Of course there are much more than 7 lessons we can learn from Jeff Bezos, who is not only the richest man on earth, but one of the most innovative entrepreneurs of our times.
I chose 7 because these lessons have be critical for me as a person and as an entrepreneur and I think they are relevant and can be life changing for you too.
It’s easy to have ideas, it’s very hard to turn an idea into a successful product
It seems that an astonishing 90% of the startups fail. One of the main reasons is failing in execution, be it incompetence, lack of experience, lack of planning, etc. In the past I had a lot of ideas, and even tried to realize some. In my experience I can say that the main reason I failed was because I followed a passion, but without due planning, without estimating costs properly and without considering the market I was in.
I wanted to extract essential oils and sell them retail. The cost of production was very high and the margin was ridiculous, if I wanted to wmake a difference I really had to produce at an industrial level, whereas I wanted to do it small-scale kind of hand-made. Lesson learned!
And also, no matter how good your idea is, if you don’t execute it because of procrastination or any kind of excuses, someone else will, so it’s worth the try.
Do something you are very passionate about, don’t try to chase what is the hot passion of the day
I love this one! At the end of the day, if you make something you are passionate about, it will be much easier for you to be good at it. Honestly: do you know someone who is insanely good at something which they hate? Of course we become good at things we love, because if we are passionate about something, we will probably spend a great amount of time learning, improving, doing it.
Many professionals who came to me for coaching on how to start an online business, had this question: what services should I provide? What are the most required services in the market?
This quote just answers this question: don’t look for what is most requested, but rather what you are good at and passionate about.
This is something I have always believed to be a gift. It is actually something you nurture, but you probably have to have an innate curiosity, so that you can build your toolkit and extract the right resource at the right moment.
When building an online business, this is particularly important, because it is very likely that you will be the only responsible for the whole business, from graphics, web design, marketing, bookkeeping, PR, etc. When you have to do all by yourself, believe me, being resourceful will save you!
As your business grows and you can start hiring collaborators, having done most of the work yourself will give you the right knowledge and will make the process of delegating much easier.
Focus on the Customer, not competitors
Gotta love this one. Whatever your business is, if you are in business you have customers/clients and you have competitors. You can be obsessed with beating the competition, watching what they are doing, or you can focus on delivering the best service and create great customer experience to you customers or clients.
The choice is yours, and this choice will definitely make a difference from going to “all right” to “amazing” in terms of customer experience, which kind of leads us to the following source of inspiration.
Don’t just satisfy your Customers, delight them
Easy to say, hard to do? It really depends on you, on where your focus is. Of course Amazon has a huge infrastructure and top-notch technology and they can easily delight their customers, but you know what? You can too!
You don’t have to be the greatest company on earth to do that, it suffices to be genuinely committed to make your customers happy and to be empathetic. Think of their expectations and think how you can amazingly overcome them.
For instance, if you have an autoreply message that says “We will get back to you within 24 hours” and then you reply within one hour, you are overcoming expectations.
But is it enough to delight? I think it takes more than that, it goes deeper and it is more emotional. Think of a client’s birthday and how you can send her flowers, or a gift certificate for a massage, this kind of stuff is the one that delights. Think of what you would like to experience and try to understand if that would make your client happy. You really need to know them, if you send a gift certificate for a barbecue restaurant to a vegetarian, that’s nor really delighting, is it?
Family is important
Jeff Bezos adores his parents, siblings, wife and children, and adored his grandparents. At least this is what we know from his words and the evident public facts. He has declared how important the support of his family has been for his entrepreneurial journey. I am sure anyone who hasn’t had their partner support would relate: if you decide to leave a corporate career and plunge into the unknown of the entrepreneurial world, knowing that your life partner is supporting you is key.
Maybe for you it’s not family, it’s friends, it doesn’t really matter. The point is: the most important things in life aren’t thinks, and cultivating and nurturing relationships will really make a difference.
Note: When I wrote this post Jeff Bezos hadn’t gone through the all affair/divorce thing…I don’t want to judge since we are all humans. I decided to still keep this point despite what happened.
It’s harder to be kind than clever
So true! This is something Jeff’s grandfather told him after he made an accurate calculation of how many years his grandmother would lose out of smoke and made her cry.
Sometimes we are so desperate for being right, showing off our talents, demonstrating how smart we are, that we forget what really matters. Kindness is a virtue of the strong. Choose to be kind rather than right, this will go a long way, and will most probably be crucial to delight your customers too.
I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from Jeff Bezos!
Digital Entrepreneur and Business Mentor for Location Independent Wannabes. I founded my virtual assistance and digital marketing agency in 2009 and I’ve helped over 300 individuals to become virtual assistants and location independent.
I can help you no matter at what stage of your business you are and if I cannot, someone of my team can.