Unless you’re living under a rock somewhere, you’ve probably heard of Steve Jobs. He’s the man that took Apple, the tech-giant and one of the most valuable companies today, to where it is now. It’s widely acknowledged that Steve Jobs was a brilliant businessman as well as a genius computer geek. He changed the world of technology, and earned billions as he did it.
So, as a small businessman, what can you learn from Apple and Steve Jobs? How can you use his vision and techniques to improve your business?
Research, Vision, and Experience
With billion dollar unicorns popping up everywhere, started by youths barely out of college, it’s natural to start undervaluing experience. People think that brilliance and a good idea is enough to run a successful business. That’s actually not true. According to Steve Jobs, idea and research is all well and good, but without vision and experience, you won’t go far. That’s because you need to be able to implement the idea soundly and read all the data to understand where the future is.
Jobs was way ahead of his time in many ways. When he lobbied for a personal computer for the everyday user, people laughed him out of Apple. But it was after leaving Apple, experiencing other companies, and interacting with different people did he come up with a sound business strategy based on experience and foresight.
In a way, Job’s lesson to all future business owners was the same. Gather all the data you can, but look at it from an experienced eye, an open mind, and have a vision.
The much vaunted elegance of Apple designs actually lie in their simplicity. If you look at Apple products, you can see this belief reflected in them. The design is always restrained, clean, clear, and elegant. Jobs preached simplicity in business strategy as well. The idea is to boil everything down to problems and solutions. Once you’ve done that, you need to further filter it down to important problems.
Once you have determined the most important problems, it’s only a matter of dividing your team into groups that tackle each problem independently. At first, they might come up with multiple solutions. You need to pick and implement the top solutions and work your way down.
This strategy is simple, systematic, and allows even the smallest of teams to manage a business effectively. In fact, one would say that this solution is ideal for small business owners. The strategy is very simple and easy to implement.
Focus on the Customer
One of the most admirable things about Jobs was his ability to focus on the customer’s wants and needs. He was able to anticipate what customers would want in the future and create a product accordingly. The iPad is a shining example of this. He understood that truly mobile music shouldn’t be constrained by the number of CDs the customer could carry.
His strategy was to identify what the customer wants and turn it into the ultimate selling point. As we mentioned earlier, he was a great computer geek and a businessman and there’s a lot to learn from both these attributes he possessed.