Lesson 3: Commitment to and passion for the business are key.
Jobs' dedication to the company (despite being ousted early on, only to come back to reclaim the CEO position in 1996), shows what's needed behind every successful small business.
"He was a perfectionist at everything he did," says Tom Shinick, president and CEO of Corporate Development Partners and a professor of small-business management and entrepreneurship at Adelphi University. "It had to be done what he considered the right way. I view that as a strong trait in entrepreneurs and small-business owners."
(Nit-pickers might raise such as issues as the iPhone 4 antenna problem, but even case-based design has its non-Apple defenders. AntennaSys, an antenna design and consulting firm, told PC World after the scandal that its tests showed "all the hype has been just hype ... It's not any more sensitive to hand position that was the first-generation iPhone -- and probably many other phones on the market.")
Another key attribute of Jobs' was his enthusiasm about new products and the ability to convey that enthusiasm to the right people. His product presentations have become legendary."You really need to sell people that you're going to be successful in the company in order to recruit" an audience, whether that's customers or investors, Shinick says. Lesson 4: Hire the right people.
Jobs made it a priority to hire the best and wasn't afraid to fire people when they did not live up to expectations, experts say, although he took steps to ratchet back his somewhat scary rep after returning from a 2009 sick leave. "He didn't allow mediocrity to set into the company and the products and certainly of the people he put around him," says Craig Libis, CEO of Executive Recruiting Consultants. Lesson 5: Execute. "As large a business as Apple is, they have very few product lines. They're not trying to do too many things, but what they do, they do it excellently," says Corey Ackerman, senior partner at Cornerstone Search Group. "The more you do that that is average, the less response from the marketplace." One of the things the company does best is producing when they say they will produce, and having one of the best supply chains despite its complication. "There is unprecedented demand for the product. They almost never skip a beat with their supply chain, and it's not an easy supply chain," he says. "It really comes down to the execution of the business. And the fewer things you have to execute, the more likely you have to execute them precisely." -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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