some of you might be aware, was purchased by eBay in 2002 for a whopping $1.5 billion.
With these funds, he was able to start a plethora of nonprofit organizations that were focused on researching things such as advanced intelligence, space travel, and even a car company, just to name a few.
Today, these organizations have grown into what we know of SpaceX, Tesla Motors, and Neuralink. One of Musk’s biggest tips for entrepreneurs, according to an interview with BBC, is not to be afraid of thinking big.
Who would have thought that a computer programmer and engineer would be able to create his own company that launches rockets and satellites into space? Not many. It’s ideas like these and a lack of fear to make mistakes that have gotten Musk to the position he is in.
These same ideas should be implemented for anyone looking to start a business or company of their own. Sure, there might be some mistakes along the way, but those who are able to bounce back and test out new and exciting ideas are the ones that will be successful with enough work put into it.
Bill Gates (Co-founder of Microsoft Corporation)
“It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
Bill Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. In 1975, Gates, along with childhood friend Paul Allen, co-founded Microsoft from their garage. Four years later, the company would relocate to Washington State and grow into a major technology corporation.
The success of Microsoft was vast and caused a then 31-year-old Gates to became the world’s youngest billionaire in 1987. Since then, Microsoft has continued to grow into the technology giant it is today, bringing with it a slew of awards and advancements in the technology world.
In 2021, Gates was named the fourth richest man in the world by Forbes. Similar to the quote attached above, we can see that Gates has a strong foundation of learning from failure in his company. Naturally, most things won’t work out the first time, and many alterations will need to be made to certain ideas. That being said, however, the ability to look back at past mistakes and see the progress that has been made can be more rewarding than the overall success of something.
If an entrepreneur is not capable of progressing forward and constantly bettering their ideas, then the growth of their business can suffer greatly. An unwillingness to change can lead to a standstill in how a business performs. The last thing a business owner would want when trying to become successful is a plateau of growth.
Mark Zuckerberg (Co-Founder & CEO of Facebook)
“A simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.”
Mark Zuckerberg is the Co-Founder & CEO of Facebook. Zuckerberg’s first installment of Facebook came from his college days. He and a few friends decided to create a social board for colleges near Harvard in 2004 as a way for students to connect and post updates of their day-to-day lives. The site would begin expanding rapidly and eventually encompassed more than colleges, reaching nearly one billion users by 2012.
During this time, at age 23, Zuckerberg would become the world’s youngest self-made billionaire and has continued to lead Facebook since then. He is now the fifth richest man in the world and has been climbing the list each year. Zuckerberg has a very similar philosophy to Elon Musk: start small but think big. He also advises those who are serious about building a successful business to be ready to sacrifice whatever in order to make that dream possible.
Again, failures and obstacles are always a possibility, but being fearful of them will only hinder the overall product. Taking an idea that has never been done before may seem like a daunting task, but there is no way to enact change without taking the necessary risks associated with it.
Mark Parker (Executive Chairman of Nike)
“Be a sponge. Curiosity is life. Assumption is death. Look around.”
Mark Parker is the former CEO and current Executive Chairman of Nike. He joined Nike in 1979 as a footwear designer and, throughout the next couple of years, would work his way up the corporate ladder. Parker would be named the third CEO of the company in 2006 and later served as president and CEO until January of 2020.
During this time, in 2015, he was named Fortune’s Businessperson of the year and was monumental in pushing the brand agenda of Nike we see today. As part of his current position, he oversees many of the business operations of Nike’s other brands: Converse and Hurley. Although he is no longer CEO, there is no doubt that his influence on the company was key in broadening Nike’s cultural and business impact.
In Parker’s case, his success can be touted to his ability to find new and creative ways to appeal to the general public. When running a clothing brand, it is important to react to changes and trends.
By having a creative mind and open mindset, there is an endless amount of ideas that can be explored. In order to find success in any business or industry, there needs to be a recognition of cultural and social changes and the ways in which your brand can accommodate them.
In the business world, only the strong will survive. In order to remain strong, you need to be constantly adapting and finding ways to keep customers interested in your product or service.
Reed Hastings (Co-Founder & CEO of Netflix)
“Stone Age. Bronze Age. Iron Age. We define entire epics of humanity by the technology they use.”
Lastly, we have Reed Hastings: the Co-Founder & CEO of Netflix. Hastings’s first major company was Pure Software. Created in 1991, this program would go out and produce products to troubleshoot different computing software. The company quickly took off, and Hastings was unprepared for such growth as they lacked any sort of managerial experience.
He was able to preserve, however, and found creative ways to troubleshoot any issues he was having with such a drastic growth of Pure Software. In 1997, Hastings would work with Marc Randolph, a former employee of Pure Software, to co-found Netflix.
Although Netflix began as a website to rent out DVDs, as time went on, it slowly evolved into the streaming service we know it as today. Again, we see the ability to change with the times being a driving factor in Netflix’s success.
Any business that remains stagnant with the services and product distribution it puts out is not going to remain successful or popular. As time goes on and technology becomes more advanced, we as humans are going to change alongside it.
That being said, businesses will need to also find ways in which they too can produce new and exciting things for their customers to enjoy as well as finding more convenient ways to do so.