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How Carlos Slim Helu became the Richest Man in the World

On March 11th 2012, Carlos Slim Helu was declared the richest man in the world for the third consecutive time by Forbes magazine. While many people admire, criticize or detest his achievement; not many know how he came about his wealth.

We may all know the biography of Carlos Slim Helu but not many know the behind-the-scene secret of how he acquired his wealth. In an interview he granted Larry King of CNN; Carlos Slim Helu highlighted his business philosophy and principles. And based on this interview; I was able to extract the secret to the success of Carlos Slim Helu.

Now how did Carlos Slim Helu become the richest man in the world? How did he become a billionaire? Well, read on as I highlight Carlos Slim Helu’s secret to becoming the richest man in the world.

 How Carlos Slim Helu became the Richest Man in the World

1.            He started a business

The first secret of becoming a billionaire is starting a business. But before I proceed; I want to ask a question. If Carlos Slim Helu was an employee, would he have become the richest man in the world? My answer is no. You can never amass wealth working for someone else; you can never become a billionaire holding on to a job.

Take a look at the Forbes list of world billionaires and you will observe that it’s a list dominated by entrepreneurs and investors. This simply connotes that you can never become wealthy keeping a job. Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Carlos Slim Helu all held the coveted position of the richest man in the world by building a business.

2.            He was prepared

Many people took notice of Carlos Slim Helu when he made a move to acquire Telmex and emerged on the Forbes list of world billionaires but prior to that; Carlos Slim Helu has been preparing to undergo the entrepreneurial process.

One attribute of becoming a successful entrepreneur is the ability to recognize business opportunities when it comes knocking. Aliko Dangote (the richest black man in the world) once said that to succeed in business; you have to pray for a big break and be prepared to take advantage of opportunities when it comes.

All successful entrepreneurs prepared and waited for the right time to make their big move. Carlos Slim Helu also had his big break and he was prepared for it; this was why he became the richest man in the world.

3.            He understood his business to the core

Another reason why Carlos Slim Helu became the richest man in the world was because he understood his business to the core. Carlos Slim Helu is reputed to control over 200 companies all over the world. How did he start? How did he get there? He was able to start a business and grow to over 200 companies because he understood his business to the core.

How can you be on top of the things you do? I think when you are involved in a business first of all; you need to know the business. After you know the business, you can let the numbers tell you what is happening. You can read with the numbers to know if things are going well or if things are not going well. You make co-operation with your competitors; you look at the international references to try to achieve the best reference nationally. The numbers talk to you.” – Carlos Slim Helu

4.            He stuck to the game

Entrepreneurship is a game; so also is investing. To succeed in this game, you must be committed to the entrepreneurial process and play to win. Before emerging the richest man in the world; Carlos Slim Helu has already found success as an entrepreneur and had every cause to retire. Yet, he stuck to the process.

Yes. I think that anything that has privileges has responsibility. All this is responsibility and compromise. Compromise and responsibility are not only for me and my family, but also the management team to have the responsibility to know the importance of what we are doing and that at the end of temporarily managing this; we don’t take anything when we pass away. And we do need to do business with a sense of responsibility.” – Carlos Slim Helu

Every one celebrates and admires the entrepreneurial prowess of Carlos Slim Helu; but only few people can be able to tell what it takes to build a successful business. Carlos Slim Helu first emerged the richest man in the world in 2010 and retained the position in 2011 but he didn’t get there overnight. It took him 45 years of commitment, focus and competence to achieve this feat.

I think work, investments and reinvestments. My father used to say that the money that gets out of a company evaporates. That means he was thinking in terms of investments and reinvestment and reinvestment. That is one of the things we do. Other things that we do are in good times, we maintain our winning streak.” – Carlos Slim Helu

In conclusion, I leave you with a business quote from Carlos Slim Helu about becoming the richest man in the world:

Becoming the richest man in the world is not championship. It’s the competence; the competence in your sector with other companies not looking to have some kind of records in this issue.” – Carlos Slim Helu

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