Every entrepreneur looks up to a billionaire, whether they admit it or not. If it’s not Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, it’s Mark Cuban or Sara Blakely. Then again, it may just be Mark Zuckerberg or Evan Spiegel. In any case, most of us wonder how exactly they got there, and what we can do to get there, too.
Is it a dream? A fantasy? A game of luck, chance or fate? Surely, the 2000+ individuals who’ve reached this level have left some clues that we as aspiring billionaires can follow in order to achieve the same wonder.
They have: it’s called business. But obviously, they were in the right business at the right time. Most likely, we can’t just replicate their steps and achieve what they did. This rings especially true for the one-of-a-kind businesses like Walmart, Amazon and Apple. Nevertheless, there is hope in the form of some brainstorming and basic level research.
Let’s take a look at just how practical it is to become a billionaire:
The money is in the data. I don’t know if that’s a saying, but I’m making it one. The more you know about a certain product, business model and customer, the easier it will be to make sales and succeed as a business owner.
Fortunately, there are many industry research companies out there who study and analyze the market for us. If we desire, we can purchase deeper insights into a specific field we may want to explore, which is well worth it if it can give us better information to work with (instead of a hunch we might have, or a natural inclination toward one particular industry).
Industry reports, can tell us how large any target market is. Whether you want to launch a barbershop or a water park, there is data available for you to access and truly understand what direction you want to go in, especially if you want to earn those billions.
Ibis World, as one example, can quickly tell you just how many millions, billions or even trillions of dollars a market is worth. Car rentals, for instance, are a $40B industry. That’s right: 40 billion. Did you know it was that big? Maybe, maybe not. But the important thing is, now you know. If you wanted to become a billionaire, that is now an option, right?
Well, there’s more to it than that. While market size is important, it’s equally important to take into consideration factors like location and competition. If you are only located in one city, there’s no chance you can serve the entire country. Further, if there are car rental spots on every corner, that makes your chances of making billions even less likely than before. Luckily, this information is either a) also available to us, or b) easily attainable, most of the time.
Yes, it may be true that hair and nail salons are a $49 billion-dollar industry, but it’s also true that there are more than 1,000,000 of these salons out there. In other words, you’re going to have to share that pie so frequently, that you’ll walk away with very little to show for it. Not a billion dollar business, I’m afraid. Razor blade manufacturers, however? While they’re only a $3 billion-dollar market, there is but a handful of them out there. A MUCH better chance of making your mark in that category.
Run the numbers. Don’t have them sneak up on you after it’s too late to do anything about it.
Naturally, most companies don’t want their revenue and profit numbers available to the general public. It creates a lot of unnecessary scrutiny, bureaucracy, and most importantly, competition. For these reasons many stay private about their financials. Public companies, however, claim no such luxury.
Any company on the stock exchange must, by law, reveal its revenues, profits and losses on a quarterly basis. And there are enough companies listed on there to gain a solid understanding as to what business models, strategies and industries are the most ideal ones to pursue — especially if we want to earn the big dollars.
If we do enough digging, we can come up with some interesting findings:
As oversimplified as this data is, it can give us enough insight to understand where the best use of our time and effort may be. It can also let us know what is possible, and which companies have gone before us to achieve such exemplary status. And yes, it will take years to even get close to these numbers, but at the very least it will be a constant reminder that it can be done, and there is no reason you can’t achieve it also.
Basic Human Needs
I’ve read it once before: impact millions to make millions. In other words, if you meet the needs of many people, many will pay you for it. It’s simple math. By that logic, if we impact billions, we can make billions, too.
With over 8 billion people in the world, the most common needs they share are:
Any leader in said categories will stand to generate billions by default. Can these products and services reach the four corners of the earth? If so, then it’s almost a surety over time (granted you don’t run out of cash or make any severe mistakes along the way).
Future Human Desires
OK. If addressing the basic needs of humanity is too much of a red ocean for you, there is also the possibility of meeting the needs humans will have 5, 10 or 15 years from now. But, you might argue, how would one know what the future desires of humans are?
While not precise nor guaranteed, a good way to estimate future needs is to merely keep two things in mind: efficiency and convenience. For example, the following progression seems almost inevitable:
- Self-driving, electric cars
- Drone deliveries
- Virtual reality
- Global citizenship
- Climate change
- Drug legalization
- Prosthetic organs
- DNA editing
- Sentient AI
Can you build a business or invention around any of these emerging trends? The earlier you are, the easier it is to take a larger piece of the market. If none of the aforementioned strategies seem to resonate with you, this should be the last one that can. It is the one with the greatest risk, of course, but also the one with the greatest reward: billions of dollars for a lot less work and competition. Fortune does favor the bold.
A billion dollars is an arbitrary marker of success. It does not really make any difference whether you are worth $100 billion, or $25 million. After a certain point, it becomes a game. And while you may have a greater pool of options in terms of certain contacts and contracts when you earn the billionaire status, the true reason to make it a goal to attain is the fact that even if you fall short, you will be in far better position than if you had aimed relatively low and succeeded — a fear I have on the regular.