Guest Article: Lessons from Steve Jobs by Bill Keeler

There’s a lot of talk about Steve Jobs, what he created, and what he left us.  I’m even more impressed by HOW he worked, and his philosophies.  Below are a few key ideas he believed in….and what I typically talk about in business coaching.  Maybe these things are worth taking another pass at….things like hiring great so your company gets better and better with each hire, not just filling a role on your org chart….or having a REAL USP (unique selling proposition) that separates you greatly from your competition…and pricing and selling on real value (like your USP), not on low price…mostly out of fear.

  • “Value” is different from “price”
    Woe unto you if you decide everything based on price. Even more woe unto you if you compete solely on price. Price is not all that matters—what is important, at least to some people, is value. And value takes into account training, support, and the intrinsic joy of using the best tool that’s made. It’s pretty safe to say that no one buys Apple products because of their low price.
  • Marketing boils down to providing unique value
    Think of a two-by-two matrix. The vertical axis measures how your product differs from the competition. The horizontal axis measures the value of your product. Bottom right: valuable but not unique—you’ll have to compete on price. Top left: unique but not valuable—you’ll own a market that doesn’t exist. Bottom left: not unique and not valuable—you’re a bozo. Top right: unique and valuable—this is where you make margin, money, and history. For example, the iPod was unique and valuable because it was the only way to legally, inexpensively, and easily download music from the six biggest record labels.

Unique + Valuable = Has a market

  • A players hire A+ players
    Actually, Steve believed that A players hire A players—that is people who are as good as they are. I refined this slightly—my theory is that A players hire people even better than themselves. It’s clear, though, that B players hire C players so they can feel superior to them, and C players hire D players. If you start hiring B players, expect what Steve called “the bozo explosion” to happen in your organization

If these ideas interest you, please feel free to leave a comment.  

Bill Keeler has extensive experience working with small businesses from his 14 years in the radio advertising industry…first as a top seller working directly with small business owners throughout Central Virginia, and next as s Director of Sales building winning teams. He’s been a leading member the AdviCoach system (www.AdviCoach.com) for over 2 years, and helps small businesses throughout Virginia.