[cc licensed flickr photo shared by deneyterrio]

The recent Facebook IPO has brought a lot of attention to Mark Zuckerberg and his methods of building his business into a massive corporation. While Mark Zuckerberg may not be the most comfortable person in social situations, he revolutionized a big chunk of the Internet with his special brand of entrepreneurship. Here are five business lessons that we can learn from Mark Zuckerberg.

Strike While the Iron is Hot

Mark Zuckerberg attended Harvard, but he also dropped out when he saw an opportunity to take advantage of. Some experts believe that if he had waited until he finished college, he would have missed out on the window to build Facebook into the primary social networking platform in the world. When Zuckerberg realize what he had, he quit school and moved with his team out to California. He focused solely on Facebook and what it could become instead of doing it on a part-time basis. If you come across a good idea that you know you could be successful with, don’t sit around and wait on it to happen on its own. Devote yourself to the idea and make it happen.

Surround Yourself With the Right People

Regardless of what type of business you are starting, you need to surround yourself with the right people to make it work. Zuckerberg realized that he was not perfect in every regard. He knew that he wasn’t the best at interacting with other people and hired people to handle human resources and other areas of the business for him. Instead of trying to do it all by himself, he filled in the gaps where he was deficient with other people who could help him out. You need to be in control and see your vision through, but at the same time, you need to bring on people who can help.

Keep it Fresh

Even if you are able to achieve a certain amount of success with your business idea, never stop innovating and coming up with new ideas and ways to improve your business. Mark Zuckerberg is always implementing new things to Facebook and trying to make it better. Introducing the Timeline feature is a prime example of trying to change the way Facebook is used. He implemented the change after he already had hundreds of millions of users and the company was worth billions of dollars. Some people might say “don’t change what isn’t broke.” However, if you never try to improve the company, someone is going to come along and do things differently and better than you.

Think About the Long-Term

Many business owners are very shortsighted and only think about what their companies can do in the short term. If you really want your company to be successful over the long-term, you need to think about the big picture. For example, in 2006, Yahoo offered to buy Facebook for $1 billion. Zuckerberg agreed to the deal and then later backed out when they lowered the offer to $850 million. He decided to back out based on what he believed the long-term value of the company to be.

Don’t Worry About What Other People Think

If there’s one lesson that you can learn from Mark Zuckerberg, let it be that you shouldn’t worry about what other people think. Many people along the way told Mark Zuckerberg that his idea wouldn’t work or that he should give up. He didn’t worry about what other people thought and is known for wearing a hoodie to important business meetings to show that he doesn’t really care. If you have a good idea, don’t let anyone talk you out of it for any reason.

Lisa Walton is a finance manager and guest contributor at Top Business Degrees, a site with guides and information to help prospective students find schools for business degrees.


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