When I am interviewed, I am occasionally asked: “What is the secret of business success?”
If I knew the perfect answer, I would have made far fewer mistakes over the years; in truth I suspect there are many ingredients. Nevertheless, as an exercise, I have noted below a number of contributing factors that I think matter more than most.
● Work for yourself. To be self-employed can be lonely, and is likely to be hard work. But ultimately you will gain the rewards for your efforts if you are right – as long as you are lucky. You can certainly earn a handsome living working in a big bank or an accountancy firm, but you will never achieve a spectacular capital gain, or change the world in the way that an entrepreneur can by fulfilling their dream.
● Be in the right place. History shows that growing markets, where entrepreneurs are encouraged, offer greater opportunities than places where there is stagnant demand, high tax and lots of regulation. On that basis, anyone with little to lose who is living in the west should emigrate to the east: it's what I advise anyone under the age of 30 to do. This is a harsh verdict, and inevitably there are thousands of exceptions. But it is undeniable that far more new millionaires and billionaires are being minted in countries such as India and China than in Europe. Growing gross domestic product, expanding populations, low costs and modest tax rates offer a powerful combination that the west simply cannot match.
● Learn how to borrow. An ability to find and use debt is a factor in most stories of great wealth. Even if banks are not extending much credit right now, the cycle will turn and eventually they will reopen for business. I was slow to realise the fundamental importance of using debt. Many entrepreneurs overdo it at the top, and end up losing many of their leveraged assets when prices fall. But somehow they rarely go bankrupt, and very often reappear with new bankers in tow when the cycle turns.
● 为自己工作 自己当老板可能会很孤单，而且可能工作繁重。但只要你走运，而又判断正确，你最终会为自己的付出获得回报。在一家大银行或会计师事务所打工，你肯定能生活得不错，但你永远不会获得丰厚的资本收益，或者像企业家那样实现梦想，改变世界。
● 占取地利 历史经验表明，相对于需求低迷、税赋沉重、监管严格的市场，鼓励创业的成长型市场会提供更大的机遇。有鉴于此，所有没什么可失去的西方人，都应该移居东 方：对30岁以下的年轻人，我都是这样建议的。这是个粗略的判断，必然存在诸多例外。但不可否认，印度和中国等国创造的新科百万富翁和亿万富翁，要远远多 于欧洲。国内生产总值GDP不断增长，人口持续增加，成本低廉，税赋适中，这些因素的强大组合令西方难以望其项背。
● 学习如何借债 获得并利用债务的能力，是大多数巨额财富故事中的一个要素。即使目前各银行发贷不多，但周期会转向，银行最终会再次向商业敞开大门。我花了很长时间才认识 到利用债务的根本重要性。许多企业家在信贷高峰期做得太过火，最终在资产价格下跌时失去了大量杠杆资产。但他们很少破产，往往会在周期转向时，携手新的银 行家卷土重来。