By Anna Johansson
When someone mentions technology, Apple is one of the first companies that likely jumps to your mind. Apple’s global profits topped $72 billion in 2015 thanks to their diligent efforts and their ability to cut costs while delivering incredible products. They are a brilliant tech company and have set a major standard for how companies can make it big.
But Apple was small once too, albeit briefly. They built their empire through a variety of methods, and small businesses would do well to follow their example. Any business can benefit from some of the following, groundbreaking lessons from Apple.
1. Clean Branding
If there’s one thing that can be said about Apple’s company, it’s that it has incredibly clean branding. Their products are sleek and uncluttered. Their software works smoothly and is very user-friendly. The same can be said for the layout of their stores, both online and in-person.
Their logo is memorable – you always know something is an Apple product by its shape and color scheme. They don’t have to spend as much on advertising as some of the other major technology companies, either, because their brand is so clean and recognizable.
2. Excellent Teams
When was the last time you called an Apple customer service representative and found them to be unpleasant, unaccommodating, and rude? It’s probably been a while. Apple has one of the highest customer service ratings because team members love their jobs and feel valued in them.
Anytime you enter an Apple store or Apple repair facility, you’ll have a warm, enjoyable experience with people who know what they’re doing. Apple takes the whole customer experience very seriously, and they don’t allow just anyone to work for them.
Steve Jobs himself created the model for building excellent teams. He firmly believed that great businesses were only as great as the people who worked for them.
“My model for business is The Beatles,” he once said. “They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
3. Put People Before Profits
Another aspect of Apple’s excellent customer service reputation is their ability to put people first. They’re very focused on making incredible, innovative products, but that’s only because it’s what people want.
Overall, the primary purpose of Apple is to enrich people’s lives. Everything from their customer service to the quality of their products shows their dedication to the people who make it all possible.
4. Create Fans Instead of Customers
When Apple first became popular, people loved it because it was revolutionary. They created new products that no one had ever seen with new features that were easy to use. However, other companies like Samsung, Nokia, and Asus have learned some of the tricks of the trade, and now many of their products are similar to Apple’s.
What makes Apple customers stick around is their obsession with anything Apple. The products are so attractive and high-quality that people will camp out in the snow for three days just to be among the first to purchase a brand new Apple product.
5. Being Different Can Be Incredible
One of Steve Job’s most famous quotes goes as follows:
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
As a small business, you have the opportunity to bring something brand new and innovative to the world. People might not get your concept now, but if it’s truly valuable and you believe in the product, you can turn it into a business platform that could change the world.
Anna Johansson firstname.lastname@example.org is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, HuffingtonPost.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.