What makes a successful business?
How can you start and turn your business into a billion dollar empire?
Learn how Li Ka-Shing, the richest man in Hong Kong built his billion dollar empire by following this business wisdom and philosophy.
1. Start With Education
When he was young, he was lucky that he is interested in studying.
At the age of 10, he got into high school.
He worked and study at the same time, it’s a race against time to learn more.
When Li Ka-Shing started his own plastics manufacturing business in 1950,
he had already read and learnt a lot about the industry.
He would subscribe to a copy of a well-known trade magazine in U.S. called Modern Plastics to learn about the latest technology and techniques in the industry.
From there, he got to know about the technique of mixing colour with plastics to create high-quality plastic flowers.
With that knowledge, he retooled his factory and produced high-quality plastic flowers.
This impressed many buyers. Soon many large orders came in.
In a few years, his business grew to be the largest supplier of plastic flowers in Asia and made a fortune.
Always be reading. The most successful people are the ones who spends his/her time reading and learning.
2. Plan Your Future
While he was managing his plastic business,
he was spending 20 – 30% of the time in the factory and the rest of the time devising what he should do in the future.
And when he sets his sights into an industry, he would buy books and read about that industry.
This is how he expanded into other industry such as telecommunication and real estates.
3. Cash Flow Is King
In business, cash flow is the most important thing.
In an ever changing market, things could change anytime.
When you have the extra capital, you can get into another industry whenever you has to.
He shares his lesson:
In the development phase, don’t forget stability. When there’s stability, don’t forget about development. Balance is important.
4. Use Western Model For Accounting But Manage Business With Asian Values
How he tracks his business is that he always uses checks and balance to manage his cash flow.
He believes you must use a western management model for cash flow management.
Being a voracious reader, he taught himself accounting through textbooks and completed the accounting books in his company’s first year by himself.
However, in terms of internal philosophy, he shares he uses the most useful parts of the Confucian School of Thought to manage his employees and values.
As a result, he has the least turnover rates in his senior management helping him to run his business.
5. Don’t Complain
Don’t complain to wait for solutions.
You will not be able to accomplish anything by complaining.
Instead, find the solution yourself.
He mentioned in an interview: “Some people only know how to complain, hoping you will help to solve their problems. That’s not going to help. Frankly, if they are fully prepared, they can make the best suggestions.”
6. Good Organization Is Important
A good organization is very important. A good business starts from the top.
Simply speaking, If you are the commander in chief, the head of a group of armies, you can never be better with a machine gun than a machine gunner, or better than a gunner operating a cannon.
Your job is mapping out a strategy for them to perform well in their jobs.
Hence, a good organization is important.
Remember, most people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses.
7. Demand Efficiency.
Because running a business takes lots of time and teamwork. It is important that everyone is well-prepared and know what is going on in each other’s side.
“All my senior staff know I demand efficiency. Before a meeting, the other side know what’s going on and I know what they’ve done. Everybody is well prepared and no time should be wasted.”
8. Be Humble
In his company, he has an art piece of a resembling the Yangtze river. In Cantonese, it’s called Cheung Kong (長江), in which he derived his company name.
He said, using the river as an analogy, when you manage water as great as the Yangtze, you have to stay modest and attract other streams in your way.
Be modest and open to new ideas, especially in a disruptive economy.
The world always changes, even if you are doing well, doesn’t mean you should be set in your ways.
9. Give Back, Donate To Charity
When Li Ka-Shing became so wealthy, he need not worry have to provide for his family anymore.
However, he wasn’t as happy as he would expect. He spent many sleepless nights thinking how aimless and dead-end route he was heading.
He sat on a rock among the trees, thinking. Sure, having money doesn’t mean you’ll be happy. But the reality is, you can’t do anything without money.
Then he made a decision. To set up a foundation and have one-third of his asset allocated to it. It wasn’t easy to part with the money. But he said, if you find it difficult to donate, you should treat it like raising your child.
When you are successful, give back and donate to charity.
10. Lastly, Be Interested In Your Business
When Li Ka-Shing started his business, he relied on work, hard work and ability to make money.
It was his passion he felt towards work that made him a success.
He said, it’s very important to devote yourself to work. You need to be interested in your business. If you are interested in your business. You are bound to do well.
He reminded how it is important to seek improvement ceaselessly. Don’t get carried away when times are good, and don’t be too pessimistic when times are bad.
“You need to be very careful to manage the company. Also, don’t invest like gambling” he said.
Remember this Chinese saying:
Always be industrious. The virtuous welcome onerous duties.
So go on, use these lessons and integrate into your business style. You’ll find it very useful.
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