Important Business Advice From the World’s Second Richest Man.

Today it was announced that Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is now the world’s second richest person.

And exceedingly close to Bill Gates in wealth.

It seems an appropriate time then to look at how he runs his business – and what we can learn from it to help us run ours.

This month Bezos published a short explanation on what he’s currently focusing on when it comes to managing his company.

Here are the 4 key points…


1.True Customer Obsession.

Bezos says you can have one of 4 primary business focuses:

  1. Competitor focus
  2. Product focus
  3. Business model focus
  4. Customer focus.

In Jeff’s view, constant customer focus yields the best returns. Because customers are endlessly dissatisfied, a company that obsesses about it’s customers happiness is constantly lifting the quality of the experience bar and inventing new ways to please. Which together lead to superior results.

Question: are you customer focused enough?

2. Resist Proxies.

Basically Bezos argues that as a company grows bigger, people often focus on the mechanics of something rather than what those mechanics were designed to improve.

For example, companies become obsessed with doing processes correctly, rather than focusing on the end result of the process.

Or they rely too much on market research about what the customers want, rather than the inventing of new ways to please them.

Question: are you spending too much time on small picture detail and processes rather than big picture opportunities and rewards?

3. Embrace External Trends.

What’s happening in the wider business world that you can embrace more fully?

Obviously the digitization of the world is one external trend that Jeff Bezos has taken advantage of more than anyone else on the planet.

But currently he is focusing on the macro trend of machine learning- using the power of tech to analyse, to predict what a customer will want, to customize his service to their particular needs, etc

Question: what’s happening in your industry or indeed the world that you can take advantage of?

4. High Velocity Decision Making. 

To Bezos speed matters. Decisions should be made quickly in almost all cases.

Why? Because usually decisions can be reversed, so you’re better off deciding and then observing the result, then adapting quickly to it. Instead of waiting until you’ve thought it through to the nth degree.

On occasion, however, decisions are highly difficult to retreat from- in that case, Bezos argues, you need to think much more deeply before you decide. Fast decision making would be a mistake. But those situations are few.

Bezos has an interesting concept called ‘Disagree and Commit.’ In this case a group of people are totally honest about their disagreements, but then choose a direction and get behind it 100%.

(So much more effective than those companies where staff bitch and complain behind the scenes, saying “I told you so.”)

Questions: Are you deciding fast enough? Are you making enough decisions?

These 4 points are thought provoking definitely. But more than that, they can be totally company changing, if you have the guts to make them a core part of how you run your business.

Hey, with a net wealth of $75.6 billion, he may have a point 🙂

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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