15 Business Lessons You Can Learn From Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos



Ever fantasized about building the world’s largest online retailer? How about amassing a personal wealth of over 83 billion, and being named the Time’s Person of the Year?

Well, today is your lucky day because; you can finally discover how to practically achieve from the man who has already achieved. He goes by the name Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.

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But did you know that things nearly turned very badly for Mr. Bezos. Below is a brief story of Amazon’s founder and 15 applicable lessons from his life story that can help transform your life and business toward attaining your grand vision.

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  1. Act Now!

The universe never bends by accident to anyone’s will. This is the belief that we must know the precise right action to take before doing anything – this ultimately results in “analysis paralysis” and inaction.

And here is where Bezos differentiates himself. The possibilities of taking the wrong actions and resulting consequences don’t scare him into inaction:

“If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table.”

Jeff Bezos, CEO & President of Amazon.com

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Bezos took the decisive action to ride across town to buy the domain right to Amazon when faced with the dilemma of quitting lucrative his job to go start an online venture.

In subsequent years, Bezos’ approach to action and decision making has invigorated his employees to follow his example. Which resulted in some great success for amazon like the development of one-click shopping, and others with not so good results of which Amazon auction is a good example.

According to Bezos the occasional failures are accepted:

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“We are willing to go down a bunch of dark passageways, and occasionally we find something that really works.”

This is why “bias for action” is one of Amazon’s six core values.


  1. Grow Slow

It’s still a debate, when it comes to deciding how long it should a startup to become profitable.

Taking Bezos’ Amazon for instance, it took over six years. Even with that, with revenue of over $ 1 billion only $5 million of it was actual profit. To most, this is an impossibly long time to turn in profit with too small a profit margin.

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However, things were moving according to Bezos’ incredibly slow-paced business plan. Indeed, Amazon’s investors were frustrated in the short term, but later they couldn’t help but keep smiling as the company survived the bursting of the dot-com bubble and big profits started rolling in quarter after quarter.

3. Charge Less

Contrary to how some companies always try to find ways to charge you more, you should do the opposite. Looking at all the extra fees that airlines and car dealerships tack on to the advertised price. Amazon on the other hand took a different strategy directly opposite this.

Bezos tells his employees in Amazon, to find ways to cut costs and increase efficiency. This is all aimed at charging their customers even less. Jeff Bezos, CEO & President of Amazon.com says:  “There are two kinds of companies: those that work to try to charge more and those that work to charge less. One will be second.”

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4. Never Ever Ever Stop Innovating

As human as we are, we normally fear change. Jeff Bezos on the other hand is more afraid of becoming stagnant. He holds the tendency to push the envelope has given Amazon.com a reputation as an always-evolving company.

Jeff Bezos started Amazon by simply selling books, and since inception it has never stopped expanding. Today, Amazon sells almost everything. To top it off, the company also creates its own products, offers a host of web services, and even delivers groceries to your door for Washington Residents.

“What is dangerous is not to evolve” – Jeff Bezos, CEO & President of Amazon.com

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  1. Be flexible and Stubborn

As Bezos will say, “The thing about inventing is you have to be both stubborn and flexible, more or less simultaneously.”

Although this seems to create a paradox, Bezos explains that if you are not inherently stubborn, chances are you will give up on experiments sooner than you want to. On the other hand, if you are not flexible, you will not be smart enough to find a different solution to a particular problem.

Having a good mixture of both will help you push through boundaries and come up with innovative solutions.

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  1. Be Realistic

It is okay to dream big especially about how you perceive your success. This does not mean that you should allow your imagination to run wild. It simply means you need to dream big but be realistic in your goals.

Being realistic in your business is an ideal way to ease the heavy burden of being an entrepreneur. According to Bezos, if you believe that there is a 70 percent chance that your business may fail on the first day, you take a huge burden off your shoulders. This allows you to work without the added pressure from setting unrealistic expectations.


  1.  Be Imitate

Being unique is good and it is something most people aim for. It also good, even better, to improve on something has been proven to work.

This comes in handy when you are learning from your competitors. You watch what works for them and make improvements on that. This is a great way to save yourself some time and money.

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  1. Work Backwards

One way to guarantee that your product will sell is to first figure out what customers really want, and sell it to them. This is basically the strategy that Amazon adopted when it released its Kindle e-book reader.

