Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos knows what it takes to be a successful businessman.
Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 as an online book store. From there, the business expanded to the empire it is today. Bezos, Forbes’ richest person in the world, was asked at the Re: MARS conference Thursday in Las Vegas what advice he would give to those who were considering starting their own business.
“If you want to be an entrepreneur, the most important thing is to be customer obsessed,” Bezos told the crowd. “Don’t satisfy your customers, figure out to how to absolutely delight them. That is the number one thing. Whoever your customers are.”
The second thing a potential entrepreneur needs is passion, Bezos said.
“You have got to have some passion for the arena you’re going to develop and work in,” the CEO said. “Otherwise, you’re going to be competing against people who do have passion for that and they’re going to build better products and services.”
Bezos also said an entrepreneur should be a missionary, not a mercenary. Missionaries “always end up making more money” and build better products.
“They always win,” Bezos said.
Next, the Amazon founder said an entrepreneur should be willing to take risks no matter the outcome.
“You have to take risks,” he said. “You have to be willing to take risks. If you aren’t going to take risks. If you come up with a business idea and there’s no risk there, it’s probably already being done.”
The billionaire said it was possible the risk may not work but that’s OK. He said Amazon always gambled.
“You have to accept that your business is going to be in many ways an experiment and it might fail and that’s OK,” Bezos said. “That’s what risk is. The good news is that Amazon we still take risks all the time. We encourage it. We talk about failure. We should be failing.”
Bezos said failures only made the company grow.
“We need to have like billion dollar scale failure and if we’re not then we’re not swinging hard enough,” he said.
During his appearance at the conference, Bezos reiterated the phrase he liked to tell his team when they didn’t agree with something he felt strongly about.
“You don’t say ‘I’m right on this, go do this,’ you say ‘I want you to gamble with me on this,’” he said.
Also during the discussion, Bezos encountered a protester who ran onto the stage. The protester, identified as Priya Sawhney, 30, of Berkeley, Calif., was objecting to conditions at a California poultry farm that supplies Amazon, District Action Everywhere spokesman Matt Johnson said.
Fox Business’ Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.