It takes a rare person to accumulate a total net worth over $20 billion through a devoted work ethic while maintaining a sense of perspective. Jack Ma is one of those people. The founder and CEO of Alibaba, one of the world’s leading e-commerce web portals, is one of the world’s richest men, but he has not let success cloud his vision for the future or his acknowledgement of where he came from. Jack Ma’s keys to success are true and inspiring for everyone from aspiring billionaires to owners of the smallest businesses.

1. He Values Attitude

When Jack Ma talks about the biggest mistake he ever made he describes how when he founded Alibaba he told his team that the highest level they could achieve would be that of managers, and that executives should be hired from the outside. Ma has learned his lesson and now stresses the importance of attitude and passion over theoretical skills.

2. He Unites People under a Single Goal

Ma understands that no matter how hard you try you will never be able to convince every single employee, business partner, and potential investor to trust you or believe what you say. Accepting that and changing your approach is another key to his massive success. Rather than uniting his company under the vision of one person, he unites them under a common goal. The vision is more important than the leader.

3. He has Foresight

Jack Ma believes that a good leader should have foresight. He should try to stay one step ahead of the competition and anticipate how decisions will play out ahead of other people. Taking time to develop creative thinking skills and following informed intuition is a hallmark of any great business leader.

4. He Hires People with Superior Skills

When asked what separates a leader from an employee Ma has gone on record saying “Your employee should have superior technical skills than you. If he doesn’t, it means you have hired the wrong person.” Focusing on the skills of employees and hiring people with the know how to carry out your vision is an important pillar of any great company.

5. He is Tenacious

In addition to foresight Ma says leaders should be tenacious and have a clear vision. Knowing what you want to achieve and having the drive to chase it down will not only put you on the path to success, it will inspire those around you to work hard for that common goal. Taking pride in your work and not taking no for an answer are keys to Ma’s business philosophy.

6. He Defines Failure as Giving Up

According to Ma, “giving up is the greatest failure.” If you go out, try your best and fail to achieve your goal but see it through to the end you are a success.  Like all great leaders, Ma recognizes that a person is able to learn the most from obstacles and hardships. They key to success is persevering and learning from your mistakes.

7. He Loves Life

“I always tell myself that we are born here not to work, but to enjoy life. We are here to make things better for one another, and not to work. If you are spending your whole life working, you will certainly regret it.” This sentiment lies at the heart of Jack Ma’s lifestyle. Life is for experiencing the world and helping out other people. If money is your goal, you have to change your mindset.

8. He Doesn’t Make Enemies

One the most unique aspects of Jack Ma’s business philosophy is the idea of friendly competition. Ma does not see his competitors as his enemies, rather they are friends whom he can learn from and who challenge him to achieve his full potential.

It is clear that Jack Ma’s philosophy is built for success in a rapidly developing world. We can all learn a thing or two from this self-made billionaire.

Featured photo credit: Bloomberg via ejinsight.com

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