Want to be a successful entrepreneur in these hard times? Jack Ma, e-commerce giant Alibaba’s billionaire founder, has some useful tips for you. He jotted them after being inspired by some people he met during his travels.

Jack Ma says entrepreneurs should be grateful to customers
Jack Ma says entrepreneurs should be grateful to their customers

Never think of becoming rich overnight. Running a business successfully is not easy as some may brag. It involves lot of risks, pain, time and energy. One needs devotion and passion in running it.

Opening a Taobao store is no different. In fact, not many store owners have survived the entire 13 years of Taobao’s existence, he says.

It was difficult to open a store in the early days. Online shoppers were rare, delivery was inefficient and payment was challenging. No wonder, the idea of doing business online was considered absurd.

Many who just wanted to make a fast buck soon closed their stores. But others who enjoyed running them and talking with customers succeeded. Many of them, who started from one employee, are now managing hundreds of employees, says Jack Ma. So what makes a business tick?

First, be devoted and passionate about what you are doing. Have a heart for your own products and services. Make them unique. If you receive good response from customers, express your gratitude. Focus on those who are interested in your products and services.

Second, be clear on what you want to do and how to do it. Try to be different. Enjoy the work. Create and explore values the customers may wish to share. Finding a customer who likes your products is as valuable as finding a soul mate.

Third, find ways to improve your products and services. Listen to your customers and employees. They may have a great idea to tell. Also learn from your mistakes.

Selling goods is happiness. It is about creating a lifestyle shared among customers via the shopping experience. Use creativity to upgrade your services.

China’s king of e-commerce concludes his notes by raising business to a moral plane. He says what one needs to learn is not how to do business, but how to find a new way of life. You are not managing a business, you are becoming your better self.

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