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Business Tip: From a Man Who Sells Everything and How Clubs Can Learn from Entrepreneurship by Recog

Print media “Foreign Affairs” issued an interview with no other than Jeff Bezos in their January 2015 edition. Jeff Bezos has always been a tinkerer and after graduating summa cum laude from Princeton in 1986 with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science, he went to work on Wall Street. Quitting finance in 1994 and trying his luck in entrepreneurship by starting selling books via, the company has since grown to a retail giant. I myself am ordering everything from household necessities to supplements, from electronics to books and office goods. Gideon Rose sat down with the entrepreneur and asked some of the most fundamental questions from what are crucial qualities that makes a successful entrepreneur.

Bezos started out as the little guy, becoming the big guy, dominating everything that is sellable. Bezos describes it as “good luck and good timing” with a lot of things having gone right. That most certainly happened in Amazon’s case. Bezos noted that one can’t just sit down and write a business plan, saying that you are going to build a multibillion dollar corporation, but a good entrepreneur has a business idea that he or she believes, he/she can make work at a much more reasonable scale and then proceed adaptively from there, depending on what happens.

It is one step at a time and by finding out what customers want. Bezos noted that they realized after querying their customer base in 1998 that they could sell a very wide selection of things using the methods that they had pioneered. It was an impetus for the company to create a culture that supports a willingness to experiment and a willingness to fail. For Bezos, it was very helpful to have a customer – obsessed culture. A customer culture that actually enjoys and is excited by experimentation, a culture that rewards experimentation, even embraces it. Bezos calls this the most important long-term ingredient to be a successful entrepreneur.

Pursuing a long-term vision is a key part of any successful private club today and it is ok to take risks. Having a board of governors, a membership or an owner that embraces an entrepreneurial approach by creating a culture that breeds success, should start looking at its members as customers rather than as "owners." We, in the club industry, need more of a culture that breathes entrepreneurialism. I think that it will be great for business.

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