Yesterday’s edition of the screed was the 1,800th post. At roughly 350 words per, that’s 630,000 words I’ve written in an effort to make sense of business. I’ve written approximately 250 posts each year for the last 7. While not every one of those posts has been original (I do republish some stuff), each one has been carefully considered for its topic and usefulness to you folks. I’ll leave it to you to judge how well I’ve succeeded, although I hear from some readers that while some posts are enlightening, others are just too confusing. Well, yes. That’s kind of reflective of business, isn’t it?  

Since 1,800 feels like a milepost on the way to 2,000, I’m going to do something that I like to do with clients after a long meeting: sum up. If you hang around this space long enough you’ll pick up on a bunch of recurring themes, and while I’d hope that you’ll continue to come around here each day, let me make things a little easier for you in case you miss something. All of what follows should feel very familiar and, hopefully, not new. In no particular order:

  • The reason any of us are in business is to solve problems for our customers. If our product or service doesn’t add value and/or solve a problem, it’s useless, even if it’s free.
  • Hire smart people who possess the intangible skills you can’t teach: work ethic, honesty, humility, and hunger to succeed. Treat them well, train them even better, and demand their best.
  • Technology changes; basic, sound business principles don’t. Don’t confuse the technology with the business, even if the business IS technology.
  • Finally, while it’s impossible to ignore “the bottom line” as we run our businesses, for the most part our focus needs to be squarely on our customers.  We need to see our world from their perspective and recognize that their perspective might be very different from that of the business.  Customer focus is imperative, although (as we’ll see tomorrow), that doesn’t mean the customer is right 100% of the time (but they are way more than most businesses appreciate).

The above is a little cheat sheet to understanding what’s going on here most days.  In theory, anything you read will fall into one of those theme buckets.  I hope you’ll continue to do so.  Please?

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