What does it take to make $100 billion? Ask Jeff Bezos. The entrepreneur became the richest man on the planet by turning Amazon into the world’s largest online retailer. This kind of success doesn’t happen by accident. It comes with the right mindset.
Make Decisions With 70% Of The Information
It’s valuable to be informed. But as Bezos explains, “Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow.” For example, Prime Now was launched 111 days after it was conceived. Were there bumps and turns along the way? Sure. But fast-decision making is how you get ahead of the competition. If you wait for perfect information, it’s too late.
Ignore The Competition
Many businesses get caught up in what others do. More often than not, this causes them to copy their competition. In reality, serving the customer should always come first. This is how you innovate and succeed. As Bezos explained, this is how Amazon Prime came to be. “Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf. No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it sure turns out they wanted it.”
Take The 10% Chance
Bezos once said, “Given a 10% chance of a 100-times payout, you should take that bet every time.” Those aren’t impossible odds! You need to make bold business decisions to achieve big success. You won’t always succeed, but you can still learn things to help you achieve that big payout in the future. For example, Amazon Marketplace failed in its first two launch attempts. The third time, it worked. It has since grown to contribute to almost half of Amazon’s sales.
Don’t Be A Blockbuster
Being successful now doesn’t mean you’ll be relevant in the future. Look at what happened to Blockbuster video. Pay attention to what’s happening so you can drive change, rather than react to it. As Jacob Munns, CEO of Boomsourcing explains, “You can never assume your industry will stay the same forever. If you don’t innovate, someone else will — and you’ll get left behind.” Looking forward is how Amazon became successful. Jeff Bezos recognized the potential for personalizing e-commerce, and made that his focus. Amazon has continued to innovate and change to stay relevant and successful.
Develop A Distinct Culture
Amazon has a distinct culture that has attracted both criticism and praise. While this culture won’t work for all companies, it works for them. As Bezos explained in a shareholder letter, “Someone energized by competitive zeal may select and be happy in one culture, while someone who loves to pioneer and invent may choose another. The world, thankfully, is full of many high-performing, highly distinctive corporate cultures. We never claim that our approach is the right one – just that it’s ours.” Find what makes your business culture unique. Think about what it means to be a great manager versus a good manager. Then recruit people who fit into that mold.
Don’t Let Process Kill Progress
Too big companies let process kill progress. Amazon, despite its size, still shows a willingness to experiment. For example, look at their constant tests and experiments with Amazon Prime. They’ve introduced free same-day delivery and even one-hour delivery with Prime Now. There’s been the introduction of Prime Video and Prime Day. A willingness to tinker has led to even greater growth in Prime membership. You should always look for ways to innovate instead of getting letting bureaucratic processes slow you down.
Take It All Apart
Disrupting traditional business practices helped Bezos bring Amazon into fruition. This allowed him to create a new way to deliver goods when so many competitors tried it before him. Elon Musk took a similar approach, taking apart a Mercedes Benz before designing Tesla’s cars. Bezos has now inspired a new generation of entrepreneurs to do the same. This includes Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree Taylor Offer who learned from Bezos when founding FEAT Socks. “We analyzed the sock industry and questioned why companies relied so heavily on retail outlets,” he said. “Instead, we saw an opportunity to sell socks through social media. It was a crazy idea at the time, but has lead to millions of dollars in sales.” What everyday ideas can you “take apart” so you can discover ways to do it better?
Ditch The Bureaucracy
Startups are full of innovation and fast-paced decisions. But as businesses grow, they often get slowed down by bureaucracy. This kills innovation. As The New York Times explains, “[devolving] from a ruthless predator to a sluggish bureaucracy…is exactly what Bezos doesn’t want to happen to Amazon. He wants it to always have the feel of a startup.” Maintaining a startup mentality is essential for staying on the cutting edge.
Become A Master Of Failure
Fear of making bad decisions often keeps companies from innovating. But as Bezos has said, “If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think.” Learn to fail fast and cheap, and correcting bad decisions won’t be a problem. This will help you learn and achieve better results in the future. Felix Odigie, CEO and founder of Occasion Station adds, “Any failure is an opportunity to build toward bigger and better things. Why did that product fail? How could I have done better? Find answers to these questions and learn from them to set yourself up for success with your next endeavor.”
It’s All About The Long Term
“It’s all about the long term” is a phrase that appeared in Bezos’s first letter to Amazon shareholders. As Bezos explained, all decisions would need to “consistently [reflect] this focus.” Everything from investment decisions to growth plans to hiring took a long-term outlook. It payed off for Amazon. Take a long-term approach. You will make smarter decisions and achieve lasting (rather than temporary) success.
Following these tips won’t necessarily earn you $100 billion like Jeff Bezos. That’s okay. With this proactive, forward-thinking mindset, you’ll still set yourself up for a more lucrative future with your own business ventures.