Racing to the top or the bottom?

By David Malherbe   –   Published in Drakenstein Gazette – Friday 21 February 2014

What makes Apple (Computers etc.) such a strong brand worldwide?  Their products are way more expensive than any of their competitors’ products, yet almost everybody would like to have one.

I can assure you that trying to sell products cheaper than their competitors is definitely not part of their marketing strategy.  Many business owners spend a lot of energy and planning on what they can do to sell their products or services cheaper than everybody else.  Unfortunately in the vast majority of cases this is not sustainable and will consume all your energy.

Seth Godin calls this the race to the bottom; when a cheaper version of your product or service comes on the market, people will substitute your product or service for the cheaper one and you’ll once again have to cut on your price to stay in the game.  You really don’t want to win the race to the bottom.

What makes Apple so successful is that they elected to rather go for the race to the top, which means to make excellence the goal they want to achieve.  Their motto is that they want to make their products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly.  It is well known that the late Steve Jobs was adamant that every product had to be only the very best.  And we all know the result.

Jobs was once confronted with a situation where the motherboard of a new model had to be finished within a very short period of time.  When he looked at the work the developer did, he remarked that it was not neat enough.  The developer said that the specific part is something that nobody will see and that the limited time available, makes it impossible to finish the product off that well.  Steve Jobs immediately got three extra people to help the developer, but he insisted on the best quality.

Producing excellent quality is not the quickest way to grow your business, but it is for sure the way to go if you would like to grow a lasting business.  If you compromise on quality, you compromise the future of your business.

David Malherbe and Dewald Scholtz will discuss this topic in more detail Monday evening from 19:00 till 20:00 on Radio KC 107.7FM in the program “You the Entrepreneur”

(David Malherbe is a business- and career consultant and lives in Wellington.  He can be contacted via his web page or T/F 021-873 0262 or on Facebook at “Jy die Entrepreneur.”)

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