The late Steve Jobs was a brilliant visionary and one of the most astute business people who ever lived. He was so good he made it look easy, but behind the scenes there was a lot of hard work and a few guiding principles that can help any business owner become more successful.
Never settle for less than the best
Stories about temper tantrums and harsh management aside, Steve Jobs perfectionism drove him to make his products the best. No detail was too small to pay attention to in the pursuit of perfection. He turned the old saying, “perfection is the enemy of good” around and made good the enemy in his pursuit of excellence. You don’t have to emulate Jobs’ temper to push your team for perfection, and you should neither expect nor accept anything less than the best they can give.
Rely on your team
Jobs surrounded himself with a few highly talented and trusted people who shared his passion. He relied on their esthetic and technical senses to help drive the perfect user experience. Steve Jobs was a genius, and he was smart enough to know that the people in his inner circle could contribute. Follow Steve’s lead and hire the best team you can find and then let them run. They may bring back a design as innovative as the first iPhone or as elegant as the MAC.
Be true to your brand
Jobs knew exactly what Apple stood for. Innovation, a perfect user experience and beautiful design. He never compromised on any aspect of the triumvirate, and he faced down some powerful industries in his stubborn refusal to compromise. His refusal to allow Flash on iPad’s and his standoff with the publishing industry on Apple’s share of book and magazine revenue are famous examples of his unwillingness to let the user experience – or his company – suffer.
Look to the future
Most product managers listen to what their customers say they want and then introduce products to meet those needs. Visionaries, like Jobs, determine what the customer would want if it were available, and then they introduce it before the customers realize they need it. Before the iPad’s introduction, nobody needed a tablet, yet it became an immediate sensation and spawned an entirely new market category. It’s important to listen to your customer, but to succeed as Jobs did you need to think ahead of your customer.
Never give up
It would have been easy for Jobs to give up when the board ousted him from the company he founded, but he didn’t give up. He went on to start several successful ventures, including NEXT Computer and Pixar, before returning to rescue Apple from near disaster. He introduced some of Apple’s best products, including the MacBook Air, the iPhone and the iPad. It’s impossible to think of Apple having the success it has enjoyed with Steve Jobs leading the company and refusing to accept defeat.
Steve Jobs was a winner by defining his principles and sticking to them. You can become a winner by adopting a similar set of principles and never losing sight of your goals.