Two weeks ago I asked my husband to come up with an idea for something to write about on my blog. His reply “Can your business be like Apple?”. My response? Well I spluttered and said “I can’t write about that I mean Apple are Apple aren’t they?”. And then I started thinking.
Two weeks on after lots of thinking and some research. Here are my thoughts on three ways that your business can be like Apple.
1. Customer Focused – Apple know their customers and are focused on producing quality products for their customers that are not only beautiful but do exactly what they say on the tin. They work and they work so well that Apple customers want more Apple products and will turn up in the early hours of the morning for new Apple product launches! It’s not just though about the product it is also about the service offered! Go into any Apple shop and ask questions or come in with a query and you will be wowed by the service that you get.
Apple therefore are very customer focused both in their product and in their customer service! But for me this should be the foundation of any business large or small. Your customer should be at the heart of your business and central to the product you sell and the service that you have alongside that service! So you are not a billion dollar world-wide company but you can still offer the best product that you can alongside giving great customer service! I like to think that Bright Light Marketing do this but we don’t sit on our laurels and we do audit each and every client on a regular basis and look at ways that we can improve and build on what we do for them. Same as Apple but on a much smaller scale!
2. Innovation – Apple is an innovative product. I am not an Apple Mac user myself but know from people who are how great that product is. I do have a very old Ipod which is lime green and my pride and joy still working today and giving me endless hours of music joy! But it’s reached its capacity and we would like to transfer more music on to a music system so we have been looking at the latest range of Ipod’s on the market. I am amazed at the range on offer and what they can now do. More Apple innovations! And then there is my Iphone. I loved my Iphone 3G but did I want an upgrade to the 4S when my contract came up for renewal? Yes I wanted the upgraded camera and Siri! And I love Siri it allows me to remind myself when I remember things like paying the milkman that I can get Siri to remind me rather than the though going in my head and then back out again. Will I long for the new Iphone when it comes out? I am sad to say yes I will because it will have be more innovative again! Just like at some point I would love an Ipad! Yes I am an Apple adict! I love their products because they are innovative but more importantly they are work for people like me who are not IT literate. Innovative easy to use products that Apple’s secret!
But again any business should have innovation as a key value! Wither that business is large or small! It’s simply about looking at ways that you can enhance your product! If you are a retailer can you offer a delivery service, run customer events or start trading on-line or use social media to communicate with your customers? If you are a tourism business can you work with other businesses to put together packages that will make you stand out in the marketplace? Or if you are a professional service what ways can you add to your expertise that will make you stand out! And like Apple it’s about not standing still but constantly looking at ways you can build your business! So make sure that you take time out of your business at least once a month just for a couple of hours. So that you can think and brainstorm how you can improve what you do and innovate!
3. Be Indispensable – Sad but true but for Apple addicts like myself we are addicted to our Apple products! I left my Iphone at home the other week and felt that my right hand had been cut off! It’s the same with my Ipod it’s one of the key things that is packed on holiday so we can sing along just like we do at home! If you are not an Apple customer you may be reading this and thinking that I am mad! (and you are probably right) but if you are an Apple customer you will know exactly what I mean!
Being indispensable is key to Apple’s success but actually it should be the key objective of any business! Your product and service should be so good that your customers don’t want to do without you or the product that you sell! And the secret to doing that? Well it’s rather like my point on innovation above. You need to take time out on a regular basis and review what you do and think of ways you can make it better!
Key to Apple’s success? Well in my view its their customer focus, innovation and being indispensible! Are these values just for a billion dollar company? No I would argue we should all have them! So what are you doing today to be customer focused, innovative and indispensable?