They realized that many people were buying e-books from them but most were not sure where to read them. This is what pushed Amazon to create the Kindle. They saw the need and worked backwards to address it.


  1. Encourage Word of Mouth

At the time Bezos started Amazon he did it without a marketing budget. This meant that the only way his company would succeed was if spread well by word of mouth. Jeff Bezos said:

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“If you build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”

Word of mouth is so powerful that it is a top rated way of making your business grow. Therefore to aim to deliver services or products that are worth talking about. Part of this means you provide excellent customer service

10. There is Nothing More Important than the Customer

Since we have established how important word of mouth is, now let’s discuss the medium responsible for word of mouth – the customer. We all know the customer is always right and Bezos and Amazon have taken the customer-first philosophy to the extreme.

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For him, customer satisfaction isn’t just everything, it’s the only thing. Jeff Bezos says: “The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be earth’s most customer-centric company.”

His position as CEO makes sure customer service is Amazon’s biggest competitive advantage:

“If there’s one reason we have done better than of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience.

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11.Minimize Regret

Back in day, before he quit his day job, Bezos found out he didn’t have the analytical framework necessary to make an effective decision. When faced with the dilemma of quitting his day job. To address this he invented one for himself:

“The framework I found which made the decision incredibly easy was what I called – which only a nerd would call – a ‘regret minimization framework’. So I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, ‘Okay, now I’m looking back on my life. I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have.’”

Jeff Bezos, CEO & President of Amazon.com

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Looking at the big picture suddenly made the right decision to take very obvious. At 80 he would have found another good job and cannot regret losing his current job then. However, he would never stop picking at himself for not pursuing and taking his share of the online gold when the time to so was ripe. At the time the growth rate of the internet was 2300% per year.

“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

Give the “regret minimization framework” of Bezos a try. Just might inspire you to take the action that could change your life for the better.

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12. Don’t worry if you are misunderstood

When you have a business idea that is going to change the world like Jeff Bezos did in 1994, there’s bound to be people who won’t just get it. The more revolutionary your thinking, the more you’re to be misunderstood.

Bezos had a thick skin when it came to this kind of thing:

“We’re very comfortable being misunderstood. We’ve had lots of practice.”

Jeff Bezos, CEO & President of Amazon.com

Amazon never run away from good ideas just because some customers won’t like it. Quite the opposite, they’ve had a lot of skeptics. But they were confident in their vision. In the end, they converted the skeptics into believers.

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  1. Be Selective about People

First of all, it’s not wrong to be selective. You’re not picky, you just want the best. High hiring bar is one of the core values of Amazon. This means they only employ a new employee if he or she is the perfect fit.

“I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.”

Jeff Bezos, CEO & President of Amazon.com

Bezos is careful about who he hires because he noticed that great company culture flows almost naturally from people who you bring on the team. Amazon employs about 56,000 of the world’s brightest and best people as of April 2012.

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  1. Be a Visionary

Bezos saw that “a lot of people believe that you should live for the now.” But according to him, “I’m just not one of them.”

He suggests that people “think about the great expanse of time ahead of you and try to make sure that you’re planning for that in a way that’s going to leave you ultimately satisfied.”


The importance of long-term business

Amazon is a type of company that will sacrifice great profits today in hopes of gaining bigger profits years from now. Bezos said that “sometimes we measure things and see that in the short term they actually hurt sales, and we do it anyway.”

Here’s his thought:

“Every time the math tells you that you shouldn’t lower prices because you’re going to make less money. That’s undoubtedly true in the current quarter, in the current year. But it’s probably not true over a 10-year period, when the benefit is going to increase the frequency with which your customers shop with you, the fraction of their purchases they do with you as opposed to other places. Their overall satisfaction is going to go up.”

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15. Make History

“I’m not near the end of the story.”

Jeff Bezos, CEO & President of Amazon.com

To us, it may seem that Bezos has already reached the top of entrepreneurial achievement. But in his mind he has extreme miles to go. He has already said he hasn’t built “ a lasting company” and that “the internet in general and Amazon.com in particular, is still in Chapter One”

Bezos is definitely out to make history. And if you want to have similar success, you’ll have to adopt his “go big or go home” mindset.  Here’s his last words

“Work hard, have fun and make history”

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