Lessons from Red Bull’s billionaire founder

Red Bull is one of the most talked about brands in the world, in terms of consumers, but also in terms of marketing folk. There are lessons to learn from Red Bull that could help you become a billionaire, though not the ones you may expect.

We look on in awe at their unique approach to brand building, based on creating, owning and amplifying a myriad collection of "assets", such as the New York Red Bull soccer team, the Red Bull Air Race and the F1 team. We posted on the Red Bull Stratos space jump here. And there's a comprehensive guide to their brand assets here.

Now, trying to emulate Red Bull's marketing might help you in your current job for your current employer. But to learn about becoming a billionaire we need to dig into the story of the Red Bull creator and co-owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, who is worth $7 billion according to Forbes.

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1. Be open to opportunities

You don't know where business ideas will come from. And often, they don't come from sitting around trying to brainstorm new ideas. Rather, they come from being open to opportunities. In the case of Mateschitz, he was the international marketing dude for Blendax tootpaste back in 1982. During a visit to Thailand he found that a drink called Krating Daeng helped cure his jet lag, as reported here

2. Its never too late to start!

Entrepreneurs are often portrayed as young guns in their 20's. However, Mateschitz was in is late 30's when he started Red Bull. He'd got big company experience, saw an opportunity, and grasped it.

3. Copy with pride 

 You don't have to invent something totally new to be a billionaire. Check out the pack of Krating Daeng below. Looks familiar right? And the name Krating Daeng is Thai for Red Bull. Mateschitz has to adapt the product for Western tastes. But the brand name, identity and basic product were all there already, he didn't event them.

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4. Invest early

Mateschitz put in $500,000 of savings in 1984 to create the Red Bull company, for 49% of the business. The Thai owner of Krating Daeng, Chaleo Yoovidhya, also put in $500,000. The last 2% went to Chaleo's son, Chalerm. A pretty good investment, given that the business has an estimated worth of $7.5 billion.

In conclusion, following the steps above won't neccesarily make you a billionaire. But they could help you identify your own business opportunity, and back it early to get a decent share of the business.