Jeff Bezos is the definition of an exceptional entrepreneur. How else can you explain the meteoric rise of Amazon which not only survived every market tide over the turn of the century and beyond, but emerged even stronger with a brand set for world domination? No wonder he has consistently ranked among the top five richest people in the world and even became the richest for a brief time on July 27th of this year.
What kind of mindset does it take to become this successful? What framework did Bezos deploy in order to reach such galactic heights of wealth and success? Is there a particular temperament one has to adapt to emulate his level of achievement?
Well, according to the man himself, the answer is a resounding yes. In an interview with Hanson Hosein of Four Peaks, he listed three golden tips on achieving success in business, furthermore linking each of them to the other to form a robust and cohesive strategy. He recommends you follow suit.
1. Find your passion to invent.
A business needs to keep inventing in order to please its customers to the fullest. When a business invents and innovates on behalf of its customers, the customers will naturally pick that product or brand over its competitors every time.
At Amazon, there is a culture to keep inventing as past experiences have shown that their biggest successes came from building on small experiments. Hence Bezos actively encourages people to go down the proverbial blind alleys of experimentation in order to discover how they can best please their customers.
Although success might not always be guaranteed like this. Not inventing or innovating at all will lead to a total loss of opportunity to gain invaluable insight on how customers interact with your offering.
2. Always think long-term.
Think long-term because a lot of your inventions and innovations won't work. If you are going to be customer-centric, you have to establish facilitating inventions and innovations as a core part of your business model.
Now, if you are going to invent, then naturally you are going to experiment. If you are going to experiment, then more often than not, you are going to fail. So, you need to have the capacity to take a hit and accept failure as part of the process. That can only happen If you think and operate on a long-term basis.
Bezos further states that you need to be very clear about the framework of your long-term strategy and have a straightforward approach about the way you plan to operate. Once that is done, you can continue ferociously on that objective with experiments and inventions to reach your end goal of a customer-centric product.
This idea can be perfectly summed up by the motto of Blue Origin, the space exploration company founded by Bezos: "Gradatim Ferociter," meaning "Step by Step ferociously" in English.
3. Be very, very customer-centric.
As you can tell, both the points above have one theme in common: customer-centricity. This is the life and blood of Amazon and the legacy which Bezos wants Amazon to be known for.
He advises entrepreneurs to make themselves customer-focused rather than competition-focused. In the long run, only the former approach will win the market. A competitor-oriented business will only measure the success of a product in comparison with its competitors and will only engage its processes based on what the competition is doing.
This can lead to redundancy and lack of innovation as after a certain period of time when you have established your market share and leadership in your industry. And there won't be any further motivation to excel and innovate. On the other hand, if you are customer-focused, you will always be on your toes, continuously developing your product and making it better.
Here's why this matters
Customers are never satisfied. You always have a new opportunity to please your customers and make them say "wow". At Amazon, the aim is not only on satisfying the customers but to impress them in a way they can't didn't see coming.
Every single aspect of their business activities is ultimately inclined towards delighting their customer body. When armed with this customer-centric focus, the mindset shifts from being complacent to possessing a penchant for constant improvement. The most vital ingredient for success in any industry and sustaining a happy, growing clientele.
It might be beneficial for you to analyze your business and see where you can implement one or more of Bezos's tips. A strategy here, a mindset change there -- sooner or later, you'll begin to see how turning your company's focus a bit outward will provide you with satisfying results in your business.
**Abhik Shome contributed to this article.