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Exceptional Companies See Limits as Opportunities

Monte Wyatt & Brad Sugars, May 30, 2019

Exceptional companies see the limits that hold everyone back and refuse to be confined by them. Here, we want to talk about how your mindset as a company affects your potential. When you think in terms of boundaries, you limit yourself. When you see boundaries as opportunities to grow, you expand exponentially.

Consider pre-2007 smartphones, such as those from Blackberry, that had buttons for specific tasks. If a company wanted to change what the smartphone could do, it had to add physical buttons to the phone and convince the public that the new features were worth the cost and hassle of getting a new device.

Then Apple's Steve Jobs got involved. He realized that as long as physical buttons dictated what a phone could do, they'd limit or even cripple the pace of innovation. His solution was to replace physical buttons with a touch-screen that could be continually adapted to the needs of the phone's software.

This meant that any developer could imagine new uses for the phone and never be challenged by its physical form. Need a new button or function in an app? Design it! The iPhone is infinitely adaptable to every new idea.

The iPhone has changed the world so much that there's no going back. The smartphone's adaptability means that as soon as someone can think of something to send to you on your phone, they can and then charge you for it.

Apple's journey from building computers in a garage to becoming the largest technology company in the world was possible because of its belief in adding zeros, along with consistent, disciplined, and measured and mature follow-through. That's what's necessary for taking a company to the big time.

For a while in the '90s, Apple suffered as it sought to increase its market share of the PC industry, an industry where HP, Dell, and all the other PC makers simply lowered prices, improved performance, or targeted sales in different channels to steal each other's customers. Apple's leadership at the time believed the company needed to be more like HP and Dell, or even like Microsoft. But merely copying the success of either the PC makers or Microsoft wouldn't work because the soybeans Apple was selling were magic. Apple didn't need market share; it needed market expansion. And when Steve Jobs returned and added zeros, they got it and how!

This new phase of the company's history created exponential growth that took it from nearly bankrupt to the most valuable company in the world, worth $170 billion in 2017.

Apple is now much more than a computer manufacturer or software developer: it is the technology that makes our modern lives possible. Its ability to develop possibilities in every aspect of what it does comes from its belief that everyone has something to contribute to the ultimate goal of serving the customer, and that everyone must work together at all times to make that happen.

Here are steps companies take to make that happen:

  • Determine what sets you apart what makes you stand out from the competition
  • Be adaptable to the changing marketplace
  • Identify opportunities
  • Don't assume that your market position is assumed always innovate.

Apple is obviously the best example of how it's possible to grow exponentially while simultaneously building a long-term, sustainable organization. There are other examples, of course, and all of them have intention, drive, and purpose that create massive excitement in the world of business and the world at large.

To repeat, exceptional companies refuse to be bound by limits they look for possibilities. They determine that sets them apart, they adapt to the marketplace, they identify opportunities and they always, always innovate.

In the meantime, we'd love to hear from you. Can you think of any other companies whose exponential growth was a result of adaptability to the market? Thank you for sharing.