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Think back to the best piece of business advice you ever received. Who did it come from? Was it your boss, co-worker, parent or mentor? How about a construction tycoon?

Lior Zitzman is the Director of Digital Audience at BigRentz, a construction equipment rentals marketplace with a network of over 1,500 rental partners. He has more than 15 years of experience in enterprise-level SEO at automotive publishing and equipment companies.

Lior Zitzman

Guest Writer

Believe it or not, some of the most successful construction tycoons can offer life-altering insight—and not just to people within their own industry.

In the infographic below, BigRentz identifies ten of the most successful builders in history along with the pieces of business advice they have for professionals in any industry. Some of these tycoons are Americans, like Cornelius Vanderbilt or Biddy Mason. Others like Chung Ju-Yung, Mohammed Al Amoudi, and Yelena Baturina are from nations around the globe. Each of these ten individuals offers experienced insight into skills every business person needs to succeed in their industry.

Take, for example, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the massively successful business mogul whose lesson is that we should value real-world experience as much as (if not more than!) formal education.

Vanderbilt quit school at the age of eleven and had started his own company by eighteen. Later in life, Vanderbilt invested much of his time in the railroad industry, with one of his most memorable accomplishments still in existence: Grand Central Station. 

Vanderbilt stated, “If I had learned education I would have not had time to learn anything else.” This lesson is especially important for incoming and current college undergraduates. Many students find it easy to get overwhelmed with their academics; however, Vanderbilt advises to gain real-world experience. This can lead to a better understanding of textbook theories and help students prepare for entry-level positions.

But while Vanderbilt might be the quintessential American empire-builder, plenty of the world’s most successful building magnates come from all around the world. Chung Ju-Yung, the founder of what is now the Hyundai Group, was born in North Korea to a family of peasant farmers. H made five strong but unsuccessful attempts to leave his hometown and start a career. Finally, he returned home and opened an auto shop, which would ultimately become the genesis for his global success.

Ju-Yung has been quoted as saying “There are trails, but there are no failures.” This advice is clearly resonant far beyond the building industry, particularly for business people in the start-up world. It takes patience and commitment to get a start-up known across a country or the world, and failures are inevitable. Viewing mistakes as a part of the process rather than an end to your journey is the only way to make your product or service better than it already was.

The construction career of another foreign builder, Mohammed Al Amoudi, contains key lessons for all entrepreneurs about the importance of maintaining strong, positive connections with your community. Al Amoudi is most famously known for building Saudi Arabia’s billion-dollar oil complex. But despite his origins in an industry fraught with politics and conflict, Al Amoudi has always maintained a spirit for philanthropy and community.

Most of Saudi Arabia’s population is Muslim; therefore, many practice a tradition called zakat, or the ritual giving back of one’s wealth to the community. Al Amoudi is a strong advocate for zakat, stating “There is a natural link between the effective running of my businesses and the effective direction of philanthropic funds.”

Al Amoudi accredits much of his success to giving back. From a business view, this can allow your consumers to perceive your company as authentic. It is important there is a connection between company values and what philanthropic causes your company support to show unity.

A lesson that shows itself in many of these tycoons’ careers is that there is always something new to be discovered or a new venture to undertake. John Jacob Astor, America’s first multi-millionaire, is a perfect example — Astor had already become incredibly wealthy in the fur trade before he began investing in property development whatsoever.

But rather than being satisfied with his existing wealth, Astor saw an opportunity and took it, withdrawing his entire fortune to buy up land he predicted would increase in value. His gamble paid off, and he soon found himself managing the majority of what is now the island of Manhattan.

Yelena Baturina, an entrepreneur and Russia’s only female billionaire, is another tycoon who never allows her career to stand idle — though Baturina got her start in construction, she continues to invest in innovative technologies that push the construction industry into the future. One of Baturina’s more popular quotes is,

“I believe it is essential never to stand still or rest on one’s laurels, but to seek self-improvement and the continual discovery of something new.” – Yelena Baturina

Click through to the Infographic “10 Business Lessons from Construction Tycoon” below to learn more about these success stories and read the quotes and advice they offer. And don’t stop there — there are transferable lessons to learn from all industries, so always keep an open mind and explore every opportunity to learn something new!

Infographic 10 Business Lessons from Construction Tycoons

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