A leader, a creative genius and visionary human being for major company Apple, Steve Jobs was a remarkable American entrepreneur and an excellent manager who succeeded to turn Apple into one of the largest organizations in the world. How did he really do it? In his book called “The Steve Jobs way: iLeadership for a new generation“, Jay Elliot, who was one of his closest associates, presents the guru’s management style and his success – which mainly consists of details – as well as the lessons that come out of this intuitive way to see things.
Whether he managed to think differently or was simply a very passionate man and a massive dreamer, Steve Jobs certainly became one of the most inspiring leaders of all time. A simple man without no technical experience, no engineer’s diploma, college degree or MBA, only a vision, passion, attention to details and an interest in (talented) people. Do his lessons still apply in today’s business world? They surely do, so we’ve made a list with the most important Steve Jobs business lessons anyone can learn from.
1. Persistence is the key, so don’t give up!
In today’s tremendously difficult economy, owning a business isn’t the easiest job in the world, so you need to keep going. Steve Jobs was a man with an interesting background, so it’s no wonder he created Apple – a company which knows how to face different challenges with optimism and be persistent all the time. As a leader, you need to remind yourself constantly that you’ll have ups and downs in life, but the most essential thing is to find all the resources you need in order to recover and make a strong comeback. Persistence is definitely one of the key to success, so don’t give up!
2. Surround yourself with the best people
Always remember to surround yourself with people who inspire and bring out the best in you, in order to do great things. This is probably one of the best Steve Jobs business lessons to constantly remind yourself of. Steve Jobs was a creative genius, but he was also lucky enough to be surrounded by great and inspiring people, such as Jay Elliot or Steve Wozniak, who had the business skills to help him develop the company. Moreover, he was savvy and open minded enough to bring in people who could offer him the skills he didn’t have.
3. Keep innovating
If we think of Apple’s tech profile, an area where the battle is always fierce, we may easily notice that innovation has always been a key element in differentiating the company from the competitors. Therefore, they have always needed to come up with something innovative and creative for the consumers, in order to keep them engaged and interested, as well as to “fight” the other big companies. Who doesn’t remember the first iPhone or iPad (maybe you are even reading this post from an Apple product) that generated a true buzz and became some of the most wanted products in the world? Apple has managed to create a new and different market for tech products, by focusing mostly on innovation.
4. Create a great product to stand out from the crowd
Here’s another excellent business to keep in mind for your entrepreneur’s lifestyle. Create a great product, a product that consumers and people will remember as being different and special compared to the other ones available on the market. Steve Jobs is probably the best example, if we think of all the high quality Apple products designed for tech lovers. His “secret” was to focus on the product and become really obsessed with its details, as well as its marketing strategy.
5. Make new friends (even) from your enemies
In this tough business world, you can’t afford to have enemies, so the best solution is to make new friends even from some enemies you might have. Let’s have a look for a second at Apple’s bad situation back in 1997, when Steve Jobs was the CEO. How did he manage it? He made an agreement with Microsoft, one of its worst enemies, to support his company and financially invest in it. Thus, what can you learn from this? When it comes to business, you don’t actually have a permanent enemy, so working together can bring you lots of benefits.
6. Find great mentors
What’s the mentor’s role in this picture?, you may ask, and why are they important for your business? First of all, no matter much of a genius or what a creative person you are, there’s always more to learn from other inspiring people – and mentors can have a big impact. Steve Jobs himself went through this and always managed to find great mentors, like Regis McKenna, who helped him find a great person in charge with creating excellent marketing principles for Apple.
7. Cannibalize your own products
The co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs totally believed in the notion of self-cannibalization as a healthy strategy for your own business. He applied to the iPhone and iPod, for example, when he launched the iPad. He thought it is better for a brand to cannibalize his own products, rather than let someone else do it. The best business lesson here is to know that nothing is permanent and everything changes, especially when it comes to tech products. If you have a new product that is more powerful and better than a current one, it is always healthy to let it “die”, as a direct and natural consequence of innovation.
8. Keep secrets and build mystery
Only think of all the mystery before the launch of a new Apple product. The company’s team has always known how to keep secrets from the press and not to divulge anything related to any of the products, before their official release date. It has surely turned out to be a smart marketing strategy, considering all the buzz created before new Apple product announcements. Steve Jobs used to hold back information about a new product to get people really curious and excited.
9. Learn from failure
Probably one of the best Steve Jobs business lessons everyone should apply. The man always knew how to manage failure. If you’ve ever read anything about this great leader, you may be aware that his relation with Apple wasn’t always harmonious. But he purchased the animation studio Pixar, which helped him see Apple from a different perspective and seek new directions.
10. Think big
The last but not the least of our Steve Jobs business lessons can also be perceived as a life lesson. Always remember not to be afraid of thinking big. That’s what Steve Jobs did with all Apple products and his entire management style at the company. It doesn’t mean that great things can be achieved without hard work, but remember that a successful entrepreneur will always stand apart from the others by being constantly persistent.
What’s your opinion? Do these Steve Jobs business lessons apply to your current business? If yes, which one seems to be the most adequate one to your business style? Please feel free to share your thoughts.