Jack Ma’s tips for success in business

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.

Categories: Asia Unhedged


  • Richard Cattermoul

    Dear Jack Ma

    The article begins: ‘Jack Ma, e-commerce giant Alibaba’s billionaire founder, …… written as if you were already an extremely wealthy individual who then chose to set up an internet based business that became successful. Perhaps you were.

    I tend to think that the real skills lie with the calibre of the software engineers, web designers and artists who plan, design and create the look and the feel of the website, for how many online dating websites for example, have fallen by the wayside because their presentation did not quite fill the bill, even though they had the same objectives as the ones that have been successful.

    May I ask you Sir, what makes Alibaba different to say, Amazon? You have selected products from Gold Suppliers Selected products from Vietnam, Source from China’s Apparel Industry Hubs… etc

    Looking at your website, I would ask myself – where are Jack Ma’s fingerprints on it, did he take responsibility for the design, look and feel of the web pages, or did he leave that to other people, did he personally ensure that all the words are spelt correctly and the grammar is correct, and the look and presentation of the web pages is what he set out to achieve?

    Of course, the web pages are no more than the windows into which the buying public can see what is on offer, but for you to write in the article that ‘selling goods is happiness’, or that ‘be devoted and passionate about what you are doing’ I would ask the question: ‘What exactly is it that you do do?

    Making a profit is the ultimate objective, and you achieve this by persuading people to part with their money, but in order to achieve this, a whole different set of skills is required, but you say nothing about any of this in the article. Much is surely centred around the computer programs that ensure good software communication between the product manufacturers and your website, and getting this right is probably one of the biggest challenges that has to be confronted and overcome.

    In recent years, I have been taking note of China’s meteoric rise in economic power, and one of my dreams is to bring solar panels to Ghana. Ghana suffers from poor roads and intermittent electricity that goes off all the time, and it would be very beneficial to the country as a whole to have entire communities powdered by having thousands of solar panels laid in fields, and the electricity generated by them stored in huge capacitors that could be fed to towns and villages whenever the electrical grid fails, which is frequent and often.

    Ghana is a hot country that gets plenty of sunlight during the daytime, which makes it an excellent candidate for solar panels. Recently I wrote to Yingli Solar Energy, a Chinese company that specialises is supplying solar panels across the globe, but they never wrote back. And neither did the London based Ghanaian Embassy when I wrote to them. It seems no one is interested.

    Suppose, just suppose, you woke up tomorrow and decided that your next goal in life would be to bring solar panels to Ghana on a grand scale, how would you go about it? Is it worthwhile? Yes! Would it revolutionise the lives of the people of Ghana, give them regular, reliable electricity? Yes!

    What are the challenges? From the point of view of someone who has a degree in physics, has been a software engineer all his working life, has written a book that reveals that the purpose of life is personal evolution through living the same life over and over again, where death is a somewhat ethereal stepping stone that connects these lives, but with the rather miraculous capability to do something fractionally different each time, who has represented his country in world university judo, who plays guitar and piano, and who likes living amongst poorer people because he can enrich their lives,,…

    From this point of view, it’s simply a matter of getting the right people together – representatives of the Ghanaian Government, solar panel experts and manufacturers, the right financial institutions, but more importantly, the political will to want to achieve it, and here I appear to come up against a brick wall.

    An actual physical barrier would be getting the solar panels to their destinations because the roads are crap and incomplete, but this would be an incentive to the Government to repair them and be fit for use.

    The final paragraph of your article says it all, it’s finding a better life, becoming your better self. I have the passion and the enthusiasm, you have the money and the wherewithal. You are also Chinese, I am the new consciousness.

  • kongjie

    One cannot simply copy any model for one’s use. One has to study in depth to explore its suitability. That is one bite at a time and not a whole dinner without preparing for it. It’s good to learn the Chinese chess game. “Go” for start.

  • Richard Cattermoul

    Thank you for your comment, but I am not quite sure what your point is. Jack Ma has been very successful in achieving a complex objective that involves any number of scientific, artistic, financial, economic and political components.

    I was merely asking him for any advice on how I might go about achieving my ambition which is also far reaching and expansive. Thus, I am not about to copy any model, for one thing I have little idea that nature of the model on which his business is based.

    I am therefore hoping he has actually read this article, but if not, perhaps atimes could alert him to my comments.You never know, he might be quite enthralled by the idea.