Asked by Fortune magazine to name the 12 greatest entrepreneurs of this generation, contributing writer John A. Byrne had his work cut out for him, that’s for sure. After all, there are thousands of candidates to choose from, right? But choose them he does, and he does it well.
“Admittedly,” he writes in his post for CNNMoney, “this list of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs is subjective.” However, they all share one key thing in common. They have all transformed the face of business or society in very profound ways, each one creating a “nucleus of a thriving ecosystem that has cultivated and nurtured dozens if not hundreds of other enterprises.”
In addition to providing a brief overview of each entrepreneur and his company—some well-known and some less so—Byrne shares each one’s most instructive advice when it comes to starting and running a successful business. Taken as a whole, these words of wisdom get any business owner thinking and read like the table of contents for what could well be the savvy entrepreneur’s handbook…
1. Steve Jobs, Apple—Say no to focus groups and market research.
2. Bill Gates, Microsoft—Find very smart people and create small teams.
3. Fred Smith, FedEx—Rely on “first-level” managers.
4. Jeff Bezos, Amazon—Take regular mini-retreats.
5. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google—Spare no expense on innovation.
6. Howard Schultz, Starbucks—Always challenge the old ways.
7. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook—Embrace paranoia.
8. John Mackey, Whole Foods—Purpose inspires people.
9. Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines—Make your employees No. 1.
10. Narayana Murthy, Infosys—Sacrifice today, cash in tomorrow.
11. Sam Walton, Wal-Mart Stores—Give the people what they want.
12. Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank—Small gifts can equal big impacts.
To read Byrne’s complete list and learn more about these inspiring entrepreneurs, their companies and their advice regarding business success, Google “The 12 Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time” now!