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What is Success According to These Extremely Successful Entrepreneurs

What is Success According to These Extremely Successful Entrepreneurs

Hey, want to be successful in business? Pretty dumb question right, I mean who goes into business saying “I’m planning on failing at this” or even “I’m hoping to be mediocre in this business”?

No!

Everyone who goes into business plans on becoming successful. So what makes one business successful and another unsuccessful? Is it lack of planning, lack of funds, bad decisions, bad timing, bad luck?

While all of these can play a role, answering the question “What is success?” is the key to achieving it.

We are going to explore the 8 common traits from some of the most successful business people in the world.

1. Thomas J. Watson: Be perseverant

    Thomas J. Watson, the chairman and CEO of IBM from 1914 – 1956. He is the man credited with making IBM the company it is today. During his tenure, IBM became an international force. At the time of his death in 1956 he was known as the world’s greatest salesman.

    Despite what you see in movies, there are no “overnight success stories” in business. Failure is not only inevitable, it’s a critical step to achieving success. Failure lets you know what doesn’t work! And knowing what doesn’t work allows you to better evaluate and understand what does work.

    I used to own tanning salons, and in that industry, membership sales are key. Similar to gym memberships, customers pay a monthly fee for unlimited tanning.

    We also sold single tanning sessions, but I decided to price them high to encourage membership sales. We sold single tanning session at $15 and the monthly membership at $25.

    From my point of view, this was encouraging the sale of memberships (and a monthly income) over single sessions (and one time sales). What I didn’t take into consideration was that there was a high demand for short term tanning.

    Many people wanted to tan 2 or 3 times before an event, vacation, wedding, prom, etc… To these potential customers, I was clearly indicating that I did not want their business. I lost a lot of revenue to my competition because of it.

    But once I recognized this failure, I was able to adjust my pricing, single sessions went down to $9 each, and those short term tanners became a significant source of revenue for me.

    “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” — Thomas J. Watson

    Failure is not an option in business, it is a requirement.

    2. Steve Jobs: Stay curious and creative

      Steve Jobs, a college dropout who was fired from his job at Apple Computer, a company he started with his friend Steve Wozniak. He went on to start a new computer company called NeXT which never really took off and ended up being acquired by Apple.

      By then, the company he had founded and was fired from was in complete crisis, many in the industry had already written off Apple as a lost cause.

      But Apple’s acquisition of Job’s failed NeXT computer provided him the opportunity to return to Apple becoming CEO. Under Steve’s demanding and intense leadership, Apple created some of the most iconic products ever made, including the iPod, iPad and iPhone.

      A company that was once on the brink of disaster was transformed into one of the most successful and well known companies in the world.

      In 2005 Jobs gave a commencement speech at Stanford University where reflected on being fired from Apple.

      “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life,” — Steve Jobs

      3. Jeff Bezos: Become an expert

        Jeff Bezos, born in Albuquerque New Mexico to a teenage mother, he grew up in Houston with his mother and adopted father.

        After college, he worked various jobs including at a hedge fund where he became its fourth senior Vice President at the age of 30. That’s when he decided to quit and start selling books on-line.

        He founded Amazon in July of 1994, becoming one of the largest on-line retailers in the world. As of this writing, Forbes ranked him as the number 1 wealthiest person in the world today.

        Amazon is the leader in predictive marketing. They developed an algorithm that predicts a persons future buying preferences based on past purchases. You can love it or hate it, but there is no doubt that it has revolutionized the world of on-line retail.

        If you don’t understand the details of your business you are going to fail. — Jeff Bezos

        4. Tim Cook: Focus on the customer

          Steve Jobs left awfully big shoes to fill at Apple, but as Jobs’s hand picked successor, Tim Cook has risen to the challenge.

          What is success to Tim Cook? It is Apple’s expertise in developing products who’s form, style and function are so beautifully intertwined that they provide a unique experience for the user. Apple’s products are known for their meticulous design and attention to detail.

          Apple is the only company that can take hardware, software, and services and integrate those into an experience that’s an ‘aha’ for the customer. You can take that and apply to markets that we’re not in today. — Tim Cook

          In today’s highly competitive world, having expertise in a field will give you a significant advantage over the competition. Let’s face it, anyone can throw up a website and start selling things. In fact an entire industry.

          But make no mistake, being able to position yourself as an expert in a field significantly increases your credibility and can make you the “go to” person for your niche.

          5. Richard Branson: Take risks

            Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group which owns more than 400 companies, he was interested in business at a young age.

            At 16, he started a successful magazine called Student. He went on to start a mail order record company and later a chain of Virgin Record Stores (later called Virgin Megastores). His current ventures include Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Mobile as well as a space tourism company called Virgin Galactic.

            A billionaire businessman and one of the wealthiest people in the UK, he is known for pushing boundaries and thinking outside the box.

            “Far too many people don’t excel in life because they are too afraid of taking the necessary steps to achieve their dreams. Some manifest fear as a safeguard from failure; others don’t even try, believing that they are restricted by limits; while too many get caught up in the status quo. Growing up I felt all these pressures, but instead of giving in to them, I decided to ignore them and push the boundaries. Had I not, I would not be where I am today.”– Richard Branson

            You don’t need to be an exceptional person to be successful, you just need to be willing to do things that other’s aren’t.

            6. Bill Gates: Never be complacent

              As the founder of Microsoft, Bill gates is consistently ranked as one of the world’s richest people. But even after founding one of the largest companies in the world, he still sees more opportunities and new frontiers.

