12:17 AM

What does it take to win in business?

Many will say inspiration or luck or simply money and access. But I would argue that we often overlook the personal behaviors that stoke success. These are the small steps you can take every day to move yourself forward in business.

     1.               Develop win-win relationships. The rise of the Internet has served to shrink the size of the world. It has made the importance of trust in business even greater than before. Earning the trust of your clients and trading partners has now become an absolute condition for success in business. In order to develop relationships of trust you must consolidate conflicting interests – something that goes against all logic. In other words, you must foster win-win relationships. This means making sure that even your trading partners profit from your transactions.

    2.      Understand precisely the risks you face. Risk is a word that is almost always partnered with avoidance. Sometimes it seems the entire world is avoiding risk. But the one thing to keep in mind is that behind things that the entire world avoids is often hiding a business opportunity. To be successful, one must risk. But risk is not the same as gambling. To face risk, one must carefully understand its true nature. When we began Rakuten, we took a risk – the risk was that the Internet would not expand as rapidly as we expected. To guard against this risk, we kept our initial scale low. We did not just take a risk – we worked to fully understand the size and type of risk we faced and then developed a plan to deal with it even in the worst-case scenario.

3. As a fundamental rule, move swiftly. In my experience, all of the really excellent 
business people I have met in my life shared the ability to act quickly. I cannot think of a 
single exception. The speed at which they made decisions was quick. The speed at 
which they implemented decisions was quick. They even walked quickly. As a basic 
principle, be quick to act.

Many will fail to achieve their business goals because they are waiting for some kind of outside action to occur – a change in technology or governance or consumer taste that will somehow propel them forward. But the truly successful do not wait for outside influences. They look to their own actions, every day, to create their own personal wins.

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