Jack Ma, a Chinese entrepreneur, who launched several successful startups in the face of severe criticism, was recently named “Person of The Year” by Financial Times. How, you ask? By focusing more on the bottom line than any other person around him. While people around him are always astounded by his stupendous success, these rules of life helped him get to his current position. If you wondered how he got there at all, then these inspiring life lessons might be just what you need!
1. Help others if you want to change the world
Help others. A principle Jack Ma always follows is to make even the smallest man work hard. According to him, small people will always grow big and become successful in life over the years.
2. It doesn’t matter where you start. Where you finish counts
Like Jack Ma did, do not focus on where you started your life. Your level of upbringing, your method of education and your lifestyle all do not matter as long as you do something with it towards the end. Dig your heels in and give every opportunity a shot!
3. Giving up is the biggest failure
According to Ma, “giving up is the greatest failure.” If you go out, try your best and fail to achieve your goal but see it through to the end, you are still a success. Like all great leaders, Ma recognizes a person is able to learn the most from obstacles and hardships. The key to success is persevering and learning from your mistakes. Give up and everything comes crumbling down.
4. Act swiftly
If Jack Ma had not jumped at the opportunity which was Alibaba, the world would have lost a truly great e commerce platform. Acting swiftly helps put you in the front and through acting on your feet, life can show you different things!
There were several times during Alibaba’s early history where the company seemed doomed. If Jack Ma had not fought against all odds to become great, he would not have made it anywhere near the top three. Hard times come and go but what you do in the face of these hard times is what makes you great in life.
With only $ 20,000 in hand and a dream to achieve, Jack Ma became the first Chinese entrepreneur in the world and is now the 118th richest man in the world. With a net worth of $ 29.7 billion, Jack Ma stands tall as a revolutionary inspiration!
The Importance Of SWOT Analysis For A Business
Startups and their incredible stories, do not just happen overnight. It requires extensive research and dedicated hard work to make things happen. As a beginner who is launching a business, one must be aware of the do’s and don’ts of their business operations. Whether it is financial tasks or resources or manpower, a startup should keep a track of what and how and where to invest. Every business must conduct a SWOT analysis timely in order to find out its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A perfect way to find out where your business stands is to conduct a SWOT analysis. From large firms to small firms, every business can follow this analysis to find out its whereabouts in the market and implement the same when required.
The four elements of a SWOT analysis are as below!
Strengths – This element shows the characteristics of a business that give you an advantage over others. In simple terms, your strength could be your Unique Selling Point (USP.) Alongside, anything that adds weight to your business plan such as financial support, effective strategies, first mover advantage or any other internal factor that is your strength comes under this category, Recognize your strengths and use them to climb up the ladder to success!
Example – Nestle Maggie Noodles is the leader in the noodle market and its strength lies in its first mover advantage.
Weaknesses – Weaknesses refers to the areas your competitors have an upper hand when compared to you in the market. It is extremely important to recognize your weakness and work on it before it is too late. Low performance of your team or lagging behind with respect to technology upgradation could be considered as one the weaknesses of a business.
Example – One of the major factors why Nokia disappeared from the mobile phone market lies in its incapability to switch to the manufacturing of smartphones at an early stage.
Opportunities – This domain helps you achieve your objectives with ease. Find out the factors which could help you do more with your existing customers or clients. With the additional information you have, go for an extensive market research. As a startup you can go for expanding your business via social media platforms. Use it as an opportunity to expand your business. Examine your business with questions like, are there any new technological advances we could use to expand our business and reach new consumers? How can we adapt our business to changing consumer tastes and preferences?
Example – IKEA is traditionally famous for its diversification strategies. The company is launching its first ever store in India with its debut in T Hub which happens to be India’s largest incubator for startups, located in Hyderabad, Telangana.
Threats – Threats can be elements in the environment that could be dangerous for a business. Emerging competitors or changing customer attitudes could be major threats. Consider the factors that could affect the flow of your business and its operations. Try to opt for a solution and overcome them. Threats are external factors that you have no control over.
Example- PepsiCo must consider the consumer shifting toward health drinks as a threat and focus more toward flourishing the market with health drinks!
As easy as it may sound, SWOT requires a lot of considerations with regards to your business, your competitors, your work environment in the best possible way. So, when you are starting a business do not forget to conduct the SWOT analysis! Swot away your obstacles with a successful analysis!
