Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos doles out some very down to earth small business advice at the re:Mars conference in Las Vegas.
Jeff Bezos almost looked like a man from the future sitting center stage at the first re:Mars conference in Las Vegas on June 6. His clean-shaven head gleamed in the stage lights as he gave some fascinatingly counterintuitive small business advice.
The Amazon CEO was ostensibly in sin city to talk about Mars, aka, Machines, Automation, Robotics, and Space. He even hammed it up with a pair of robotic arms to the delight of the crowd.
But for entrepreneurs in attendance looking for useful small business advice, Bezos says instead of trying to predict the future, think about “what’s not going to change.”
That sounds rich coming from him.
One of the hallmarks of Amazon’s success has been anticipating the future of consumer needs. You don’t turn an online bookstore into the only business anyone buys anything from without some vivid premonitions.
But Bezos argues thinking about the pieces of your business that will be at the core for the next 10 years could provide more value.
“The answer to that question can allow you to… work on those things with the confidence to know all of the energy you put into it today will still be paying dividends.”
Bezos went on to say, “When you identify those big ideas that are stable in time… they’re usually customer needs.”
Putting Jeff Bezos’ small business advice into practice
For Amazon, what will remain unchanged are the low prices and fast shipping. That’s what their customers enjoy.
But Bezos was also almost evangelical about how to serve consumers, “Figure out how to absolutely delight them,” he added.
Studies have shown that by 2020 customer service will be the number one factor in consumer choice, above both price and product quality.
Bezos understands this change in consumer behavior, musing poetically, “You have to be more missionary than mercenary.”
None of this means Bezos underplays the necessary risk of entrepreneurship. A smart gamblers mentality was still at the core of his sermon.
“You have to take a risk,” Bezos said. “If you come up with a business and there’s no risk, it’s probably already being done well… At Amazon, we still take risks all the time.”
Those risks are all about creating growth for your business.
“We need to have billion-dollar scale failures and if we’re not, we’re not swinging hard enough,” he said. “In business, when you’re inventing something, you swing hard.”
The home run hitter analogy was clear. It’s Bezos meets Babe Ruth. No bunting allowed.
“In business, you can get thousands of runs,” he said. “You really should be swinging hard, and you are going to fail a lot.”
So Bezos’ advice comes in two simple parts.
First, figure out what is stable in your business. Second, invest in your niche aggressively enough to rip one past your competitors in the outfield.
As always at Velocity, we offer alternative financing to small businesses looking to take the Amazon CEO’s small business advice and swing for the fences.