When Business Grows on Merit, Not Math

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If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”

Henry Ford

A truly great business doesn’t stem from the willingness to make money. While having financial incentive certainly helps, a more important driver is innovation, delivering real value to the world.

When you focus all your time and energy on just making the product great, the profits trickle in automatically. Ford is just one of several businessmen who revolutionized entire industries on this belief. Another guy who strongly embraced this universal truth was the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. He upheld that bringing in talented, passionate people eliminated the need to worry about profits. Their work will be so good that the products will be irresistible.

Business rules generally define or constrain some aspect of business and are meant to resolve to either true or false. But if you ask any heavyweight entrepreneur, good business relies more on the merit than on the math. Create the value first, then think of an equity plan.

Simply put, giving it all you’ve got is the first and most important rule in business. It’s an unwritten rule, which makes it all the more true. Also, science shows that emotion and good communication play a tremendous role in a company’s progress.

Some examples

Harvard Business Review offers 8 examples of why some businesses don’t focus on profits, outlining simple scenarios where focusing on value brings in the bacon 100% of the time. Here are four of them, complete with a plain-English translation on our behalf:

  • A bank offers accounts to students at a special interest rate to attract a segment of customers whose incomes will later increase.

Put the customer first, this way everybody wins

  • An international beer company strives for at least 10% of market share in any national market, treating that as a strategic threshold level.

Take it one step at a time, don’t set your ambitions too high

  • A steel distributor does not follow a price reduction by a competitor, assuming that it will be temporary and that customers hate readjusting their inventory valuations frequently.

Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke

  • A watch company prices different brands along a predefined, brand-led price corridor.

Touch everyone, not just one demographic

Reeling in an extra buck is indisputably important, not just for business folk but for everyone. Yet focusing on growth outside the numbers automatically takes care of the numbers. Real value is not easy to build or even sell – often it’s a lot harder than tricking the system – but that’s why there are so few innovators out there.

Fancy reading more on the topic? Check out this free ebook by Festo Michael Kambarangwe, “What Business Leaders Should Know But They Don’t.” Enjoy! 😉

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