What Did I Learn From Steve Jobs

As you probably know, Steve Jobs biography came out last week–all 600+ pages of it. I finished reading it a few days ago and his ideas have been floating around in my head and I’ve come up with 5 of his principles that I think you and I could use in our dry cleaning businesses.

But before I get started, I want to warn you, that if you read this book, it’s not all fun and games. He was a weird dude. He could be nice one minute and as nasty as he was nice the next. He had a strange diet and would sometime eat one food for a couple of weeks. And some of these arcane beliefs led to his early death.

It was not easy reading, but I’m a Mac guy and I wanted to find out what was going on in this guys head. So here’s the 5 things I learned from Steve Jobs:

1. The journey is the reward.  And he’s right on with this one. It’s not the destination, but the journey that is the most rewarding part of our businesses. You and I are blessed. We are less than 1 in a 100 people that have the privilege of owning our own businesses. We determine the kind of life we want to lead. Some of you might not be doing that right now, but you can get there. I like some of my members do what we want to do every day. And we really get joy out of our dry cleaning businesses. So enjoy the journey of owning and running your own business.

2. Focus on only 5 things in your business. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, it was only months away from bankruptcy. He got rid of every product except for 5 of them. What are you focusing on in your dry cleaning business? What few things can you give all your attention to that will make them shine. Maybe it’s only 3 in your business. Stop going after 20 different things.

3. The Reality Distortion Field. This is a made up term from some of Steve’s employee’s. He would twist reality with his products and services (because there was no such product) and convince his team that they could produce them. And because of this, his company has produced some of the most incredible products the world has ever seen.

4. Market Research. When Steve was asked about market research, he said that how was his customer to know what they wanted. I’d have to show it to them first. Henry Ford said that his customers wanted faster horses, not automobiles. They didn’t know what automobiles were.

5. The devil is in the details. Steve’s name was on over 200 patents having to do with everything from software, hardware and even the glass staircases in his Apple stores. You should be involved in all the marketing for your dry cleaner, what your dry cleaning’s quality and appearance is, and what your customer is going to experience from your business. No detail is too small when it comes to these things. I pick out the positive quotes that my route customers get on their reminder calls every week. I’m the only one that can do that. I write ALL the advertisement and communication with my customers. Get into the details.

That’s what I learned from Steve Jobs. If you want to read the book, be my guest. But remember I warned you.

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