Founder’s Vision Has Everything to Do with Long Term Success of A Business.
“If it does exist, design it,” were the words of Sir. Henry Royce. Henry Royce was one of the founders of Rolls Royce Motors. A keen look at the Rolls Royce Motors today can ascertain this statement because their motor cars are extraordinary. Of course most of us desire to own a Rolls Royce at someday in this life because of the exemplary design of the car.
One of the philosophies at the Rolls Royce headquarters is that you find something good and make it better. And this in my own words is innovation. It simply means that the founders of the company believed that innovation was and would one of the most critical aspects of a business from the very start.
Mind you, we have so many car manufactures. In addition we have so many models besides the individual car companies which means competition is very high. But out of experience, I have come to realize that if you cannot compromise the quality, however costly your product will be, there will always be a buyer for it.
When J P Morgan was looking to buy Carnegie Steel, he used Carnegie’s right hand man. When asked about how much Carnegie would ask for from a potential buyer, Charles M. Schwab remarked that Carnegie Steel was too big to find a buyer.
I love the response J P Morgan gave. He remarked, “Everybody has their own price tag.” And for sure everybody has their own price tag because Carnegie finally named a price and Morgan gladly bought the company. And just like that, if quality is your core Unique Selling Point (USP), make it a culture.
Always remember everybody and everything has their own price tag. This is very sure with the rising orders of custom made products for all items ranging from wares, houses, cars to foods. Understanding this from the founder’s point means selling the same vision and values to your employees.
This is where corporate cultures unique to every company arises. The culture becomes the embodiment of the company’s way of doing things. Even after you are gone as the founder, the culture still remains and becomes your legacy. If I asked why most of us would want to work at Apple, most of us will want to work there because we associate every apple product with coolness.
This is because to Steve Jobs, there was no exception to what a cool product looked like. So we will want to own a Mac book or iPhone because it is simply cool to own one. It is class to fish out the latest iWatch because apple is for the guys who Think Different.
Imagine what could have happened had Jobs not set the culture and bar for what it means to own an apple product. It simply means that years after his death we could not have any more innovation at apple. As a founder, it is all about setting the standard. Then building teams that can help achieve and maintain that standard.
Next it is about selling your vision for that standard and infusing the same passion you have to your teams so that it becomes the foundational pillars of the business. This means that if you make it strong enough, it will outlive you.
And most companies and successful entrepreneurs understand this very well. You could imagine that some companies are as old as over 200 years old. Speak of 3M, Procter and Gamble (PnG), General Electric, Johnson and Johnson, Ford Motor Company and you could realize that most of them have been around for over 100 years.
And you wonder if it is by sheer chance that they are as old as they are. There was a huge role played by the founders of these companies to be where they are today. Ask anybody who knows about Ford Motor Company and the perseverance and persistence of Henry Ford comes into their mind immediately. And the same could be said of the unique set of values and drivers incorporated in the business culture by the founders of different other successful businesses.
What I am simply saying is that as the founder of your business, you need to think and look long term. It takes more than having enough capital as well as personnel and a product to sustain a business on the long overhaul. A successful business should outlive us over two generations down the line.
To achieve this we should devote enough of our time and resources in building a business that 100 years later could be ubiquitously associated with us. Having a long term vision and core values that should be made part and parcel of every employee’s DNA will go a long way to achieve that.
Like Sam Walton or even Richard Branson, we should go overboard and do all we can to make sure our brands and businesses succeed. We have to risk all and hold strongly to the vision we have and ensure everyone in the team shares in that same vision.
And with all might trudge forward always remembering that as the founder, the success and failure of the business will be directly credited to you. This is because you and the business are one and the same thing from the beginning. Someone looks at Virgin and all they see is Richard Branson, the same need to be said of you.
Do all you can to ensure that what you have for the business is sold out completely to your team and partners otherwise you will end up sailing on your own and as soon as you drown, your business and all about it drowns with you. Think over 100 years in advance today..