3 Secrets of Business Sustainability: Lessons from Nike, Apple and Google
By Samuel Oduoye
These secrets will keep your business sustainable for decades.
But, answer these first.
Will your business still be sustainable (active) in the next five to ten years?
If you’ve sold your products to everyone you could reach, what will happen to your business?
If you don’t have concrete answers to these questions, it’s time you review your sustainability model. Or create one, if you don’t have.
The major drawback of many technology businesses is a vague view of sustainability. Many companies are too satisfied with immediate returns on their one-off projects, that they fail to see the continuous drop in their audience. Your products will soon saturate the market. What will you do by then?
I’ve highlighted three methods global brands like Google, IBM, Microsoft, Facebook and web-based software employ to remain relevant.
The first one is repeat buying. We often call this up-selling and cross-selling
No matter how vast your market is, a single product will circulate someday. Of course, you might have made a lot of money. But what says you shouldn’t make more?
For each product you sell, there is a line of associated needs you could meet. Let’s look at Facebook ad products. The world has to end first before the need for adverts gets satisfied. The logic of a subscription business model is the same.
You need to have products your customers can buy again. This is why the grocery industry thrives.
Now, it doesn’t necessarily have to be like ads. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be the same products. Also, it doesn’t have to be your products.
You know what?
The primary objective here is to keep them buying. So, if you create graphics, why not sell DIY guides also?
This is the same reason Toyota has new models for their cars year-on-year. It’s also the aim of phone makers whose new models are never ending. Imagine that all we have now is still LG’s first telephone model, where will the company be now? Extinction, of course. Their stream of income would have been long exhausted.
You have to build a business model whose products will be needed again and again.
One of the important benefits of having repeat buyers is that it earns you a community of loyalists.
In spite of high-cost products of Apple, there are many people who will use nothing but Apple. With iMac, MacBook, iPad, iPhone, a proprietary operating system, Apple Watch and other products, they’ve earned the reputation for digital solutions.
It’s the same way Nike posits itself as the go-to place for sports, fitness and foot wears.
Sit back, and think of the number of ways you depend on Google. From your Gmail account, YouTube and GPlus to GSuite and Webmaster Tools, the company can boast of offering features that’ll always be needed.
Now, how could this work with your business?
You should build your business with an array of offers that a first, second and third buyer will still need to buy.
LOW ENTRY BARRIER
Entrepreneurs who scale very quickly understands the need to reduce entry barriers for their customers. They have the ability to maximise their customers’ value once they become a buyer.
This might be in form of low pricing or incentives. The objective is to change the relationship from being prospects to customers.
SweetToothRewards.com published a stat which indicated that repeat customers spend 3x more than first-time buyers. That’s apart from them converting at a 9x speed. Amazing!
Will a massive price slash work with you? Especially, if you are an infopreneur.
Throw massive discounts. You might have come across $1 lab access offer ad from Digital Marketer. Sounds crazy, right? You won’t probably imagine the high yield from this effort.
But, remember that you’ll be up-selling these people. They’ve made a purchase, and you can rely on the high possibility of having them buy (probably something else) from you again.
It’s the same model for software trials and freemium.
If you study every profitable brand in the world today, you’ll definitely find elements of these three factors. Not many businesses are aware of them. Some others are aware, but are non-challant.
The lifespan of your business depends on its sustainability.
So, sell again and again. Look for a recurring needs and position your business to satisfy them. And you will see yourself in the realm of high business sustainability.