Everybody wants to reach the billionaire status. It has kinda become a thing of this era. You hear it in music, you see people setting goals so they can reach that level; however, many few can build like a billionaire.
Setting out to be a billionaire is far different than actually getting there. You could be the smartest guy or gal on the planet and still never reach extraordinary success. You could be the next level genius and still die penniless. You know why? Because billionaires and those who reach anywhere near that status think a little differently.
In this post, we are going to look into how we can think like a billionaire and then build like a billionaire so we have enough to pass down to our children when we die while still maintaining extraordinary financial security till we die.
1. Understand business acumen
Do you know the number 3327? That’s the hotel room number where Tesla died in his 80’s. He was frail, out of shape, and penniless. Although he lived rent-free he died with nothing in his pockets.
It’s not because he wasn’t smart enough, he was the smartest of all; it’s because he didn’t have the business acumen to build like a billionaire. He could have been a billionaire. He could have been one of the world’s very first billionaires but he didn’t.
Just to refresh our memories, Tesla walked away from his royalties that were worth around 12 million dollars just for compassion.
While compassion is a great trait to have, imagine the things he could have been able to do with that money. At that precise moment, when he tore up his contract and walked away from that money, he didn’t think far ahead to understand the value of that money or how it could translate to his success in the future.
Don’t make the same mistakes as Tesla. Understand what business acumen is and how to develop a mindset so you build like a billionaire.
What is business acumen?
Business acumen is the ability to quickly understand a business situation so you can make a wise decision resulting in a profitable outcome.
Now let’s take Tesla’s example here to understand it better.
When Goerge Westinghouse’s company went into over millions of dollars in debt, he asked Tesla if his royalties could be reduced to save the company. Tesla then decided to let go of all royalties for a friend who had trusted in him.
Instead of relinquishing all royalties, Tesla should have agreed to reduce them and continue working with Westinghours instead of working independently on his laboratories. If he hadn’t torn that contract, we could have known Tesla as one of the world’s first billionaires.
Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk know how to build like a billionaire. They understand that just having ideas or implementing those ideas is not enough.
How to develop business acumen?
If you don’t think you already have it, don’t worry; it is something you can build over time. Billionaires aren’t made overnight, so be patient and go step by step.
A) Look at things carefully
An entrepreneur will look straw by straw to find the needle while the businessman would burn the hay to get to the needle fast. No approach is wrong; you just need to understand whether you need to burn the hay or look straw by straw. Every situation is unique and hence requires its strategy.
B) Pay attention to current events
As a businessman, you need to pay close attention to current events. What technologies are thriving and what is becoming obsolete; what new markets you can explore or take your business to; what new customer demographic you can extend to, etc.
When you are up-to-date about current trends and events, you can stay abreast of new developments that you can use for your business.
C) Talk less, listen more
Attend business events and listen to other entrepreneurs. Observe their successes and their failures so you can learn your lesson from their experience.
If their experiences can save you time and money then it’s worth it. Never take business events for granted. It’s your opportunity to talk to and listen to like-minded people. You’d be surprised how you can find solutions for your own business by listening to others.
With experience and observation, over time you will acquire the necessary business acumen to build like a billionaire. Just start and keep going.
D) Avoid making emotional decisions
Another important thing that billionaires understand is to think and make decisions with their brain and not their hearts. Compassion and empathy are great traits to have, but you need to take care of yourself before you can help anybody else.
In a turbulent situation, you are advised to put on your oxygen mask first before you can help somebody else. Because you can’t help anybody else if you are drowning yourself.
How to detach emotions from decision making?
A) Try to create a win-win situation
You don’t have to completely detach emotion from decision making. Some decisions would require emotion. But not all. So one simple rule to remember is: create a win-win situation.
With every decision, think about both parties: you and the other party. Emotions are okay as long as you don’t end up benefiting the other party more than you benefit yourself. If you create a win-win situation for both parties, you will less likely feel guilt afterward.
Always take time with decision making. It is quite possible that you would be emotionally drawn into a situation that would lead to an emotional decision. So, take time to mull it over so you can separate emotion from the decision. Let your mind process the long-term outcome of the decision to see what’s best in the present moment.
B) When you go to work, leave your ego at the doorstep.
Tesla would have been able to help both himself and Westinghouse if he had decided to just reduce the royalties and continue his work with Westinghouse’s company. But Tesla wanted to set up his own company.
While it’s great to have your ship, sometimes it’s okay to ride with others if the future return is greater. You alone can’t do what 12 men can do together. So, learn to work with people who are either better or share the same mindset with you. You will accomplish more together. However, here again, you need to use your business acumen skills to make sure that the partner you choose is worthy of your time and commitment.
How to know if you have an ego?
Before we get into the signs of being ego-maniac, understand what it means to be egotistical.
An ego-maniac is a person with an exaggerated sense of self-importance to such an extent that he or she ignores others and their feelings and needs.
Egomaniacs usually think highly of themselves and consider others as beneath them. This is not to be confused with being confident. When you are confident in your views and ideas, you don’t necessarily put other people’s views and ideas down. You respectfully listen to everybody while forging your ideas.
Here are the signs that may indicate an egoistic personality:
A) You are always complaining.
If you find yourself always criticizing others or complaining about things around you, that’s a sure-fire sign that you have an ego issue.
B) You interrupt others
If you constantly interrupt others, it means you think what you have to say is more important. This is another clear sign of being a slave to your ego.
