There are times in life when you get so bogged down by the pressures of the world, you can’t think beyond the fog. At times like these, it’s the entrepreneurs you have idolized all your life who inspire you to do the unexpected. Every great man at the top of the food chain, at some point or other, faced downfall. When you feel like you are completely down and out, reading autobiographies by those who made it big in the world help in finding the much needed silver lining. Here is our list of books you should definitely read when you need the push to do better!
1. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (Richard Branson)
Richard Branson, known best for founding the extremely famous Virgin Atlantic, is perhaps one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world right now. Not only did he found one of the most widely used airlines, he also created a host of other businesses (Virgin Cola, Virgin Records and V2.) While his life may seem picture perfect right now, Branson went through his fair share of ups and downs. In his autobiography, Branson gets completely candid and talks about how, despite his advisors telling him not to start so many businesses, he adopted the “Oh screw it, let’s do it” policy. A tell all about the journey of his life to the top, Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun & Made A Fortune Doing Business My Way is a definite must read!
2. Made In America (Sam Walton)
Sam Walton, one of the co founders of Walmart, built the largest retail store in the United States from scratch through sheer hard work and effort. In his book Made In America, Walton talks about how he barely had any seed money, an idea and the dream to create something people all over the world could use. With only one store in Arkansas, Walton and his partner (John Huey,) worked through their mistakes with commendable ease and brought to life a retail store which quite literally changed the way people shopped!
3. Built From Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew the Home Depot from Nothing to $ 30 Billion (Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank)
From being fired, to building a billion dollar worth company, Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus have quite an inspiring story to tell. In their book Built From Scratch, Bernie and Arthur map out their entire journey and talk about how being fired from your job is never a bad thing. The book also gives you the hope that even if something goes miserably wrong, you can always work on what you want to recreate your dream. Built with grit and determination, the story of how Home Depot came to be is one everyone will relate to even now!
4. Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time (Howard Schultz)
A lot can happen over a cup of coffee, especially if you pour your heart into it. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks (the largest coffee store in the world,) quite literally put all he had into creating this massive empire. In his inspiring book Pour Your Heart Into It, Schultz talks about he cracked the code to perfection: providing great customer service! This particular autobiography is a must read because not only does it outline Schultz’s recipe for success, it also talks about how the man faced his failures and all the techniques he learnt while making it to the top!
5. The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company (David Packard)
Friends from Stanford, Bill Hewlett and David Packard created HP when they realised there was a severe need for personal computers. A car garage doubled up as their office space and armed only with an idea, the duo gave life to one of the most sought after computers in the world today. The HP Way by David Packard talks about their journey from a garage, to how a coin toss decided the name of their company.
6. Direct From Dell (Michael Dell)
Michael Dell, the founder of Dell, started his entrepreneurial journey in his dorm room, with seed money of less than $ 1,000. Dell grew from just selling computers, to manufacturing and distributing them. Today, it is one of the largest computer manufacturers in the world. In his book Direct From Dell, Michael Dell talks about what he learned during his journey and about how he overcame some of the toughest difficulties while growing.
The top tens didn’t become the great people they are today because they got lucky. They put in a lot of time, effort and energy into making their dreams come true. If you think we missed out on any other inspiring autobiographies, comment and let us know!
Ratan Tata Unknown Facts
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.
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.
5 Essential Skills Required To Be A Successful Entrepreneur
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.
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.
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”.
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.
- Will you admire this person?
- Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
- 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.
Reasons Why Businesses Fail
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
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
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
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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