By Gina F. Rubel
In a recent letter to his Amazon shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos gives a lay of the proverbial “Day 1” landscape, while warning against the stasis of “Day 2.”
He says that a company can never stop being a start-up and believes that company leadership need always think like they did on the first day. “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”
The letter is a powerful reminder of the importance of staying focused on your clients. For instance, marketing of a company is never about the company’s products or services per se, it is always about how those products and services fill the wants and needs of the ultimate customer.
Bezos makes some key points.
Provide value. Like many of the successful consumer-facing companies such as Amazon and Zappos, it is client value and client service that differentiates them.
Focus on the future. Always look ahead for your clients and your business. As markets and industries evolve, so must your products, services and delivery methods.
See the big picture. Understand that short-term decisions cannot affect long-term success. Sometimes, in fact, difficult decisions like reorganizing staff, no longer providing certain services and changes to products must happen in order for the long-term health of your business.
Make decisions quickly and learn from others. Embrace the process of “disagree and commit.” Not everyone will agree on every decision, but it’s still possible for people who disagree to work toward the same goal. Those goals should also be dictated by quantifiable client feedback. Remember, it is client service and client value that you untimely should strive to be known for.
Focus on results and not just process. While process is important, it cannot wag the dog. Use it as a tool, not as the proxy.
Daniel B. Kline, for The Motley Fool, asks, “Is it really always Day 1?” He says, “What Bezos is doing is guarding against the contentment that success can bring. He’s creating a culture where past results do not guarantee future success so it’s always important to strive, innovate, and be open to change.” This is the key take away.
This is much like long-term relationships, albeit marriages, commitments, friendships and the like. In order to keep a relationship fresh and interesting, to meet the wants and needs of the other party, and to keep the relationship alive, it serves us well to think of every new encounter as a first date. Because, like Kline said, “past results do not guarantee future success,” and this is true in all relationships, business and personal alike.
Gina F. Rubel, Esq., is an integrated marketing and public relations expert with a niche in legal marketing. The owner of Furia Rubel Communications, Gina and her agency have won national awards for marketing, public relations, websites and strategic plans. Her firm maintains a blog at www.ThePRLawyer.com, and Gina is a contributor to The Legal Intelligencer, Lawyernomics and The Huffington Post.