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              Never one to be satisfied, in 2017 the Arizona Republic reported that Gates had purchased nearly 25,000 acres of land in order to build a new “Smart City”.[1] With amenities like high speed public WiFi, self-driving cars and high-tech manufacturing facilities, he’s hoping that it will become the model for the future of urban planning.

              Bill is constantly looking for new ways to integrate technology into new markets. His response to people who wonder if he’s ever satisfied is:

              “If I’d had some set idea of a finish line, don’t you think I would have crossed it years ago?” — Bill Gates

              7. Sandra Day O’Connor: Learn to delegate

                The first woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O’Connor grew up on a ranch near Ducan Arizona. With no running water until she was seven, Sandra became a proficient horse rider and marks-woman, hunting rabbits for food.

                First appointed to the Supreme Court in 1981 by Ronald Reagan, in 2009 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

                “The really expert riders of horses let the horse know immediately who is in control, but then guide the horse with loose reins and seldom use the spurs.” – Sandra Day O’Connor, former Supreme Court Justice.

                The skill to delegate can be hard for the young entrepreneur who has built a business from the ground up. Giving up control to someone else is a very scary thought.

                But really, what is success in business? It’s having a business that growing.

                There’s an old saying that if you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backward.

                In short, delegation is just relying on experts to do their jobs. I rely on experts for taxes, legal matters, website development, advertising and a whole host of other things that I’m not an expert in.

                The trick to delegation is to set clear goals and avoid the temptation to micro-manage the people you’ve put in charge. Learn more about delegation in this guide:

                How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                8. Oprah Winfrey: Think outside the box

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                  Born in poverty to a teenage mother and molested as a child, Oprah Winfrey is a truly self made billionaire.

                  Starting out as a talk show host, she quickly dominated the industry with The Oprah Winfrey Show shown in over 200 U.S. stations and over 100 countries.

                  Following the success of her talk show, in 1999, she co-founded the Oxygen network which focused on internet and video content for women.

                  In 2000 she started her highly successful magazine O The Oprah Magazine.

                  In 2011 she started a television network called OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and in 2017 she sold a majority interest in it to the Discovery Channel for 70 million dollars.

                  While Oprah Winfrey became a millionaire hosting the most successful talk show in history, what success is to Oprah is finding new ways to capitalize on her assets. She became a billionaire by branching out and finding new ways to market her brand.

                  You can either see yourself as a wave in the ocean or you can see yourself as the ocean. — Oprah Winfrey

                  Starting, owning and running a successful business can be one of life’s most rewarding ventures.

                  Providing both the personal and financial freedom to live life on your own terms, and with the advent of the internet, starting your own business has never been easier or cheaper.

                  But the most important thing you can do is to define what success is to you. Does it mean being able to spend more time with friends and family without worrying about bills? Is it paying for the kid’s college education? Or to be able to travel the world with your spouse?

                  Whatever it is, having a clear understanding of what success is to you will keep you motivated and focused through the inevitable ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                  Reference

                  More by this author

                  David Carpenter

                  Lifelong entrepreneur and business owner helping others to realize the American Dream of business ownership

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                  Last Updated on February 17, 2021

                  50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

                  50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

                  If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

                  No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

                  Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

                  1. Set a Timer

                  Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

                  In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

                  2. Eliminate All Distractions

                  Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

                  You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                  3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

                  Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

                  Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

                  Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

                  4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

                  Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

                  If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

                  5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

                  By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

                  Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

                  6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

                  Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

                  7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

                  Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

                  Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

                  Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

                  8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

                  To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

                  Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

                  Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

                  9. Don’t Multitask

                  Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.

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                  For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

                  10. Step Away from the Computer

                  The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

                  I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

                  11. Use Focus Tools

                  Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

                  Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

                  Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

                  12. Just Start

                  Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

                  Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

                  13. Find out Your Productive Hours

                  Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

                  Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

                  14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

                  This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

                  15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

                  The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

                  When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

                  And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

                  16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

                  I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

                  Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

                  17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

                  The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

                  Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

                  18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

                  As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

                  “Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

                  This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

                  19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

                  I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!

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                  Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

                  20. Get Plenty of Sleep

                  When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

                  Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                  21. Exercise

                  Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

                  Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

                  Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

                  22. Outsource as Much as Possible

                  If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

                  Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                  23. Set Some Exciting Goals

                  Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

                  Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

                  24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

                  When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

                  25. Listen to Podcasts

                  Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

                  Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

                  Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

                  26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

                  This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

                  Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

                  27. Learn to Speed Read

                  When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

                  You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

                  28. Learn to Skip When You Read

                  When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

                  Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

                  29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

                  Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

                  We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

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                  30. Take a Break

                  You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

                  31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

                  What is polyphasic sleep?

                  Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

                  While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

                  32. Learn to Say “No”.

                  We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

                  Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

                  33. Go on an Information Diet

                  Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

                  Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

                  The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

                  34. Organize Your Office

                  The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

                  Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

                  35. Find a Mentor

                  By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

                  A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

                  36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

                  With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

                  When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

                  Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

                  Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

                  37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

                  Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

                  You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

                  38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

                  If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

                  Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

                  How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive

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                  39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

                  Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

                  Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

                  40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

                  Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

                  Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

                  41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

                  When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

                  Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

                  42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

                  The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

                  Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

                  43. Take Shorter Showers

                  This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

                  44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

                  Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

                  45. Auto Pay Your Bills

                  How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

                  Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

                  46. Shop Online

                  Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

                  47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

                  Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

                  If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

                  48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

                  If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

                  Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

                  49. Turn off the TV

                  The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

                  For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

                  Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

                  50. Use a Tivo or DVR

                  This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

                  So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

                  More Time Management Tips

                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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