Tips from Leaders on How to Lead and Successfully Manage a Business

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The skills that you need to become a great business person are learned by watching and studying how others work. There are insights to glean, even from the owner of a failed venture. However, if you want to know how to achieve success, you should look to some of the most revered people within their respective industries.

These are the people who encountered every challenge that came their way and they triumphed over each one. So, when they give advice on managing a business, every aspiring entrepreneur should listen. Here are the top tips from some of the best company leaders in the world.

Be an ‘On the Ground’ Kind of Leader

Some executives fail because they make decisions that only look good on paper. They do not use their products and services nor go on-site for inspections. They are unaware of how things work. As a result, the changes they implement only inconvenience their staff and turn away clients or consumers.

It is important that a business owner is aware of how things work and it can only be done by being on the ground. This is the lesson that everyone should learn from Neo Kian Hong, SMRT CEO.

Mr. Neo is running SMRT, a major transport operator in Singapore, to improve services and provide the needs of every Singaporean. Under his leadership, Singapore had been named as a city with one of the best transportation systems in the world, rivaling that of New York, London, and Paris.

Mr. Neo is the kind of leader who is willing to get his hands dirty. In one interview, he said that he personally visits stations regularly and even walks the tunnels at night. He also applauds the hard work of the staff because he has seen them do their jobs tirelessly in the service of the company and the people.

If a boss is not around to experience an issue first-hand, it is impossible to make decisions and come up with solutions that benefit everyone. Being present allows a leader to get to know the processes involved in creating and selling a product as well as the people who work to propel the company to success.

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Product Before Profit

Steve Jobs is an icon in the tech and business world because he led Apple Inc. from being an underdog to an industry leader. Decades ago, Apple was lagging behind Microsoft. Now, it is a trillion-dollar (the first to reach the milestone) company.

Mr. Jobs did not transform Apple by building subpar products and hoping they would sell. He believed that building something of high-quality and something that people need precedes success.

He said entrepreneurs should focus their energy on developing a great product instead of earning money. With a great product, everything else — money, fame — will happen later on.

When a business person focuses on making the most money, they tend to create products and services that do not have a lasting value. While it will work in the beginning and increase profits, later on, consumers will figure out that they are not getting their money’s worth. People would rather spend more on products that last a lifetime compared to something that breaks easily. Moreover, it creates a negative reputation for your brand.

Listen to the advice of Mr. Jobs. If you want to sell a product, focus on making something great.

Be as Ambitious as You Want to Be

Ambition is what drives a lot of entrepreneurs to take major risks and keep pushing, even if their path is difficult and naysayers say they cannot succeed.

Elon Musk, now the world’s richest person, has big dreams. He is revolutionizing the car industry, he is building fast trains in vacuum tunnels, helping increase solar power use by producing high-capacity batteries, and he wants to colonize Mars. He is an ambitious man, and he never let anyone tell him to aim low.

Mr. Musk once said that many companies aim for modest improvements so that, if things go wrong, no one would blame them. They do not risk making new products because there is a fear of failure. As a result, they do not change anything. They make incremental upgrades on an existing product. They do not innovate.

A business is always a risk. Failure is always a possibility. Shooting for small gains may not be as big of a risk, but it also would not result in genuine transformations that make people’s lives better. Ambition is what drives success in the long-term.

Managing a business is not easy, but there are thankfully people who are willing to share their secrets to success. The only thing that fledgling entrepreneur needs to do is follow their advice and, hopefully, success will come after.