Jack Ma is a Chinese billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group, a family of highly successful internet-based businesses. Jack Ma is also the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes Magazine.
Jack Ma is an entrepreneur in the true sense of the word and just about as successful in business as it’s possible to be. In a recent interview, the Financial Times 2013 Person of the Year claimed that:
“If you’re still poor at 35, you deserve it.”
This may initially come across as a little harsh, but to be truly successful in business, is this a necessary viewpoint?
“Before I founded Alibaba, I invited 24 friends to my house to discuss the business opportunity. After discussing for a full two hours, they were still confused — I have to say that I may not have put myself across in a clear manner then. The verdict: 23 out of the 24 people in the room told me to drop the idea, for a multitude of reasons, such as: ‘you do not know anything about the internet, and more prominently, you do not have the start-up capital for this’, etc, etc.
There was only one friend (who was working in a bank then) who told me, ‘If you want to do it, just try it. If things don’t work out the way you expected it to, you can always revert back to what you were doing before.’ I pondered upon this for one night, and by the next morning, I decided I would do it anyway, even if all of the 24 people opposed the idea.
When I first started Alibaba, I was immediately met with strong opposition from family and friends. Looking back, I realised that the biggest driving force for me then was not my confidence in the Internet and the potential it held, but more that: ‘No matter what one does, regardless of failure or success, the experience is a form of success in itself.’ You have got to keep trying, and if it doesn’t work, you always can revert back to what you were doing before.”
Jack Ma states that people lose out in life because of these 4 main reasons:
1. Being myopic to opportunity
2. Looking down on opportunities
3. Lacking understanding
4. Failing to act quickly enough
Ma believes that:
“You are poor, because you have no ambition. Ambition is living a life of great ideals; a magnificent goal in life that must be realised.”
It’s hard to argue with Jack Ma’s thinking, as his success speaks for itself. And there is no doubt that determination, belief, stubbornness and having the courage to ‘act quickly enough’, are very necessary if you want to reach your goals.
But it is worth remembering that age is no barrier to success. Successful people can discover their own particular ‘awakening’ at any point in their lives.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that all would-be entrepreneurs and business owners would benefit from adopting Jack Ma’s beliefs and strategies. But don’t be despondent if you have already reached 35; success is as achievable beyond this age as it is before.
Dedicated to your future,