Ten Asian billionaires weigh in with their life lessons for how to achieve success.
Jack Ma — Be adaptable
Alibaba group executive chairman Jack Ma says you shouldn’t be afraid of change. Adaptability is important in rapidly changing markets. Whatever the size of your company, if the environment changes, you have to change with it or risk being left behind.
Li Ka-shing — Want to build your
network? Be kind and generous
Hong Kong billionaire businessman Li Ka-shing advises young entrepreneurs to treat important people to lunch or dinner once a month. Invite those whom are more knowledgeable and experienced than you — so that you can learn from them — and those who can offer you support and bring you new connections.
Lei Jun — Think long term
Lei Jun, founder and chairman of Chinese electronics company Xiaomi, warns against rushing and being greedy. “The most important thing is to focus, focus, focus… If I have an IPO today, everyone will be rich, sell their shares, buy a house, buy a car and emigrate. How can you manage the company?”
Wang Jianlin — Aim to be number one
Wang Jianlin, owner of real-estate firm Dalian Wanda and China’s richest man, says that entrepreneurs should always aim high. “There’s nothing wrong with being number one worldwide.” For this to happen, business owners must instil company-wide ambitions and goals with all employees to build a distinctive company culture.
Ajay Piramal — Don’t be afraid to make
One of the richest men in India, chairman of Piramal Group Ajay Piramal says that mistakes in business should be embraced. “Entrepreneurship is giving senior people — and even young people — far more responsibility than they’ve ever expected… We also give them the freedom to act, the freedom to make mistakes.”
Peter Lim — Don’t just work, get
involved in how your company is run
Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim worked as a waiter, cook and taxi driver before becoming a stockbroker. Along the way, the business magnate observed how every aspect of each of these businesses functioned. As an entrepreneur, it’s important for you to not just lead your company or bring in business, but also understand your business model inside-out and know the skills that are critical to it running smoothly.
Zhou Qunfei — Pay attention to the details
Zhou Qunfei takes a detail-oriented approach to her work. The world’s richest self-made woman, who founded touchscreen maker Lens Technology, often walks the factory floor to ensure everything is in order. Sometimes, she’ll even step in and take over a menial job to make sure that it’s done correctly.
Tadashi Yanai — Know your brand
The founder of clothing empire Uniqlo, Tadashi Yanai, says that brand identity is important when you’re trying to succeed in business. “I feel the reasons for the success of Uniqlo are: we provide and sell products that the customers are happy to buy and that are beneficial to them. For a company, there’s a need for a brand to clearly know where its position is.”
Azim Premji — Live modestly
Realising the true value of money, some billionaires such as Azim Premji choose to live frugally. The chairman of Wipro Ltd and India’s wealthiest tech tycoon drives a second-hand car, uses auto rickshaws when taking public transport, and always reminds his employees to turn off the lights at work at the end of the day.
Mukesh Ambani — Remember: money is a
Truly successful entrepreneurs don’t go into business to be rich, according to Mukesh Ambani, an Indian business magnate and chairman of Reliance Industries Limited, a Fortune 500 company. He says that money is a by-product and chasing money alone would never make anybody a successful businessman.
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