Personal Growth

These Are the 5 Keys to Success in Business, According to Billionaire Jeff Bezos

Success is, of course, not measured in dollar signs. Even so, taking advice on how to succeed in business from someone worth nearly $100 billion is probably a wise move. According to Jeff Bezos, the billionaire CEO of Amazon, the five tips below are game-changers when it comes to succeeding as an entrepreneur.

Do Not Settle During the Hiring Process

According to a Fast Company story, Bezos has said, "I'd rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person." While that seems extreme and exhausting as all get-out, it's a smart commitment. A company is its employees, so don't settle for people who aren't "bar raisers."

Bezos wrote in his 1998 letter to shareholders, "Setting the bar high in our approach to hiring has been, and will be, the single most important element of's success." Why else would Amazon have interview questions that include things like "How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?" and "You are Amazon, and Samsung offers you 10,000 Samsung Galaxy S3s at a 34% discount. Is that a good deal?"

Be Stubborn AND Flexible

Yes, it's possible to be both. Bezos told Fast Company, "If you're not stubborn, you'll give up on experiments too soon. And if you're not flexible, you'll pound your head against the wall and you won't see a different solution to a problem you're trying to solve."

You must be stubborn in vision, but flexible in approach. Understanding where to be stubborn and where to allow a little wiggle room may be tough, but remember to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Be Customer-Obsessed, Not Colleague-Distracted

They don't say "the customer's always right" without reason. At the end of the day, customers are what keeps the business afloat. As Bezos tells Fast Company, you can't let internal matters distract you from what will bring the most success: "There are multiple ways to be externally focused that are very successful. You can be customer-focused or competitor-focused. [...] [S]ome people are internally focused, and if they reach critical mass, they can tip the whole company."

Treat All Good, Data-Backed Ideas Fairly

The org chart shouldn't play a role in determining how good or bad an idea is. Even an intern can contribute in a huge way if their idea is backed by good data. "The great thing about fact-based decisions is that they overrule the hierarchy," Bezos tells Fast Company. "The most junior person in the company can win an argument with the most senior person with regard to a fact-based decision." On the other hand, intuition-based ideas should be left to experienced executives. Experience does count for some things, after all.

Don't Chase the Quick Bucks

You know the saying about how giving a man a fish will feed him for a day, but teaching him to fish will feed him for a lifetime? We're pretty sure that sentiment is relevant here. Chasing quick cash won't sustain you in the long-term. Focusing on the larger payoff at the end of the road could give your business more longevity. "Sometimes we measure things and see that in the short term they actually hurt sales," Bezos tells Fast Company. "But we do it anyway, because we believe that the short-term metrics probably aren't indicative of the long term."

Want more Bezos knowledge? Check out the book "Think Like Jeff Bezos: 23 Life Changing Lessons from Jeff Bezos on Life, People, Business, Technology, and Leadership" by Jamie Morris. Get the audiobook for free with a trial of Audible. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Journey of Jeff Bezos

Written by Joanie Faletto December 19, 2017

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