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10 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Learn from Jack Ma

Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, is one of the most influential businessmen of today with a net worth of almost $37 billion USD. The aspiring entrepreneur has shared with the world his personal story and the failures he had to overcome to become the person he is today.

Rejected from Harvard 10 times, being turned down for 30 jobs (even for one at KFC), and having Alibaba just 18 months away from bankruptcy at one point, he proves that no series of failure should discourage you to follow your dreams and goals.

He is a true inspiration and we can all learn much from him. Let’s start with the following 10 lessons:

  1. Help others if you want to change the world:

“Help young people. Help small guys. Because small guys will be big. Young people will have the seeds you put in their minds, and when they grow up, they will change the world.”

  1. It is important to understand your customers:

“I’m not a tech guy. I’m looking at the technology with the eyes of my customers, normal people’s eyes.”

  1. The power of true leadership is indisputable:

“A leader should have higher grit and tenacity, and be able to endure what the employees can’t.”

  1. To outrun your competition, you need to keep an eye on them, but never copy their work:

“You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die.”

  1. There is always something that you can learn from failure. The toughest times can only make you stronger if you choose not to give up:

“The lessons I learned from the dark days at Alibaba are that you’ve got to make your team have value, innovation, and vision. Also, if you don’t give up, you still have a chance. And, when you are small, you have to be very focused and rely on your brain, not your strength.”

  1. Choosing the right team increases your chances for success:

“You need the right people with you, not the best people.”

“If we are a good team and know what we want to do, one of us can defeat ten of them.”

“You’ve got to make your team have value, innovation, and vision.”

  1. Making a difference in the world and bringing value is what entrepreneurship is all about:

“I want to change history, do something important in my life, and influence individuals like we have with millions of small businesses on Alibaba. Then they love and respect you because you made their life important.”

  1. Money matters, especially when it comes to spending them strategically:

“Spending money is much more difficult than making money.”

“We’re never in lack of money. We lack people with dreams, (people) who can die for those dreams.”

  1. You need two things to overcome tough times: patience and persistence:

“The very important thing you should have is patience.”

  1. When you start your company, think big!

“I think globalization is a great thing. And now a lot of people complain about globalization; a lot of people don’t like, you know, the globalize of the concept, the idea of the results. I think the globalization is a great idea and to create a lot of jobs.”

“Our philosophy is that we want to be an ecosystem. Our philosophy is to empower others to sell, empower others to service, making sure the other people are more powerful than us. With our technology, our innovation, our partners – 10 million small business sellers – they can compete with Microsoft and IBM.”

“As a business person, I want the world to share the prosperity together.”

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