When it comes to advice for business owners, it doesn’t get much better than listening to the thoughts of Bill Gates. The man who helped launch Microsoft is one of the greatest success stories, and entrepreneurs could learn a lot from listening to Gates. You may not end up amassing a personal wealth in excess of $50 billion, but you could learn what it takes to take your concept and turn it into a successful product that meets consumer demand.
“The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competitors, the best way to put distance between you and the crowd, is to do an outstanding job with information.”
Every company in your field is going to collect data on consumers, competitors, products, and services. How you gather that information, manage it, and use that information to your advantage determines whether you win or lose in the end.
“A bad strategy will fail no matter how good your information is…”
The best information in the world will not help overcome a bad strategy to take advantage of that knowledge. Likewise, if you adopt a lame execution, a good strategy cannot succeed either. Do enough things wrong, and your business won’t be around for long.
“The right information with the right people will dramatically improve a company’s ability to develop…”
Capturing and analyzing good information is important, and so is employing the right people to process that information. If your employees don’t understand the information they are looking at or cannot develop strategies to capitalize on that data, your company will wind up stuck in the mud. Pairing the right people with the right information improves your ability to develop and act on strategic business opportunities.
“Customer services will become the primary value added to function of business”
If you ever worked in the retail or restaurant industry as a teenager, you no doubt heard the phrase “the customer is always right.” Though not exactly true, the manner in which you handle your customers is vital to the success of your company. Offering superior customer service and additional options is a value-add proposal that can set your company apart from the competition, encouraging consumers to work with your company instead of another.
“Customers want high quality at low prices, and they want it now”
You must find a way to develop quality products and provide them to your consumers at low prices. Of equal importance is the speed with which you deliver products/services to your consumers. If they can find a similar product that is higher in quality, at a lower price, and/or available more rapidly, they will take their business to the competition.
“Embrace bad news to learn where you need the most improvement”
Failure should always be viewed as a learning opportunity. When something goes wrong for your business, you’ve just learned how not to do something. Analyze what factors led to that result and look for solutions to avoid achieving that same result.
“Success is a lousy teacher…”
Gates’ best advice might be his thoughts on success. As he views it, success seduces smart people into thinking they cannot lose. Every company has its ups and downs. Though your success is important, it will not carry on forever. Realize that you will have failures as well and be prepared to meet those failures head on.