4 Key Lessons CEOs Can Learn From Apple

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By Michael Sterling

It’s clear that Apple is a game-changer. Not only did it earn $156 billion in revenue last year, it’s also the largest publicly traded corporation in the world with an estimated value of $415 billion. But it’s not just the fact that they have a great product. Apple has changed the way people view technology forever.

Their rules have intrigued business owners from all industries. In its 37 years, Apple has certainly seen its ups and downs, especially among their customer approval ratings. Still, this giant company has giant lessons we can all learn from. Take a look at some of the most important ones.

#1) Reinvent The Industry

Before the iPod came out in 2001, there were similar products out there, i.e. the Walkman and MP3 player, but industries were at a dead end. Music was constantly being ripped illegally and lawsuits were tanking dozens of potential companies.

The iPod and its iTunes content licensing system changed how the world buys and listens to music. As soon as it took off, the recording industry embraced what is now called: “digital distribution.” Through the vision of Steve Jobs, Apple reinvented not just their industry, but all industries, and they reaped the benefits.

  • Never single yourself to one market, instead, become a platform which appeals to many industries. Other companies like Amazon, Ebay, YouTube, and Facebook have achieved this as well. If you market towards one type of consumer, you’re merely a piece of a larger puzzle. Don’t be a piece, be the puzzle. 

#2) Winning Isn’t Everything

“For us, winning has never been about making the most. That’s never been the cornerstone of Apple.” – Tim Cook, CEO.

Apple has never changed its pricing scheme for the iPhone. This causes a bit of speculation with critics, especially those who care about shares. In China many people can’t afford the hefty price, and it’s making Apple lose market share. But the company doesn’t seem to be bothered, despite other corporations bowing at the knees of their consumers.

One of those companies is Amazon who introduced cheaper tablets this year. Their philosophy has  been well-received by consumers: to reinvest revenue in the business or by lowering prices. However, Apple does the exact opposite. Why, then, do customers can’t seem to get enough of their products?

Apple recently said they care about three things only: usage, commerce, and customer satisfaction. Lowering their prices doesn’t do anything to improve these things. As long as consumers trust the brand, the price is worth the money.

Most people wouldn’t buy a cheaper version of something knowing it isn’t up to speed. Whether they sell out their stores or not is unimportant. The secret is keeping their consumers loyal.

  • Don’t think of your business as a number or graph in the stock market. Trying to please the mathematics of it all will take away from the personalization of your product. Groom the product, make it perfect, the rest will follow. 

#3) Give The Customers What They Want

One of Apple’s main appeal is their integration of apps, music, email, calendars, and contacts – all on a single device which doubles as a cell phone. Before the iPhone, smart phones weren’t nearly as smart. When it came to the market in 2007, it was exactly what customers wanted. So much in fact that it’s become a ritual for iPhone owners to upgrade every year.

Apple saw a new opportunity in the market. By creating a device based which matches to the consumer’s needs, it was a no brainer for it to be successful.

  • Devise you strategy to meet all of your customer’s needs, not cost. Without their satisfaction, you have no future. A good product will create loyalty and is worth the extra investment. 

#4) Aim High & Your Faith Higher

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want to change the world?” – Steve Jobs, CEO, to John Sculley, Pepsi-Cola President.  

There is no rule book to success. When you’re building a company, you need to have the courage of your convictions. Steve Jobs didn’t set out to become a successful company, but he wanted his inventions to better the lives of people. Apple’s image still keeps the validity of this vision.

Apple has never sweated the small details, instead, they focus their attention on a bigger picture. They think about the experience their device brings to consumers and how to achieve it, and a product is always going to reflect the CEO’s passion.

  • Carry your business like a torch. Hold it up with conviction and belief, and back it by truth. This will make the world change to your view. If you lack the guts, you are likely to build success around other’s standards. This only makes your position weaker.