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Amazon’s Inspiring Growth Through The Years

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The year was 1997 and Amazon was losing more money than selling the books it was so proud of having. However, with courage that would impressive even the fiercest lion, Jeff Bezos decided the best way to counter this backlash was by going public in the same year when profits were at an all time low. Going public on Nasdaq with $ 18 per share, Amazon proved everyone wrong. From the time of the IPO to present day, Amazon has grown so much that if you invested $ 10,000 in a share in 1997, your shares would currently stand at a value of $ 4.8 million! Here’s taking a look at the impressive growth of Amazon through the years.

1997 to 2000

The moment Amazon.com went public, it was like a brand new revolution hit the internet.

  • With close to 80K regular users, close to $ 2.4 billion was spent on online shopping and on the Amazon website.
  • At $ 18 per share, the valuation of this e commerce platform stood at $ 438 million, giving it hopes of becoming a profitable company despite the multiple losses.
  • Finally realising the importance of branching out into different sectors, Amazon decided to expand the number of products available from one to 17, with 143 subcategories a year after it goes public.
  • To increase the user experience, Amazon introduced the one click checkout and promptly patents it, realising no one else had that feature at that point.
  • By the year 2000, Amazon’s share value had started climbing up steadily and by the time the dot com bust was in the offing, the share value stood at $ 91 per share.
  • While several e commerce websites and other startups plummeted into destruction, Amazon stood on semi solid ground.
  • Despite the steep decline of its share value (from $ 91 to $ 15,) Amazon decided to launch Marketplace, a feature which not only let the e commerce platform survive the bad times, but also allowed third party users.
  • Increasing the users from 4 million to 5.5 million, this extremely smart move not only ensured the survival of Amazon during the bad times, but also ensured its ride through to success.

2000 to 2006 

From the increase in the number of users to the introduction of new features, Amazon saw a massive surge in the response from people.

  • Amazon broke the internet with Free Super Saving Shipping for orders worth over $ 99, providing online shoppers with incentives to buy more, thereby increasing their revenue.
  • Looking at the success the Free Super Saving Shipping service garnered, Amazon introduced the first Cyber Monday sale! Over the years, this sale became so popular, it accounted for $ 3.45 billion in sales, with the day it was launched earning the most revenue in 2016.
  • Entering into new services and products, Amazon launched Amazon Prime, a one day delivery guarantee for people with the Prime membership. So well received was this service, it inspired a similar launch by other e commerce platforms like eBay and Alibaba.
  • The year 2006 was quite a revolutionary year for Amazon, with the e commerce platform launching Fulfillment, a service for third party users. Now, this particular feature is available in over 100 countries!

2006 to present 

The year 2006 saw an increase in the kind of people buying phones online, with Amazon being one of the first platforms that started selling the iPhone on the internet. With over 80 % of the people shopping for everything from books to electronic gadgets on the internet, it comes as no surprise that Amazon is one of the most famous and revenue generating platform in the world. In fact, for the last couple of years, Jeff Bezos has been so wealthy, he has held the position of being one of the richest people for the last few years in a row!

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Entrepreneur Stories

Ratan Tata Unknown Facts

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Chairman emeritus of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata is arguably one of the most successful people of India.  During his 21 year career, he transformed Tata Group from a national brand to an international brand with his impeccable business skills.

Here is a list of some lesser known facts about the 81 year old industrialist:

1) Though he was born in an affluent household, Ratan Tata had a troubled childhood. His parents, Naval Hormusji Tata and Sooni Tata, separated when he was just 7 years old.  Post the separation, his brother and he were raised by their grandmother.

2)  Ratan Tata has a degree in architecture from Cornell University and he even pursued an advanced management program from Harvard Business School.

 

3) When Ratan Tata first started his career at Tata Steel, his job was to manage the blast furnace and shovel limestone.  It was only in 1991 he became the Chairperson.

 

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4) Ratan Tata is an avid car lover and does not refrain himself from spending on cars.  His car collection includes Maserati Quattroporte, Chrysler Sebring, Ferrari California, Mercedes Benz S-Class and Jaguar F-Type.

 

5) Not many people know Ratan Tata is a trained pilot.  He owns a pilot’s license and is often seen flying aircrafts owned by the Tata Group.  He was also the first Indian to fly the F-16 Falcon in 2007.

6) In 1999, Ratan Tata and his team went to Ford to sell their emerging car business and were humiliated by Bill Ford who said, “You do not know anything, why did you start the passenger car division at all.”  Nine years later, Ratan Tata got his sweet revenge when he took over Ford’s ace car brands, Jaguar and Land Rover, for half the price.

 

7) Ratan Tata received the third and second highest civilian awards, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in 2000 and 2008 respectively.  In 2009, the United Kingdom honoured him with the Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

8) Ratan Tata is not included in the world’s richest as he owns most of his shares through trusts and foundations.  If all those shares are accounted, his net worth would be $ 72 billion.

 

9) By his own admission, Ratan Tata came close to marriage 4 times in his life, but backed off each time either due to fear or another reason.

10) Ratan Tata donates millions to education every year.  One particular year, he donated $ 50 million to Harvard University and $25 million to Cornell University, especially for the Indian students studying at the two universities.

 

Fighting all the hurdles that came his way, today Ratan Tata is the king of the corporate world.  Thank you, Mr. Tata, for being an inspiration to an entire Nation.

 

Comment below and let us know which of these facts surprised you the most.