C) You hate losing
Winning and losing is a part of life, which most people accept. If you are egoistic, you may have a hard time accepting the loss. And you may even try to cheat or employ unnecessary means to win.
D) You don’t like taking the blame
Egotistical people have a hard time with accepting mistakes. If you feel like you are trying to remove yourself from a mistake, you could have an egotistical personality.
Additionally, you may also love taking credit for other people’s success.
E) You have a sense of entitlement
Egotistical people often do not feel grateful for others’ help as they think they were entitled to it. Most egotistical people have a sense of superiority that wouldn’t allow them to see others as their equal.
What to do to stop being egoistic?
Being egoistic can seriously harm you and your business in the long run. People around you will eventually care less about you and your ideas. Because no one likes to work with a self-centered individual who can’t get off his high horse. So, if you think you are egoistic, there’s always something you can do about it.
1) Look at others as if you are looking in the mirror
Check in with yourself and remind yourself that you are not better than anybody else. There will always be someone better than you. Just like you, other people go through bad times too. See them as you would see yourself, and you will treat them as you would want yourself to be treated.
2) Learn to be polite and grateful
Be grateful for everything; every little and big thing. Be grateful for people around you regardless of how big or small stuff they do for you. When you have a sense of gratitude, you naturally act calm, cool, and collected towards others.
3) Let go of the superiority complex
We live in a fast-paced, highly complex world where being individualistic is key to success. However, you should remember that being individualistic does not mean that you can’t work with others.
You can work in someone else’s company and still make a name for yourself. If all of us quit our jobs to start our own companies, no one will succeed. So let go of the obsession that you need to be the founder or CEO of a company. There are many more ways to live a fulfilling life than becoming a CEO.
In Tesla’s case, he didn’t get anything out of becoming a CEO of his own companies, he gained more by working with Westinghouse.
4) Look far, think deep
Entrepreneurs who succeed to build massive networth for themselves can look very far in the future. Take Elon Musk’s example. He has looked far enough to understand that we would need to have control over AI and that we need to have another planet that we can call home for times when that may challenge our survival on this planet.
He could just sell electric cars and be done with it, but that’s not how his mind is geared. He has to think and do better, better than he did yesterday. The same goes for every genius you’d come across. They have this amazing ability to look very far and then think deeply about the solutions.
How to look far ahead
One of the key components of being visionary is to look far ahead. Entrepreneurs who build like billionaires are also visionaries, which allows them to see the future and prepare accordingly.
Now certain things in life are just inevitable; nothing you can do about them. However, there’s a lot that you can foresee and prepare. To look far ahead for your business, simply observe the current state and the market conditions.
Notice the trends and how quickly they are shifting. If you can monitor the trends closely enough, you can foresee how the shifts may impact your business. For example, to see how coronavirus has changed the way businesses conduct themselves, you have to plan a business model that works in a pandemic regardless of its nature.
How to think deep
Looking far enough is not enough; you have to think things through for the future. When it comes to planning for the future, spare no details. Go as deep as you possibly can because most businesses fail because they missed small details not because they missed the big picture.
Here again, let’s take the example of coronavirus. While creating a business plan for a pandemic, list down every little thing that could impact your business during a pandemic like a coronavirus.
3. Learn to find solutions
Tesla may have lacked business acumen, but he knew how to find solutions. In a lot of ways, Elon Musk could be compared to Tesla with the exception that Elon seems to have all the ingredients for a successful entrepreneur.
Tesla and many others like him were focused on finding solutions to the problem rather than creating products that would do little to improve society.
Tesla had over 300 patents in his name, but unfortunately, a lot of his inventions did not see the light of the day. Almost all of Tesla’s inventions were geared towards bringing a significant change in society.
He created the alternative current method to transmit electricity over long distances, created the Tes coil, Magnifying transmitter for creating wireless power, Tesla Turbine, (a piston engine that powered automobiles through combustion), the shadowgraph (the modern X-ray), Radio (Tesla was working on the design of the modern radio but the patent for the radio was awarded to a British inventor), Neon lamp (the modern-day neon signs are a creation of Tesla), Hydroelectric power (Tesla’s alternating current technology was a source of electricity to the masses), Induction motor (Tesla’s induction motor powers everyday household items including vacuums and hardware tools), and radio-controlled boat (modern-day drones are based on Tesla’s radio-controlled boat technology).
Look at each invention individually and see how it was designed to solve a problem. If you want to build like a billionaire you have got to start thinking about the problems faced by the masses and the solutions to those problems.
How to find solutions?
While it’s easy to find problems, solutions are a hard nut to crack. Not everybody can build solutions that are viable for the masses. This is why not everyone can become a billionaire.
There’s only one way to find solutions and that is to try, and try again. But the problem is most people like Tesla run into people like Edison. There will be always someone who would go to the extent to ridicule your efforts to pursue their own goals in the same field, which makes finding solutions even harder.
So what do you do? You keep trying even if one day you burn down your lab and a lot of work with it. Because your hard work will pay off. Maybe not today, but someday. Just look at the things around you that are possible due to Tesla’s inventions.
Elon uses Aristotle’s first principles of thinking to solve problems and configure solutions. Learn more about his mindset and work behind his companies here.
The bottom line
Establishing and maintaining a business is a complicated process that requires years of hard work. If you want to build like a billionaire, make sure that you have the right skills and understanding to survive.
If you don’t you may just end up in a hotel room feeding the pigeons outside. Start thinking like a billionaire so you can build like one and pass it on to your future generations.