4 Lessons I learned from Apple
It is the small things that take good companies and turn them into great ones
When most people think about Apple they cant help to think great thoughts. Apple embodies a company that takes what they do for the customers and the world seriously. To the workers at Apple they know they are not just selling products to make a profit, they are building products that change the world. That’s the vision they started with when Steve Jobs was alive and that’s the vision they have now. As an entrepreneur watching the moves Apple makes, you can’t help but to take notes on the effectiveness of their execution. There were many lessons I learned from watching Apple but here are the 4 most valuable in my opinion.
1) Have a passion for what you do
If you go all the way back to the start of Apple with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak their vision didn’t start with the idea of billions of dollars in the bank. Their idea started with a passion and a plan to make a mark on the world that will be felt long after they were gone. When you look at today’s entrepreneurs their focus is money first and then they think about the legacy they will leave after. This is what separates the average from the extraordinary. Most young entrepreneurs forget to go into a business where love every single thing about the business they are in. This is is why 90% of businesses fail their first year. Then 90% of the ones that make it past the 1st year fail in their 5th year. Most don’t realize that business is hard, frustrating and disappointing. If you don’t absolutely love it then the pressure will eat you alive, hence why most don’t make it. But when its in your blood, when you wake up day and night thinking about it and you cant wait to tackle the business initiatives that’s when you know you’re in the right business.
2) Innovate, Innovate, Innovate!
What I love about Apple’s innovation approach is that they don’t try to beat the competition at their own game. Apples goal is to change the game completely. Most would-be business leaders look for ways to make slight changes to existing infrastructures. That strategy works and can make you a very good company, but Apple didn’t settle for being good. They set out to be absolutely outstanding which means that they wanted to find an entirely different way of going about their business. Even down to their approach to their retail store. They didn’t take an existing retail model and add changes; they threw the entire retail store handbook out and said if we were to build the retail store of the future what would it look like. Then they went about implementing it and creating a world-class retail culture. They had this philosophy even down to the products. Every product Apple released and is currently releasing pushes the limits of what is possible. Innovation can make a company good, great innovation can make a company great and outstanding innovation can make a company legendary! Apple has step the standards for legendary.
Everything Apple does is with excellence. Anyone who knows me knows I am a big stickler when it comes to excellence. I just believe that if you are going to do something you should do it to the best of your abilities. One of the greatest parts of the Steve Jobs movie was the way Ashton Kutcher depicted how Steve Jobs felt about the perfection of his product down to the smallest detail. Now I must admit some peoples say they strive for perfection, but they use the idea of perfection as an excuse for lack of execution. Excellence doesn’t mean you fight for perfection, but that you do the best to create results you can be proud of. When you think about Apple products you know every single piece of that product was deliberated on. Every chip, every program, every aspect of that product went through a pain staking approval process before being released. What you see in today’s business world is the exact opposite. We live in a microwave society and everyone is looking for the faster way or the short cut. Those short cuts seem faster in the beginning, but at the end skipping steps will always set you back.
4) Market to the why not the what
This one is a big one! Apple did an amazing job marketing their product to their core audience. They knew exactly whom they were targeting and they spoke directly to that exact audience. When they spoke to them they didn’t list off a thousand different features why the product was great. Instead they spoke to the heart of the listener. Their marking pitch was wrapped around why Apple existed and who their products were designed for. They made it clear why they felt the products would revolutionize their life. It is because of their marketing message that they were able to develop raving fans; people who would promote their product for them. I have all Apple products in my home and I am a believer in Apple. If I see someone with a PC I will immediately start selling him or her on Apple products. How did they turn me into one of their sales reps for free? The answer is easy, they didn’t think of me as just customer they could get money from. They created a community of which I could be apart, a community of people who could be on the cutting edge of the newest technology and a community of people who felt they were apart of something special. It was the WHY that made the true difference.
As a business owner, an entrepreneur, an executive or a sales person I urge you to take these lessons and implement them in your life, business and careers. I have implemented them in mine and it has never been the same since.
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