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Smart leaders know two things only

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Reflecting on how computer-maker Apple confronted an economic downturn, Real Business columnist Margaret Heffernan makes a stirring call for focus in this month’s column:

"Apple," she says, "was focused almost to the point of being blinkered. They concentrated on two things and two things only: getting new products and getting new customers. Making those products better and smarter and cheaper. Building new ways to find customers, and then never letting them go. They said they’d innovate their way out of the slump and that’s exactly what they did."

Margaret continues: "Products. And customers. When you think about it, it’s simple. After all, in a business, what else is there? There is noise. Every week, I meet business leaders who fret about things they can neither change nor influence. The worst devote endless amounts of time to speculation, trying to predict the future. Talking about global events may make managers feel they’re in control but merely highlights the fact that they aren’t. There are two drivers of business success and if you can’t focus on those in hard times, you won’t win in good ones. Products. And customers. Ignore the noise and focus on those."

We’ll be publishing her full column online in the next couple of days.

Related stories: Margaret Heffernan’s columns

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