Who is Jeff Bezos?
While most are familiar with his name, those who aren’t should certainly be well-acquainted with the world’s top grossing internet retailer, Amazon.com, of which he is both founder and CEO. In 2015, Amazon even exceeded Walmart as the largest overall retailer in the U.S. In its earliest form, Amazon.com was an online book merchant which steadily branched out into a much wider array of products and services, most recently including audio and video streaming.
While American retail and technology entrepreneur Jeffery Bezos is best known as the founder, chairman, and CEO of Amazon, he is also a noted investor, computer scientist, electrical engineer and philanthropist. Bezos certainly possesses a broad range of business interests, which also include newspapers and aerospace. In fact, in 2000, he founded the Washington state based Blue Origin, a privately funded spaceflight service company and aerospace manufacturer. More recently, in 2013, Bezos purchased the American daily newspaper, The Washington Post, and continues to manage various other business investments through Bezos Expeditions.
As of July, 2017, Bezos was briefly listed Forbes’ richest billionaire, temporarily surpassing Bill Gates.
While it’s clear that he’s broken important ground in the e-commerce market through Amazon (which continues to grow and strengthen each year), it’s important to note that Bezos has separated himself from a great many of the long-established layouts for creating a business.
Business owners of all ranks and industries can certainly learn a great deal from an unconventional leader such as Jeff Bezos. Learning and understanding his strategies may even help inspire similar qualities within your own organization. What, specifically, can be learned from Bezos’s unique approach?
1. Don’t Follow the Crowd.
When Amazon concluded that dropping shipping costs would be an effective addition to their business model, many other businesses across the world were skeptical to say the least. Some even went as far as to say it was a “crippling” decision. Of course, the immense online e-commerce merchant was correct in their resolve, as they have seen growth and gained even more dominance since that fateful decision. As Bezos himself has stated, “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details”.
It was his confidence and commitment to results that led to an uncompromising outlook even when his colleagues were doubtful of his actions.
Business owners should take heed to the notion that having confidence in your own business model is of paramount importance. While it’s realistic to alter certain details along the way, don’t waver in your own vision and sense of determination for your company.
2. Understand the “Metrics Culture”.
“Company culture” or “workplace culture” have certainly become common and well-documented buzzwords in today’s business world. And while the validity of the concept is irrefutable, Bezos has taken a slightly different approach; instead, striving for a data-driven business model. He has even been quoted as describing his own company’s atmosphere as “friendly but intense, but “if push came to shove, it would be intense”.
What, then, can be expected from the resulting data? Well, ultimately, it’s been described as the “key influences behind all of the decisions made at Amazon”. For example, if data shows that a new product launch or website design doesn’t land with the public as originally anticipated, then the necessary changes will quickly be made.
Believe it or not, even small businesses can learn from this method. Adopting a data-motivated business model may actually help you and your staff to make unbiased, objective decisions. Removing the emotional component can help assure that you are putting your customers first, remaining consistent and fair.
3. Work to Offer the Most Competitive Costs.
While charging customers less is an undoubtedly widespread goal among businesses, Amazon has finely tuned the standpoint to an even more concentrated level. Part of the successful e-commerce retailer’s mission is to sustain frugality at all times. By significantly cutting internal expenses at every possible opportunity, they have been able to increase their own stock prices while reducing customer costs.
To quote Bezos, “There are two kinds of companies: those that try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second”.
Of course, an organization as large as Amazon can afford to make such a model work entirely in their favor, however, this does not mean you can’t reproduce a similar undertaking on your own scale. The first step is to ascertain what is most important to your customer base, and make it your goal to accomplish just that. Whether their objective is to pay less, obtain more value for their money, or simply receive the highest quality product/service on the market, specifically fashion your business goals around this intention.
4. Don’t Let Failure Set You Back.
When success is the ultimate goal, companies may unwittingly sacrifice innovation for safe practices. However, as Bezos has stated, “If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think”. If an implemented idea is showing signs of plummeting, either quickly fix the problem or change the direction altogether. Developing a fear of originality and improvement is not the answer, but pulling the plug on a failing idea –- in a timely manner — will save you money and wasted time. However, don’t lose sight of the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Asking yourself how you could have improved upon your idea will give you a greater chance for success the next time around.
5. Always Consider the Long Term.
In Bezos’s initial correspondence to Amazon Shareholders, he included the noteworthy phrase, “It’s all about the long term”. As he explained further, it was established that all future decisions would “consistently [reflect] this focus”. From choices in hiring to plans for growth and investments, the goal was to maintain an outlook that consistently reflected the long term. And in the case of Amazon, this particular stance proved successful. Companies that look toward the future by considering the lasting effects of their actions will ultimately make smarter decisions and achieve an enduring success, rather than a quickly fading windfall.
While following these certain guidelines may not necessarily transform you into an instant multi-billionaire entrepreneur, such a practical approach will certainly result in a more profitable future and a greater chance for the ultimate success of your business.
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200