Inspiration comes in all shapes, forms, and personages. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur or feeling the pinch of doing your business, you can just look at the success stories of your predecessors, and learn from them.
Indeed, these entrepreneurs started small, or with little to none to their name. They went through hardships with their businesses on the brink of bankruptcy or failed several times in past ventures. Despite all these circumstances, they have emerged successful and built companies that grew into household names today.
Get Inspired by People Who Made It Big in the Biz
These people need no further introduction, and they should serve as inspiration for those looking to succeed in business and conquer the world.
1. Rebel with a Cause: Richard Branson
With a net worth of US$4.2 billion, Branson is the founder of Virgin Group, a conglomerate of brands that include Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Healthcare, and Virgin Galactic. He was exceptionally good at school, and was expected early on to either become a millionaire or a prisoner.
His initial venture selling Christmas trees had failed. He tasted his first commercial success though a magazine named Student, which featured interviews of famous music personalities.
From there, Branson launched his record business, which eventually became Virgin Records. He later sold this record label to keep his airline, Virgin Atlantic. He also dabbled in space tourism through Virgin Galactic, and then health care and hotels via Virgin Healthcare and Virgin Hotels, respectively. Despite his successes, Branson had failed in publishing, clothing, and bottling businesses, among other ventures.
What you can learn from this: He is not afraid to fail and try again, as long as he does not commit the same mistakes. This fearlessness likely inspired the name of his show, The Rebel Billionaire.
2. The Financier Philanthropist: George Soros
Soros is an investor currently worth US$8.3 billion, and a philanthropist who gave away over US$32 billion. He lived through the Nazi occupation in Hungary in the 1940s. Shortly after, Soros left for London and supported himself as a student at the London School of Economics by taking on porter and waiter work. He moved to the US in the 1950s and gained success with Soros Fund Management, a hedge fund established in 1970.
Soros had done personal philanthropy work with the Open Society Foundations. He is a leading voice in advocating contemporary movements, like the use of medical marijuana and the legalization of same-sex marriage, per his biography.
What you can learn from this: He did not avoid changes and challenges, and he lived through every adversity to achieve his goals. He continues to give back to the world in his quest to promote an open society.
3. The God of Management: Konosuke Matsushita
Matsushita sowed the seeds of what will later become the Panasonic brand, with no capital and no formal education or training in manufacturing sockets. Matsushita Electric Industrial Company operated from his tenement with less than four workers, himself included. The business could have gone bankrupt if it weren’t for a bulk order for insulator plates. As the business grew, he founded Panasonic’s predecessor, Matsushita Electric Housewares Manufacturing Works, which manufactures an array of electronic products.
Starting as a charcoal brazier apprentice and then becoming an owner of an electronics giant, Matsushita attracted the attention of the world. A few years later, he stepped down as chairman of the company, opting instead to establish a management training school for people interested in research, education, business, and other related fields.
What you can learn from this: Matsushita had a vision and followed through with it, never wavering amidst many obstacles, regardless of whether people believed him or not. He proved himself right and displayed leadership for several years as owner and chairman of his company.
How Can You Succeed in Business?
Being in business will always mean constant challenges. As an entrepreneur or a sole proprietor of your online e-commerce store, you will encounter obstacles like:
- Customer retention
- Complaints, returns, or delivery issues handling
- Customer data protection
Put yourself in a good position to succeed by doing your research, draw up a competitor analysis, and spot shopping trends/preferences of your target market. Figure out how shipping and handling work. You may have to practice your social skills so you can directly deal with your customers and convert prospects into repeat buyers via retention plans or loyalty programs.
Your merchandise serves as the core of your business, and it’s important that you display your online wares on an accessible, user-friendly, and intuitive interface. More crucially, implement security measures to protect your site and your customers’ personal data from cyber attacks.
Handle everything to the best of your ability, and if you hit a snag, regroup and learn. Take a cue from how the aforementioned luminaries deal with their adversity and challenges. Besides, you can’t reap the rewards of entrepreneurship or succeed without going through hardships.