Steve Jobs is one of the most famous entrepreneurs of our time. He’s normally referred to by many as the father of the digital revolution. During his life, he was part of mainly three companies that is Apple, Pixar and Next. However, most of his successes were achieved with Apple. In the early years at Apple, Steve did a couple of things to ensure Apple didn’t fail like many other startups. In this article, I will take you through what Steve did in his early days at Apple that you can learn from and probably use some of these strategies in your startup.
Lesson #1: Dream big
While starting Apple with his co-founder Steve Wozniak, Jobs had a dream of making computers available in the hands of everyday people. Back then, computers were so huge and would only be used by researchers and big companies to do mathematical computations. However, Jobs had other thoughts about how computers should be used. He felt inside himself that it is possible to have computers available for everyone to use at a personal level
In the end, his name is now among those that played a key role in the innovation of the personal computer. So as a startup, you need to look for what is not right in your industry and start thinking of ways you can fix it. Dreaming big will give you the driving force to persevere even in the hard times.
Lesson #2: He knew his weaknesses and strengths
Jobs knew some bit of electronics but he wasn’t an expert in this field. This is why he decided to partner with Steve Wozniak who was very good at electronics. However, Jobs very well knew himself as more of a visionary and entrepreneur. He was the vision bearer for Apple and Wozniak would help him in implementing the ideas he thought of. So, while at your startup/small business, it is important to know what you’re not good at. Then try as much as possible to get partners or employees that are better than you in your areas of weakness so that you focus on your strengths.
Lesson #3: Use what you have to get started
Jobs and Wozniak started Apple from a garage. Jobs sold his Volkswagen Van to generate startup capital that they used to start Apple. He essentially used what he had at the moment to get started. He didn’t start by writing business plans and looking for investors. Investors only came in when the idea had already taken off. So, if you intend to start a business, simply get started by using what you have.
Lesson #4: It is Okay to Pivot
In 19985 when the board at Apple pushed Steve out of the company. He accepted the situation and decided to get into animation by buying Pixar. This was however not an easy decision to make since Jobs had already built a reputation in the computer industry. So, whenever things don’t go well at your small business/ startup, try to analyze the situation with a sober mind. If you realize pivoting is the best alternative, don’t be afraid to do so.
Lesson #5: Don’t celebrate your wins for so long
In 1976, Jobs and Wozniak released the Apple 1 that was specifically targeting hobbyists. It wasn’t a big success but it generated enough sales that could have easily swayed away these young men by then. However, being a dreamer, Jobs didn’t celebrate for long but instead used that money to build the Apple II. This was a massive success and it generated over $200 million in revenue in its second year. Jobs never allowed himself and his team to celebrate for long after a successful product, they were always looking forward to building the next big thing. So, whenever you achieve any kind of success at your small business/startup, always avoid celebrating for so long as this will distract you from the bigger picture of achieving the next milestone.
Lesson #6: It is okay to polish good ideas and make them great
For instance, Jobs did not innovate the mouse. But after seeing one, he envisioned it as a pointing device that can be used on the personal computer. It’s for this reason that the mouse was introduced on the mackintosh and it was the first computer to have one. So as a small business, you should always look around for ideas that you can polish and put them to good use.
There are a couple of many other lessons that we can learn from the early days of Steve Jobs at Apple, but the above is my pick of the top six lessons. Lots of these aspects are still visible at Apple even after Jobs died. He built a culture at the company that has helped it become a customer-oriented company that always pays attention to the small details. It’s by no surprise that Apple was the first company to hit the $1 trillion mark in market value. Their foundation was built by a visionary!