In their March/April 2021 issues, Inc. Magazine covered a profile of one of the most dynamic entrepreneurs of the 21st century. The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has grown his current empire to over $1.7 million. Bezos has emerged as not only an innovator but a disrupter. His “relentless” has propelled him to the heights of wealth and influence. Author Jason Aten, details how Bezos has grown his empire due to his focus on 11 principals.
Many hope to achieve even a fraction of the success that Bezos has accomplished. Bezos bases his success within the profile in Inc. Magazine (Aten, 2021).
- Using the Regret Minimization Framework
- Finding the Right Opportunity
- Being Customer-Obsessed
- Value Must Exceed the Costs
- Fear Customers Not Competitor
- Focus on the Long Term
- Feed the Flywheel; Make it SPIN Faster
- Hire for Intensity
- Protect Your Culture
- Know What Kind of Decisions You’re Making
- Listen to Critics – But Not Too Much
The principals seem very simple and his methods in retrospect, are universal. These foundational principals can give any entrepreneur a roadmap to build their own business. Clearly not all entrepreneurs can build a business to the scale of Amazon.
Let’s dive deeper.
The Regret Factor: Ask yourself when you are in your twilight years what regrets you will have. If you are like Bezos, the less regrets you count the better. Even facing potential failure, do you have the courage to carry on? Do you believe fiercely enough in your vision to make it a reality no matter what?
This doesn’t mean that entrepreneurs don’t have some regrets and that some businesses aren’t going to every reach the level of success they planned, but at least they tried. For Bezos, trying and failing is better than sitting on your hands and living with the regret of inaction.
Sniffing Out Opportunities: Stay vigilant and ensure you are staying up to date with business trends. When Bezos saw the exponential growth the Internet was experiencing, he knew he could take his love for books and create an online outlet to fulfill more than just the need for reading materials. Read, investigate, surround yourself with the right people and continually educate yourself so that you can make the most of any opportunities that come your way.
It’s All About the Customers: Bezos has built a culture in which the entire organization is obsessed with satisfying the customers’ wants and needs. This single focus framed the products, and how they are delivered. It shapes the entire customer experience. From top to bottom the organizations consider the customer ahead of anything else.
The Value Proposition: To build demand, the value of the experience must exceed the costs. Offering low priced merchandise is not enough. Selections and flawless delivery add to the value customers are willing to pay. Amazon continues to push the envelope and offers more and more value to keep customers coming back for more. Your business needs to think in terms of repeat business and making itself a mainstay of the customer’s day. Everyday.
Fear what Really Matters: Bezos focuses his organization on keeping customers happy. If customer isn’t happy, the money dries up. Competitors don’t pay bills, customers do. Ensuring that the business is constantly improving the products, and how it is delivered.
It’s the Long Play: Pursing the vision of the company is a long-term plan. Short-term gains don’t indicate long-term success. Every strategy, every action plan must build on what you want for the future of the company. Losing money in the short-term is ok if it leads to long-term gains.
Keep Filling the Pipeline: Once you have mastered one vertical or product line, it’s time to find more products that satisfy customers. Remember books were only the beginning of Amazon. Amazon used Walmart’s operating principals of filling the pipeline with products your customers want or will want in the future.
Give Employees a Purpose: Bezos wants missionaries. He wants employees that work with a purpose and meaning. They are intensely loyal because of the culture and vision of the business. To ensure your company has the same success, make sure your team has focus and are always working your company’s mission.
Culture Club: Your organization’s culture must be built over time. Respect your organization’s history and keep it protected. Hire people that will help you grow, nurture, and evolve your business. Set a foundation of your culture and ensure your team guards it every day.
You Have to Make Decisions: You can’t just strategize and plan without making decision. Bezos identifies two types of decisions. Type One are two-way decisions that are less consequential. If you make the wrong decision you can go back and fix it. But Type Two decisions are one-way. There is no going back. So, if you make Type Two decisions you need a lot of data and information. You must ask a lot of questions, be thoughtful. Type Two decisions are made slower because they have higher stakes. Don’t take too much time making Type One decisions because you need the time for the Type Twos.
Listen to Detractors, sometimes: If your company makes bad decisions and it is publicly criticized, you need to take in the feedback and make sure that similar mistakes don’t repeat. But criticism stifles your growth if you let the feedback consume you. Bezos states if you are unwilling to do something new or innovative, you don’t have to worry about critics. You need to decide if your critics are right and if they are, change, otherwise keep going.
Being a successful business owner means you must have the right mind-set. Being more like Bezos can help you propel forward but do consider this: that Bezos is obsessed. He is fixated on his business proposition and makes decisions every day to solidify his businesses presence in the lives of his customers.
You must be focused. You must create a mission, vision, and culture before you sell one product. Additionally, you must always be looking for more opportunity. It can start small with the idea of a book delivered directly to your home or delivering groceries in a few hours. It can expand to become a multi-media, international powerhouse that has become a mainstay in the lives millions of people. Every day.