“If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think.” — Jeff Bezos
Love him or hate him, Jeff Bezos is one of the greatest success stories in entrepreneurial history. The man saw a need for books to be sold online, then burst through the door and turned Amazon into something much, much bigger. Today, Amazon is ubiquitous and its digital footprint is among the largest on the Internet.
Jeff Bezos was able to build Amazon into a titan because he rooted the concept for his business in principles of success. Herein, I share the five principles that turned Bezos into a billionaire, and perhaps provided you with “free” 2-day shipping on everything from bestselling books to HD televisions.
1. Give it a Shot — even when it isn’t safe
“I decided I had to give it a shot. I didn’t think I’d regret trying and failing. And I suspected I would always be haunted by a decision to not try at all. After much consideration, I took the less safe path to follow my passion, and I’m proud of that choice.”
Jeff Bezos found himself at a career crossroads less than 10 years after college. Stay in the business world and play things safe at a high-paying job with a hedge fund, or go for it all, which meant his dream of an online bookstore. Bezos decided to pursue his dream, and the rest is history.
We find in life that we can play thing safe, or we can bet on ourselves and give it a shot, even when we don’t have a safety net. What’s amazing is the transcendent power of faith, hard work and grit that takes over when we have nothing to fall back on. All we need is some momentum and determination and we can do anything.
2. Recognize the importance of the choices you make. You’re always in control
…The difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.”
We have the choice everyday to live by our values, or to fall victim to the numerous distractions that exist around us. If we have a clear game plan, which involves defining success and setting measurable goals, we just need to steel our mind to work hard and execute. We have that choice everyday, in both good times and bad.
3. Make the best, swiftest decisions
“Make high-quality, high-velocity decisions”
Bezos learned that if he ever wanted to get ahead in the rapidly evolving Internet age, he had to make quick, intelligent moves. One of his brilliant decisions was starting Amazon Web Services, then expanding further into advertising. Today, advertising accounts for nearly $10 Billion per year for the Seattle-based tech giant.
He could have stuck with the basics of selling goods, but Bezos saw the demand and the market for much more. He didn’t sit around. He struck while the iron was hot.
4. Be Stubborn, but Be Flexible
“If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”
The balance of staying the course, while knowing when to modify your approach, is the genius of every great businesswoman or man. You have to believe in yourself. You have to stick to your guns. But you also must be willing to change and shift course, or time will waste you. Bezos has built Amazon into an empire because he has incorporated both stubbornness and flexibility into his arsenal.
5. Know Who You’re Really Working For
“The thing that motivates me is a very common form of motivation. And that is, with other folks counting on me, it’s so easy to be motivated.”
You’re always working for yourself, but you’re also working for the people that mean the most to you. When there’s no safety net, there’s greater motivation and need to move forward with expediency and efficiency. Always keep in mind the people you support (your family) and the people who work for you (your employees). Put their interests first, and you’ll have raving fans and customers.
There’s a lot to learn from Bezos’ life story and the success of Amazon. These five principles help provide the framework for how and why one of the world’s richest men is where he is today. You can implement these exact same principles into your life and find tremendous success.
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