We all like to hear inspiring and uplifting stories, especially when we are facing tough economic times. For that reason, we would like to present to you the “Talent of the Month” feature. Once a month, we will share with you a brief biography of a successful person. These are people who have found success in the midst of tough times, and we hope these stories will inspire and motivate you.
We all are very familiar with IKEA and own at least a piece of furniture from this world-famous brand. IKEA is a top home furniture retailer, with over 90,000 employees working in its 200-plus stores, and annual revenues in excess of US$10 billion. So, our “Talent of the Month” this time is the IKEA owner, Ingvar Kamprad. He is listed in FORBES as the fourth richest person in the world, with a net worth of US$28 billion. But do you know that he had a humble beginning?
As a young boy, from his bicycle, he began selling matches to neighbors. Later, he discovered that by buying matches in bulk, he could get them cheaply and sell them individually at a low price, and still make a good profit. From matches, he expanded to selling other things such as Christmas tree decorations, seeds and pencils.
The breakthrough came when he was 17. His father gave him a cash reward to continue his studies, but instead, he used it to establish IKEA. Today, this seventy-nine-year old self-made billionaire still practices modesty; he avoids wearing suits and prefers to fly economy class.
There are a few lessons that we can learn from him, by looking at some of his famous quotes:
Lesson #1: The Best Leadership is by Example
“If there is such a thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example,” “I have to do so for all the Ikea employees.”
“How can I ask people who work for me to travel cheaply if I am traveling in luxury? It’s a question of good leadership.”
Lesson #2: Time is your Best Asset
“Time is your most important resource,” “You can do so much in ten minutes. Ten minutes, once gone, are gone for good.”
Lesson #3: Mistakes are a Must on the Road to Success
“Only those who are asleep make no mistakes,” “There are few people who have made so many fiascos in my life as I have.”
And, last but not least:
“The word impossible has been and must remain deleted from our dictionary,” because when others said it couldn’t be done, Ingvar Kamprad went and did it.