Most people think of Oprah as just a TV personality. But the reality is, she's an extremely savvy businesswoman whose success was no accident.
That success began when she boosted a third-rated Chicago talk show to number one. Soon after she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.
The Oprah Winfrey Show is what made her famous, and was the highest-rated TV program of it's kind.
She's enjoyed decades of massive success, creating an unmistakable personal brand and massively growing her value while also being one of the great philanthropists of her time.
Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, an established business owner, or somewhere in between, there's a lot we can all learn from Oprah and her achievements.
Here are two extremely powerful principles that helped her gain enormous success:
1. Give to get
You can’t think of Oprah without thinking of her giveaways.
“You get a car!” endures as a favorite internet meme years after it happened on her show. Her giveaway strategy created a ton of excitement, not just with the people who benefited, but with everyone who heard about it after the fact.
While you are probably not going to be giving away free cars or even a full slew of your “favorite things,” perhaps you can give away some free samples of new products and services to existing clients. Or, start with a free consultation to entice new customers.
Whatever you might give away, just make sure you're creating excitement — for your clients, for your company and for your brand.
Think about how you can apply this to your business…
How are you currently generating leads? What are you giving away for free in exchange for a prospects email? What have your results been so far?
If they haven't been great, think about how you can tweak/adjust your free offer. How could you make it more exciting or unique for prospects?
2. Success takes time
Many entrepreneurs go into business thinking that they have raised enough money to launch the business.
But, the foundation of a business doesn’t happen overnight.
It typically takes two or three years to build a solid foundation and ensure the business is on steady ground.
If it takes Oprah, who had every business resource in the world at her disposal — capital, fans, a great brand and more — around three years to have a solid business foundation, that means it will likely take you the same.
Make sure you have planned not just for the launch of the business, but to support it — and yourself — financially or otherwise for up to three years before you know if the business will work.
If you haven't found the high level of success you're looking for yet, don't worry. You're in good company.
You can read 3 more important business lessons learned from Oprah at Entrepreneur.