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5 Essential Skills Required To Be A Successful Entrepreneur

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All the high net worth individuals in the world are where they are because they developed a certain skill set, which in turn helped them to reach their goals.  Mere knowledge of your niche area won’t help you become a successful entrepreneur. While you need patience to run a business, you also need to focus on developing some critical skills which not only help you run your business but also can help you solve any problems that might arise in your entrepreneurial journey.

Here is a list of 5 skills you should start developing if you aspire to become a successful entrepreneur.

 

1) Creativity

As an entrepreneur, you will face new problems every day and for entrepreneurs, creativity isn’t just about coming up with new ideas, it is about being able to adapt to new situations quickly and finding solutions for problems as and when they arise. You will also have to constantly improve and upgrade your products and services to stay alive in the market. Therefore, creativity is the most essential skill an entrepreneur should possess.  

The brand Apple is synonymous with creativity, thanks to the genius Steve Jobs. When the iPhone initially launched, critics came up with a 100 reasons as to why it would fail and it almost did. With his creativity, Steve Jobs kept upgrading the product and today, it is the best selling smartphone in the world.  Steve Jobs’ creativity was the driving force behind Apple’s product design and marketing.

 

2) Communication

Every entrepreneur needs to be an effective communicator. It is essential for entrepreneurs to be able to communicate with employees, customers, investors, peers and mentors. One simply cannot manage a great team or  provide a great customer service if one is not an effective communicator. Irrespective of whether a person runs a startup or a Fortune 500 company, communication is the key skill that he must develop.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson who himself is a student of communication, calls it “an art”.

 

3) Salesmanship

As an entrepreneur you should be able to sell sand in the desert.

Salesmanship is one such skill without which, it is nearly impossible to succeed as an entrepreneur. The soft skill of sales goes hand- in -hand with communication and is key to run a successful business.  An entrepreneur should be able to sell the business idea to investors, their products and services to customers.

Salesmanship plays a key role in building trust between the company and the customer.

Mark Cuban, an American businessman, investor and the owner of National Basketball Association often emphasises that salesmanship is the skill that made him millions. When asked what he would do if he lost it all, he replied saying that he would pick up a sales job and was pretty sure that this could make him a multi-millionaire again.

 

4) Money Management

If you cannot manage money, you cannot manage a business. Period!

Financial management is the most important responsibility of an entrepreneur, especially in the startup stage. Knowing your cash flow can make planning and budgeting for financial needs easier. This is a key skill to develop if you are aiming to be a successful entrepreneur.

Elon Musk, the 46 year old CEO of SpaceX and Tesla often states that he does not spend his $ 20 billion fortune on lavish vacations or expensive hobbies. Instead, he invests his profits back into his business for its development.

 

5)  Ability to find and manage people

Having great people on your team will make life much easier for you. It gives you access to new strengths while building a company culture of which people would want to be a part.  Hiring the right people is key to building a successful company. Along with hiring the right people, an entrepreneur should be able to manage them efficiently. He should be able to assign the right kind of tasks to people considering their strengths and weaknesses.

The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos follows a three question method of hiring people for his company.  

  1. Will you admire this person?
  2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
  3. Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?

Only when he is satisfied with these answers, will that person work for him.

Being an entrepreneur is a complicated task and your success as an entrepreneur is the result of the small actions taken over a period of time.

If you notice you are lacking a skill or two, focus on nurturing those skills today so you might be able to enjoy success tomorrow.

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Reasons Why Businesses Fail

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According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 business fail within the first 18 months of their inception and the sad reality is, almost all the businesses fail because of the entrepreneurs who handle it.  While there are a multitude of conditions which could lead to a business failure, most startups which fail, make similar mistakes.  Here is a list of the top 5 reasons why businesses fail.

 

1) Starting a business for the wrong reasons

Most people start a business with a desire to earn a lot of money.  While this is a benefit successful entrepreneurs achieve after years of hard work, starting a business for money is not the right entrepreneurial mindset.  The driving force for your business should be your passion, not your desire for money. Entrepreneurship requires a lot of dedication, hard work and patience and if you lack passion, you will most likely lose interest in a few years and eventually end up failing.

 

2) Lack of proper planning

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Planning is an important part of running a business.  If you do not work according to a proper plan, your business is most likely to fail.  A good plan consists of definite short term and long term goals and will also define where your company will be in the next few years.  Lack of such proper planning will cause irreparable damage to your business.

 

3) Lack of funds

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The most common reason why startups fail is the lack of proper funds.  Budding business owners often do not understand money management and are likely to underestimate the amount of money they require to start a business and might even have unrealistic expectations about profits. As a result, the money spent on the business becomes more than the money earned by the business.  This leads to debt and when this debt becomes too much, they are forced to shut it down.

 

4) Lack of value

The heart of any business is the value it creates. The higher your value, the more will be your customer base and the more you will earn.  Your product or service should be more valuable than your competitors’. In other words, your business should be able to offer something new.  If your business lacks value, it is bound to fail.

 

5)  Early expansions

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It is rightly said that slow and steady wins the race.  New entrepreneurs are often in a hurry to expand their business to other markets and this is the leading cause for bankruptcy.  Expanding a business is good, but before you enter new markets, make sure you maximise your existing market. If not, you will most likely be forced to close your business due to bankruptcy.

 

As they say, failures are stepping stones to success and as a business owner, the success of a business mostly lies in your hand. If you ever failed trying to run a business, learn from your mistakes and start over again. Most of the billionaires today are people who once failed.

 

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