Thu, 18 Aug 1994

Success in business

I believe if we are to succeed in life we must be endowed with a good measure of "good luck". Many rich and successful Indonesian business people, who are affluent even according to international standards, do not possess the two basic requirements for business, namely substantial working capital and thorough knowledge of their line of business.

Most of today's successful business people started from "scratch" and as to their professional knowledge and business acumen, a Dutch saying states, Al doende leert men or we learn while we practice. However, good luck alone is not enough.

I think that successful business people are endowed with an uncanny ability to find and employ other professional people. It is said that an efficient employee is a company's invaluable asset. The owners can make their capable managers feel at home or make them feel as if they are a member of a large family. I remember a colleague who said to me, "I want to quit, because I feel as if I am exploited by this company."

Successful business people always find or select the right people who will work for them for a lifetime. They are loyal, diligent and honest people. They do not forget their difficult past, so they can appreciate the work of their hardworking subordinates.

A businessman told me, "When I was a school boy, I lived in a remote village and cycled 10 kilometers to school on a ramshackle bike. In the dry season, it was OK, but in the rainy season, when the dirt road became a hopeless muddy mess, the bike rode on me. I had to carry the bike on my shoulders."

Successful business people also have the mysterious ability, farsightedness and intuition to do get involved in businesses that will give them the most substantial profit later on. I know a businessman who bought a large tract of land nobody wanted for a song, a few hundred rupiah per square meter. Recently, a toll road has been constructed in the neighborhood and consequently the previous unwanted land became coveted real estate. The price of land went up drastically and the businessman in question suddenly became a few billion rupiah richer.