How To Talk To People You Cannot Avoid
There is always that one person with whom you do not know how to break the ice. Even the most out going person could find it difficult to speak to strangers. However, every workplace has different people and sometimes, it just comes to a point where you have no choice but to initiate conversation; also known as small talk!
1. Begin with an anchor
An anchor is essentially the starting point of every random conversation. It helps to set the tone and gives you an idea of what the other person is thinking. I usually start off with something like, “Oh, the weather is so nice today, I do not feel like working!” The best part about these openers is both you and the person to whom you are talking to know the statement is for the purpose of small talk and the awkward ice can be finally broken!
2. Reveal something about you
The best way to fill the gap in those minutes where the conversation becomes awkward is to say something like, “this job is quite exciting. I have not done such a challenging role before!” When your colleague knows the struggle is real, the conversation flows easily and quickly.
Listen, because it is important. When you say some of those superficial line fillers, you never know what kind of a conversation it may trigger. For instance, I had a bad day at work and a colleague happened to ask me how I was. In all fairness, the question was just a simple opener. I took it to be a real opener and offloaded onto a stranger. What makes listening work is you can always learn something about the other person! On a side note, this person and I are really close friends now!
4. Know when not to talk
Okay so there are times when you are engaging in random conversations, you hear things you do not entirely agree with. If these conversations are with people you do not know, then it is best to really keep quiet and not say things you regret later.
Small talk is quite a task and usually, in an informal setting, the ice can be broken over shared interests. At work, that is a little harder, even for an extrovert like me! I have used these tips in the past so I truly hope they help you too!
5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Suits!
As an entrepreneur you have to go through loads of hurdles, challenges and even failures. The famous series created by Aaron Korsh is known as one of the most educated programs on television. Suits is based on the perception of lawyers worldwide. It depicts a group of lawyers who have a billionaire businessman, as a client, who does exceptionally unique things for his firm Pearson Specter Litt. For many people Suits’ lawyer Harvey Specter is the definition of success. He is witty, successful and he is apparently the best man in town. Don’t believe us? Go watch the series you’ll know what we are speaking about. There’s even a book on how to be successful like him. Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. But if you are ready to turn your idea into a reality, entrepreneurship is an exciting journey that will forever change your life.
We bring you five striking lessons one can learn from the famous drama series Suits.
1. Never break the rules!
Rules are to be followed. As an entrepreneur, you are still learning. So, in the early stage, there are certain rules you need to keep in mind. As the series revolves around lawyers and their whereabouts, Suits emphasizes the importance of laws and rules. First things first, you need to make the usage policy transparent, pay your taxes, because you are never into existence until you are legally there. Do not opt for illegal stuff in the beginning as it could even put your name at stake.
2. Plan big, win big!
Make a plan. Implement. Proceed.
Do not let go of your ideas easily, believe in them. If you are introducing an innovation to the market, go ahead with your idea with all the needful stuff and win it. You do not have to turn away from your ideas instead, plan and proceed. Do it the Harvey Specter way! Believe and make things happen. Be smart enough to know what, when, where, why and how things are happening. Make a plan and stick to it.
3. Win your battles before they’ve even been fought!
Know your rivals and stay one step ahead, always!
Your battle is with your competitor so keep in mind and keep a track of their plans. Being prepared for the battle from the legal point of view will not only give you the edge but adds value to your firm. Don’t think of your competitor as an obstacle, think of them as an educational tool. To beat them, you have to learn from them. Every episode of Suits has a situation where the leads are fighting hard to overcome. Learn from these plots on how to handle the battles in an effective way even before you are being fought.
4. Running away from your problems is a race you’ll never win!
As a beginner, things get difficult but you should stand your ground. Just like Mike Ross from the series who goes through a lot of hurdles at the beginning of his career but digs a way out of it, every single time. Use your brains and embrace the mess in which you are. When you come across a problem, try figuring out and look for solutions instead of bragging. Bragging is for the dim witted lads. Take it as an opportunity, do not run from your problems, face it. Win it.
There’s a famous scene where Harvey speaks about the choices when someone puts a gun to your head. He says you take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of the hundred and forty six other things.
Harvey’s focus is on the solution and not the problem.
5. Don’t be afraid of losing!
Experience is the best teacher. You can always learn something from it. According to Harvey Specter, you’re never going to win big if you’re going to minimise your losses. It is important to lose sometimes and it is even more important to learn from it. Next time when you are afraid of something ask yourself one thing what would Harvey Specter do?
You can learn from this tv series because learning can happen from anything and at any time! So, suit up and go ahead with whatever ideas you have to become an entrepreneur!
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