Jeff Bezos knows a thing or two about spotting good business opportunities. At age 30, he left the security of a high-level job in finance to launch the online bookstore Amazon. Years later, his keen business sense has transformed the company into an e-commerce juggernaut with a $1 trillion market cap.
With years of experience under his belt, the CEO shared the four key characteristics of a "dreamy" business in a 2014 annual shareholder letter. "Customers love it, it can grow to very large size, it has strong returns on capital, and it's durable in time – with the potential to endure for decades," he wrote.
When you find a business initiative with these traits, he wrote, "don't just swipe right, get married."
Being able to identify good business opportunities is an extremely useful skill for entrepreneurs, given that a majority of new businesses fail. Young people looking to invest money in emerging markets or job seekers weighing the longevity of smaller companies can also benefit from this wisdom.
Of course, the CEO was referring to three specific Amazon initiatives at the time — Marketplace, Prime and Amazon Web Services. However, these traits also match Amazon overall.