In this age of information, young entrepreneurs are flooded with tips on how to be successful. Wondering how to evaluate the quality of the advice you receive? The best source remains from the horse’s mouth; that is, those who have gone before, and achieved the success that you wish to.
If your ambition is to achieve financial success, you will do no better than heeding the teachings of Asia’s Li Ka-Shings, the richest man on the continent.
Ka-Shings left school at age 12 to work as an apprentice in a watch-strap company, and by age 14 was working full-time in the plastics industry to help support his family. In 1950 he went into business for himself manufacturing toys and other plastic items. Today, he is the richest man in Asia, with nearly 300,000 employees around the globe.
While his accomplishments are staggering, in an editorial piece recently translated into English Ka-Shings offers a few pieces of foundational advice that can help entrepreneurs at any stage:
Buy lunch for those more important than you.
Ka-Shings recommends treating influential people, those who mentor you, and those who have helped you to a meal once a month.
The cost, he attests, will soon be returned in the benefit in status, reputation, and opportunity that a young entrepreneur receives in return.
Is a regular meal out of your budget, or out of your networking reach at this moment in time? Try to set up coffees, or send handwritten notes to those you wish to further connect with.
Over time, the lunches will come.
“Become a bookworm,” Ka-Shings says, and encourages entrepreneurs to study voraciously.
Once you have taken in the knowledge offered by a text, take time to translate the information into your own words and apply it to your own experiences.
Not sure where to begin? Search around for a business owners club or book group with a similar focus to help you stay on track and share ideas.
As your income grows, set aside a proportional amount for continued education in the form of courses and conferences; such pursuits not only increase your knowledge base, but also expand your network.
Learn the art of the sale.
At their foundation, all entrepreneurs are salespeople, affirms Ka-Shings.
Therefore, you must learn to become a savvy, focused salesperson for your brand or service.
Lacking in experience?
Get a part time retail job, or work in retail during a peak season to get a taste of selling. Learn and observe both what works, and what doesn’t.
Having trouble finding a good experience?
Network marketing is a growing industry that relies on an individual’s ability to close the deal even more than traditional retail; find something you like and sell, baby, sell!
Life, says Ka-Shings, can be planned, from wealth to relationships to business.
He says that in particular, an entrepreneur should focus on and give to others in the early stages of their career, and focus on themselves once they’ve “made it.”
The proverbial pavement must be pounded until achievements are reached; then, one can relax.
Many, he notes, have this backward – they hunker at home or in offices rather than focusing on building relationships with people, hoping to have time for others “later,” not realizing that others are the key to their success now.
Live in a disciplined manner, appreciating each cycle.
There is no shame, muses Ka-Shings, in being young – entrepreneurs are young and poor and working at some point in their lives, and that is as it should be.
Likewise, once success is obtained, embrace the stature you have earned and enjoy the opportunity to bask in it.
Bask quietly, however, so as not to be inappropriate.
In a more modern sense, Ka-Shings is speaking to the need to be fully engaged in and enjoy the present moment, and to realize the value of balance.
He is a strong advocate of travel as a way both to increase professional knowledge and experience and gain much-needed rest from work, the requirement for the retainment of passion.
As with everything else, travel on a dime when you are starting out, and on a more lavish budget as your stature improves.
Ready to pursue Ka-Shing’s advice?
Start by checking out these 20 Must-Read Books for Young Entrepreneurs.
Featured photo credit: taxrebate.org.uk via flickr.com