Want to be a Successful Entrepreneur? Learn from Shaquille O’Neal

shaquille o'neal
Shaquille O'Neal with Army National Guard members
I am always a basketball fan and one of the player’s careers I follow closely is Shaquille O’Neal; indeed, I am a big fan of Shaq – even after he retired from the NBA last year. Why I keep on following Shaq’s journey?

Well, as an NBA basketball player, Shaq was a legend – no doubt. He is unique; he is huge, but he can control his body better than most smaller NBA players. His free-throw shooting is, um, forgivable, but his passion for the game, his dominance in the paint and his unique personality on and off the court have won him many awards and fans.

But did you know that Shaq is not only a great athlete but also a great entrepreneur?

Here’s one example for you: Did you know that Shaq is one of Google’s pre-IPO investors back in 2004? Just to get you thinking, Google’s stock prices in August 2004 were a bit over $100 per share. Today, it’s about $630 per share. Shaq is now at least 6 times richer – just from his Google stocks.

And that’s just one of Shaq’s business ventures. According to ThePostGame.com, Shaq also the owner of several fitness centers and several Five Guys burger franchises; he also owns equity stakes in Vitamin Water and Muscle Milk; and of course, those are just a few of many investments he has.

Of course, due to his popularity, Shaq receives many business proposals. He turned down many (yes, he does his due diligence before deciding on any proposals,) especially those that only look for endorsement. Indeed, Shaq wants a partnership, not an endorsement deal; a very smart guy!

And, oh, he has the background education to support those investments, too. He earned an MBA degree online from the University of Phoenix in 2005 and currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Leadership and Education with specialisation in Human Resource Development at Barry University, Miami.

Lessons learned from Shaquille O’Neal, the Entrepreneur

1. Do your due diligence
It seems simple, yet not many do that – before you take on any business opportunities, just do your due diligence; learn the opportunities; learn the market; talk to experts; anything to minimise your risk of failure.

2. Take on good business opportunities, not over the top ones
Shaq once received a business proposal that includes taking his sweat, mix it with chemicals and create a cologne. Quirky ideas can make great business, but we might need to play things down and focus on probability of success.

3. Learn the basics
If you want to take on a particular business opportunity but don’t have the knowledge, get it. Take online class like Shaq; attend seminars; take courses; find mentors; do things that can well-equip you.

4. Be a great partner
Everybody wants partnership and such, but if you want a partnership that works, you need to work on it; a silent partner is not really a good option for investors. And if you want to get partnership offer, be sure you present yourself as someone who is willing to work on it.

Congrats, Shaq, on being a good role model for entrepreneurs!

Ivan Widjaya
Always a big fan of Shaquille O’Neal
Image: The U.S. Army / Flickr