Jeff Bezos has a message for budding entrepreneurs: be ready to take big risks and fail.
Bezos delivered that message at Amazon’s re:Mars conference on Thursday in Las Vegas, after he was asked what advice he would give to anyone looking to start their own business.
“Take risk. You have to be willing to take risk. If you have a business idea with no risk, it’s probably already being done,” he said, according to an Amazon transcript. “You’ve got to have something that might not work. It will be, in many ways, an experiment.”
Many of those experiments will fail, but “big failures” are a necessary part of the journey toward success, he said.
“We take risks all the time, we talk about failure,” he said. “We need big failures in order to move the needle. If we don’t, we’re not swinging enough. You really should be swinging hard, and you will fail, but that’s okay.”
Bezos founded Amazon in 1995 with just 10 employees. He has since turned it into one of the most valuable public companies in the world, with a market capitalization of nearly $860 billion.
He said that in addition to taking risks and failing, entrepreneurs must also be passionate.
“You’ll be competing against those who are passionate,” he said.
Above all, he said, entrepreneurs should be “customer-obsessed.”
“The most important thing is to be customer-obsessed,” he said. “Don’t satisfy them, absolutely delight them.”