Building a business is hard. I’m now coming up on the one year mark since a start-up I worked for ran out of cash and shut down. Everything below are things that we didn’t do (the cliche of learning more from failure than success is painfully true). Building a successful business doesn’t happen by accident. Ideas can be accidental. Profitable business ideas can even appear randomly. But creating a great company takes a deliberate vision. You need to choose to create a good story.
Why Don’t People Care About Most Companies?
I call it Beaker Syndrome. When companies try to promote how great their special is, their newest app, their beta launch, or just about anything else, their focus is internal. While they discuss what appear to be clear and persuasive benefits, the customer hears the company talking about themselves with nothing in it for them. Everything just sounds like Beaker singing, “Me, me, me, me, me.” Of course the trouble with that is that people don’t care about most companies they interact with. They can’t because there are too many and they won’t because most suffer from Beaker Syndrome.
How do you create a company people care about?
Every great company has a “want” that is bigger than themselves. You want to become rich and retire early to play golf every day in Arizona? Great! Nobody cares. Want a secure job with a guaranteed paycheck and steady employment? Sounds nice, but no one cares about that either. Those are internal wants. To create a company that people really care about, your mission has be to external. If your company dies, a dream that affects the lives of other people has to die with it. Apple’s core philosophy is to create great tools for the people who seek to change the world for the better. I didn’t want to use Apple as an example, but they do this brilliantly and their stock just hit an all time high.
Tell a True Story People Believe
It isn’t enough to have an external want, you have to communicate it. The most effective way to do this is through a true story that you and your customers believe. If you don’t communicate what your company does and why you do it, you’re placing that entire job on the customer. Create a narrative that leads or let customers have a disjointed vision of your company.
People Are Mirrors
Want someone to get upset at you? Treat them with hostility. Want someone to be generous? Be generous to them. Want someone to be interested in you? First show that you’re interested in them. If you are selfish, you can expect people to act selfish in return.
What Makes a Great Creator?
All great creations, whether they are books, companies, paintings, ideas, or scientific theories, all exist and function without the original creator. The creator of a business will be successful in creating a great company when their business can survive without them. The only way for this to happen and have endurance is to have a clear external ambition and communicate it well. Steve Jobs’ greatest creation was reinventing several products and industries. Steve Jobs’ greatest creation was Apple itself.
Doing this takes a lot of thought and work, which it should, but you can’t create a lasting company without it.
Connect with me on Twitter @BenNesvig