The Guiding Laws of Business (Part 2)

Apple Inc.

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Here’s a continuation of the post from yesterday. In case you missed the introduction here it is:

Lately, there have been a couple articles written and books released (37Signals’ ReWorkBehance’s Making Ideas Happen, etc.) that have the latest and greatest in “ideapreneurship” (and we highly recommend both), but they aren’t as brutally honest as they could be. They’re telling you what has worked for them, and what you as a business should do to keep forward momentum. And they are absolutely dead-on (for the most part). But here’s the thing: you can change yourself….and that’s it. While you’re busy innovating, the rest of the business world either shifts or stays depending on trends, leadership, customer response, or simple guiding laws in the business world. Trends, leadership, and customers are all things you can’t know, or even control. But the guiding laws of business are things that you should know. Some of them are simple reminders from high school economics. Some of them are things you don’t want to know. But all of them are required knowledge for the entrepreneur that wants to move their business forward.

4. Brand is Everything

Your name is just as important as your actual product. It’s your reputation and how you are known to your customers. They will not know you as the “makers of the iPod”. They’ll remember you as “Apple”. Having a solid brand with a concrete marketing and brand protection plan behind it is tantamount to building a solid business. Customers flock to brands, and in one fell swoop, those same customers can destroy your brand…and any hope you have in a future. Invest some time, money, and effort into your brand, and you’ll definitely see an increase in your ability to retain customers. Products aren’t your business. Your brand is.

5. Brand isn’t Everything

This seems contradictory, I know. Your name is important (see above). But it’s not everything. Customers flock to brands, sure, but only because they’ve (at least once) produced a solid product. Apple is not a growing brand because they have a cool logo. They produced an awesome product, and now their brand is associated with awesomeness. That is how it works. Smart businesses produce great products to build their brand…while at the same time having a plan in place to further and protect their brand as it is built. Using the momentum from a great product is a wise business choice…but without a great product, you’ll never get to that point. Brands don’t sell. Products do.

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