Peter Drucker once wrote: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”
Steve Jobs once said: “Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”
Now, that customer may be your client (for your service business or consulting practice), or a consumer or enterprise purchasing your product lines, or your shareholders if you are heading up a public company, or some combination of all three (if you run a public company that offers both products and services).
Keeping your focus on these mandates will likely ensure that your business succeeds. Why? Because revenue “covers a multitude of sins” as my father (a successful entrepreneur) liked to say. Profitability covers even more errors and experiments. Top line revenues and bottom line margins allow you to create new products, adapt to changing market wishes and demands (including product life-cycles and pricing), and hire the best minds and skills in your industry to carry the business into the future.
Erik Lidow (1912-2012), founder of International Rectifier, the first power semi-conductor company (founded 1947 and still going), used to tell me that the purpose of innovation was to build companies to create jobs for thousands of workers, and to build products that made a difference in the world.
This begins with keeping in touch with your customer(s) — all of them — and listening, and hearing, and adapting to what you are hearing, so you can build not just a business, but an enduring legacy. Drucker, Jobs and Lidow did.