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Richard Branson on how to be a successful business owner
| - Small Business - Business Owners - Enterprise - Leadership - All - |
 Edmundo Daco Jr. & Jessica Barrera
 
Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Richard Branson - what do these people have in common? Well, aside from being part of the richest people list, they’re also some of the most successful business owners in the world. If you’re an entrepreneur aspiring to build your own empire, these business moguls can also be your best sources of inspiration. Their stories can teach you how to be a successful business owner.

Focus on Innovation

Whether you own a digital company or a brick and mortar business, you're probably dealing with many competitors in your industry. As a business owner, you have to continuously innovate to get ahead of the race. Don't be complacent. Instead, find ways to improve your products or services, just like what Jeff Bezos did with Amazon.

In his interview with Mathias Dopfner, CEO of Axel Springer, Bezos said "I think the great thing about humans, in general, is we're always improving things. And so if entrepreneurs and inventors follow their curiosity and they follow their passions, and they figure something out and they figure out how to make it, and they're never satisfied. You need to harness that."

Amazon started out in 1994 as an online bookstore. Since then, it has added a wide array of products to its catalog and became the largest online retail company in the world. But it didn't end there. Amazon has also produced its own series of products like Kindle, Fire TVs, Fire Tablets, and Echo speakers. Today, Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world with a net worth of $160.8 billion, according to Forbes.

Manage Your Time Well

Do you know Bill Gates? Well, who doesn't? He's the founder of Microsoft, the world's largest personal computer software company. He was a very large part in spurring the existence of personal computers. Today, his net worth is around $90 billion, despite being a Harvard University dropout. You might be thinking "He's a genius, that's why," as the reason behind his success. That is a hard no.

As a business owner, Bill Gates puts high value on his time. His popular quote explains why, "No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more time." He was very picky about where he'd invest his time during his days as CEO of Microsoft Corporation. He managed his schedule accurately and structured his tasks to be more productive.

If you want to be a successful business owner, you need to have this same mindset. Make sure to only put time on activities that will improve business productivity or will give value to your cause. Eliminate time-wasting activities and avoid any distractions. For instance, instead of conducting daily huddles, make a weekly team meeting so you can dedicate your time to more pressing matters.

Take Meaningful Risks

An important prerequisite for innovation is taking risks. Without it, you won't be able to move away from your comfort zone and develop new ideas to help your business grow. As Facebook Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg put it, "The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks."

Facebook was already the biggest social media platform in 2012, but that didn't stop Zuckerberg from taking a huge risk of buying Instagram. The company bought the app for $300 million in cash and $700 million worth of Facebook shares. That's a total of $1 billion - an awful lot of money to risk for an 18-month old mobile app. Nevertheless, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook took their chances. Now, Instagram is worth more than $100 billion.

Moral of the story: don't be afraid to take risks. Successful business owners think outside the box and explore new ideas or ventures. Remember that risks can lead to success.

Learn from Your Failures

"Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again."

"You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over."

These wise words came from Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group. He currently operates more than 400 companies and is worth $5.1 billion. But before becoming a successful business owner, he had some tastes of failure himself. His first business venture, Student magazine, did not flourish as he expected. Also, Branson started Virgin Cola in 1994 to compete with large companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. He had high hopes for its success in the beginning, but things didn't turn out like he wanted them to. The soda company failed to sell and eventually, he had to close it.

This experience taught him that uniqueness is a very important characteristic when developing products or services. Since then, he has launched many successful companies like Virgin Galactic, Virgin Fuels, Virgin Comics and Virgin Health Bank, among many others. Lesson? Even the most successful entrepreneurs fail, and so will you. But if you just stick to it and hold on to your dreams, you'll eventually find success.

 

Use the Right Apps and Technology

Last but not least, successful business owners like the four billionaires mentioned, use technology to their advantage. You need to do this too if you want your business to succeed in this digital age. There are apps for almost every aspect of a business. All of them are created to make business processing easier and more convenient. Cloud-based technologies, in particular, are becoming more and more essential for companies to gain an advantage over competitors.

By finding and using the right apps, your company will increase productivity, gain more efficient ways of communication, and have smoother operations. Combine these with the personal characteristics we mentioned, and you'll be on the road to being a successful business owner.