Successful business owners aren’t just lucky. It typically takes a lot of hard work and knowledge to get to the top. If you want to become a leader in the business world, follow these five tips from three of the nation’s most successful business owners.

1. You Have to Try

Few people have ever achieved any significant success without putting forth a lot of effort. The bottom line is that you have to try something to get anything done. Whether your goal is to help stray animals in your area, lose weight, write a novel or build a rewarding career, you won’t get it done without trying.

Many people don’t really try hard enough because they’re afraid to fail. But this isn’t something that should hold you back. Here is what Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos had to say about starting up his company:

“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”

We agree with Jeff Bezos. Of course, we do our best to make it easier for you to succeed, but you definitely have to put forth an effort to turn your dreams into reality.


2. You Have to Keep Going

Big goals can only be achieved by persevering. We know that you’re inevitably going to run into obstacles. It’s just a matter of time. But whether you’re having a hard time finding an internship or find yourself struggling with your current course load, you have to keep going in order to reach your goals.

Of course, not all obstacles are career related. But whatever it is that is holding you back, we recommend you follow Steve Job’s advice:

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

On a more practical note, you may want to plan ahead for the times when it seems too difficult to continue. We find that it helps when you have someone to talk to, such as a professional mentor or one of our alumni students.

3. Find Good Teachers

Most successful people do not reach their goals overnight. In addition to trying hard and persevering, successful business leaders often seek out someone to look up to. In order to excel at something, you need to find good teachers. If you want to become a successful business leader, you need someone to look up to in school and in life.

Surrounding yourself with smart individuals is one major reason to enroll in one of our degree programs. The right teachers can make a big difference. Jeff Bezos remarked in an interview that he had been blessed with conscientious, hard-working, super smart teachers. While having good teachers alone doesn’t guarantee your ultimate success in life, we believe it’s an important ingredient.


4. Follow Your Passion

It doesn’t really matter how hard you try to succeed if you are not following your passion. It’s extremely difficult to work on a difficult task if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing. Life is simply too short not to work for something you care about. And even if you fail, wouldn’t it be better if you had fun trying something you enjoy than succeeding at something you dislike or hate?

Both Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos agree with us. Jeff Bezos advises:

“Do something you’re passionate about.”

But we think you should heed Steve Jobs’ advice as well:

“And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

The good thing about doing what you love is that it will propel your career further. People working in a field they don’t care about don’t spend a lot of time developing their talents. Consequently, those people don’t get promoted as quickly or as often as the ones who love what they do. Besides, working on your graduate coursework becomes a lot easier if you enjoy what you’re doing.


5. Plan for the Long-Term

It’s a good idea to plan your career one step at a time. But as you’re exploring your options, you should always keep the long-term plan in mind. You won’t become a successful business leader overnight. Unfortunately, that is impossible.

“No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”

These wise words come from Warren Buffett.

Mr. Buffett wasn’t just referring to the magic of compound interest when he said what he said. Everything worth striving for takes time, and that includes your career.

Seek Inspiration from Business Leaders

If you have some time to read, then you might as well read something inspiring. You can easily find autobiographies and success stories about your favorite business leaders at your local library. You don’t have to follow in someone else’s footsteps exactly, but reading these success stories will inspire you to create your own.

Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Steve Jobs are only three examples of highly successful business leaders whose advice can make a difference in your life. We encourage you to seek out mentors in real life as well. Whether or not you end up participating in our mentorship program, you should never stop looking for inspiration on your path to success.