By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
In an Entrepreneur article, “Want to Be Successful? Focus on One Business,” CEO Tim Cook revealed a guiding principle that Steve Jobs instilled at Apple: the need to stay focused on doing only what you do best.
“It’s easy to add ... it’s hard to stay focused,” Jobs said during a Charlie Rose interview. “And so the hardest decisions we make are all the things not to work on.”
Jobs told a Fortune reporter, “People think focus means saying ‘yes’ to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying ‘no’ to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”
In the graphic arts, there’s a fundamental principle for laying out photos – always pick the photo with the greatest impact and magnetism, and make it bigger than the rest, to show the readers where you want them to look first. It’s a surprisingly useful rule – in life and in everything we do.
Same for running a business. When you’re focused on your strengths you’ll automatically be building a magnetic brand. There’s just one important caveat: your strengths absolutely must have a strong appeal for your customers.
The “big photo” of your company – the Big Story – should have a powerful emotional impact. And as our RO columnists are forever reminding us, the greatest impact occurs when we put our customers first.
There’s a reason why wise teachers have always emphasized the need for kindness and compassion – it’s not just because it’s a hard-wired rule, but because it leads to the greatest happiness and success for everyone, including us.
If you can tell stories about the wonderful ways you’ve connected with your customers, and how you’ve put yourself in their shoes with kindness and compassion, you’ll be amazed by how your Web visitors will be moved, and how they’ll spread the word and send new customers your way.
Let’s learn to say “yes” to our customers and “no” to anything that gets in the way. Let’s build high-impact customer-service magnetism – and tell the Big Story first.
Here’s to staying focused for success,