Building a billion dollar company takes a combination of ambition, hard work, talent, great timing and, yes, luck. It also takes time. You can't expect to build an empire over the course of a few months. The good news, however, is that it's easier now than at any other time in history to build a truly gigantic company. And, while you can't do it overnight, it can be done a lot faster than ever before. Let's look at some of the key factors that go into such a company.
Many of the world's most iconic brands began with a partnership between two people; in some cases, three or four. They often began in an unassuming location such as a basement, garage or dorm room. Google, for example, was started by co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who met as students at Stanford University. They began their first search engine in 1996 before registering the domain name for Google in 1997.
One of the most interesting things about this partnership is that Brin and Page had a very contentious relationship. They often argued and debated. This can be (though isn't necessarily) characteristic of a dynamic partnership, where each member brings something unique to the equation. If two people think exactly alike, they don't challenge each other.
The history of Apple also starts with a fortuitous partnership, in this case between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. These two Stevens met in high school and founded Apple Computers back in 1976. Partnerships come in many forms, but they are often one of the elements of a hugely successful company.
Please Customers in an Unprecedented Way
While good customer service has long been the hallmark of successful businesses, if you want to be a giant in your industry, it helps to be not merely good but a game changer in this area. A good role model for this is Amazon. People have practically forgotten that this retail juggernaut began as simply an online bookstore. Amazon's unprecedented success in the world of online commerce has always been linked with its focus on pleasing its customers. There are many impressive features that people take for granted when they shop on Amazon -- good prices, one-click shopping, free shipping on orders above a certain amount, easy check-out and an array of customer-friendly features such as reviews, wish lists and recommendations. It's not surprising that Amazon is also leading the way with cutting edge services such as same-day service using drones, something it plans to introduce in the next year or two.
There are numerous other examples of companies that have achieved great success by offering exceptional service, but another worth mentioning here is FedEx, which has become synonymous with sending packages quickly. Unlike Amazon, FedEx has built its reputation on doing one thing extremely well.
Another distinctive feature of FedEx's approach to customer service is the way the company encourages employees to interact in a friendly way with customers that is not scripted. This is actually quite significant in a world where people are tired of hearing scripted lines, whether on the phone, online or in person.
Connect With Core Emotions
Consumers are driven by emotion far more than logic. This is a principle that has been recognized by ad creators for many decades. Think of one of the largest brands in the world --Coca Cola. You can go back to some of their earliest TV ads or watch more recent campaigns; either way, you'll notice that the product is always linked with fun and pleasure. Another brand that has been especially successful at this is Budweiser, whose commercials famously show groups of people having a great time.
You can look at some other major brands and see how they've become associated with a value that's important to many consumers. Nike has become synonymous with action and athleticism. Apple customers feel cool and innovative, which motivates them to line up to get a new product the very day of its release. People who want to feel tough and independent ride Harley Davidson Motorcycles. People purchase luxury automobiles such as BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar for the feeling of sophistication and accomplishment that these brands represent.
In all of these cases, the emotion evoked goes way beyond any actual qualities of the brand or product. You don't really need a particular brand of sneakers to be a great athlete. Any leading car brand can supply reliable transportation. The point is, the most successful brands know how to connect with consumers on an emotional level.
These are some of the qualities that have helped build billion dollar companies. The most successful often combine these traits. Of course, you also need other basic qualities as well, such as a solid work ethic, perseverance and a product or service that fills a genuine need. Recent history has shown, however, that the above factors are often crucial when it comes to distinguishing the merely successful from brands that are household names.