Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, along with partner Paul Allen. From this, Gates managed to build an empire that would eventually make him the richest man on earth and change the world as we know it.
The entrepreneur, who is worth more than $89 billion having stepped down as CEO, managed to create a business that blossomed with the development of technology. But what can you learn from his experiences to help your own business grow?
Here are five lessons from Bill Gates that will help you make the most of your company:
1. Do what you're good at
Bill Gates was just 13 when he joined a computer club, which would start a life-long passion for technology. Although young, he was exceptionally good at understanding these - then innovative - machines and how they worked. He invested hours of time teaching himself how to program and had a knack for it.
He was lucky enough to find his talent fairly young, but he had the dedication and foresight to turn this into a billion-dollar business that most people could never had imagined at the time.
2. Make the most of your opportunities
In the late 1960s, Gates was very lucky to have access to such a state-of-the-art device and he used this opportunity to his advantage. It was his ability that managed to turn this glimmer of good fortune into founding the biggest PC software company in the world.
If he had squandered this opportunity, it's likely that we wouldn't have known his name at all and someone else would have eventually created a similar business. With your own company, it's essential that you make the most of any opportunities you are given and work to realize your full potential.
3. Be ready to fail
Of course, you found your business with the hope that you are going to be successful, but it can be dangerous. Companies that experience long periods of good fortune can become complacent and even arrogant about their ability to not fail. The financial crisis in 2008 should have taught every company that no one is invincible and you should always be prepared for things to go south.
Don't worry if you do suffer a failure or two; you can learn more from the rough patches than the smooth so make sure you dust yourself down and get back to it.
4. Do your own thing
You'll be inspired throughout your career, it may even be someone else who made you want to start your company in the first place. There is a fine but definite line between having inspiration and trying to emulate what someone else is doing. As a business, you need to make sure you are doing your own thing, and that this is something you are proud of. Find yourself a unique brand voice and identity to ensure you stand out from your competitors.
5. Don't feel sorry for yourself
Things aren't always going to go your way. You may make a mistake as a business or the industry might take a hit that is out of your control. Few companies become a success without experiencing problems. However, it's how you react to them that will define your business.
When something negative happens, use this as a learning curve and identify solutions to control the damage or even find ways your brand can make the most of it. Feeling sorry for yourself and moping around won't get your business to where you want it to be.