5 things small business owners can learn from 5 top entrepreneurs

As a small business owner you are probably constantly thinking about your business and would probably like nothing more than to have greater and greater success.

There are many aspects and complexities to business from marketing to cash flow to IT and so on which means a sharp learning curve when starting out. You will also know by now that the learning never ends! So what better way to learn about how to be successful than from people who have done it spectacularly well?

So let’s see what 5 top entrepreneurs have to say about the secrets of success:

  1. Donald Trump

Donald Trump

About: Donald Trump is considered one of the best known real estate entrepreneurs in the United States and is well known for starring in the American version of The Apprentice.

Estimated net worth: £1.8 billion

What we can learn from him: Donald Trump has said that the key to his success was thinking big. He has always thought bigger than others and at the age of 30 decided to conquer the New York skyline. He borrowed vast amounts of money from the banks to achieve his goal and since then has been involved in many successful real estate deals all over the world. His developments have become synonymous with opulence and excess.

His philosophy is that if you think small you will get small results but think big and you will achieve big results, simple but effective.

Donald Trump also teaches us that you don’t need a good hair cut to become a success!

Quote: “You have to think anyway so why not think big?”

  1. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

About: The late Steve Jobs was the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple. He is renowned for being an inventor, designer and innovator of products that have changed the world and the way things are done.

Estimated net worth: £6.75 billion

What we can learn from him: Steve Jobs never settled for results he was not happy with, whenever he took on a project or task he did it to the best of his ability and did not tolerate those around him who settled for anything less than perfect. He was obsessed with the details and concentrated on making something great not just good, almost to the detriment of Apple. So Steve Jobs teaches us that if you’re going to do something, give it 100% and strive for perfection.

Quote: “I want to put a ding in the universe”

  1. Richard Branson

Richard Branson

About: Richard Branson is best known as the founder of the Virgin Group. Not many people know this but Virgin actually consists of over 400 private limited companies across many different industries. He started his entrepreneurial journey as a boy when he started a magazine for students. Later on he decided to start advertising mail order records in the magazine and this eventually became Virgin Records.

Estimated net worth: £3.2 billion

What we can learn from him: Branding! Even Richard’s family name was originally Brandson (as they branded animals) and later changed to Branson throughout the generations. Richard Branson has shown that if you become known as a brand (even on a small scale) and stick to certain principles such as good customer service and value for money, then you can take on any industry. So how did he get so well known? Richard Branson’s PR success has mainly been due to publicity stunts which cost him very little. It was just a case of him being inventive. So Richard’s lesson is that reputation and branding is everything!

Richard also shows us that you can hire experts for areas you are weak in. There is a famous story of when Richard was heading a board meeting of the biggest privately owned company in Europe and had to ask what the difference between net and gross was! Luckily he appointed great accountants at the time! 

Quote: “Your brand name is only as good as your reputation”

  1. Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

About: Warren Buffett (The Wizard of Omaha) is the most famous investor in the world. He is the chairman, CEO and the largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth to good causes once he dies, a big portion of which is going to the Gates Foundation.

Estimated net worth: £41.8 billion

What we can learn from him: Warren Buffett teaches us the power of compounding. Warren has stuck to some core principles which have helped him become one of the richest people on the planet. He never invests in businesses that he does not understand and which have uncertain futures, and he does not waste money! Despite being insanely wealthy he still lives off a £65k salary and still lives in the house he bought as a youngster for around £20k. Sticking to his core principles, being patient and constantly reinvesting his money has meant that compounding has been the secret to his success. Amazingly £41.3 billion of his £41.8 billion fortune was made after he was 50! That’s 99%. It’s a similar principle to betting a penny on the 1st hole of golf and winning double or quits on every hole, by the final hole you will have won over £1,300!

Quote: “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

  1. Alan Sugar

Alan Sugar

About: Alan Sugar is most renowned for Amstrad which was one of the first computer companies that created affordable computers for the mass market. His no nonsense approach and eye for opportunity has seen him become one of the most successful British entrepreneurs.

Estimated net worth: £900 million

What we can lean from him: Alan Sugar has shown the world that anybody can do it and you do not need to be academic to do well. He grew up on a council estate in East London and like many successful entrepreneurs did not go to university or gain any qualifications. He simply started selling car parts from the back of a cheap van and expanded from there. Alan Sugar didn’t do particularly well in school but through simply selling something for more than it he bought it for and hard work, he has been able to become a Lord!

Quote: “I’m a commercial person, not an academic”

If this has given you inspiration then please share with your fellow business owners and let us know what principles work for you in the comments below!

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