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The two functions of business.

Updated: Apr 12

Business has two core functions that stand out as fundamental drivers of success: the ability to innovate and the capability to acquire and retain customers. 


Innovation is the lifeblood of any business seeking to maintain relevance and edge in today's fast-paced landscape. It's about more than just new products or services; it encompasses the reinvention of processes, the introduction of novel business models, and the pioneering of groundbreaking technologies. Innovation drives efficiency, fosters creativity, and, ultimately, delivers unique value propositions that differentiate a business from its competitors.

Businesses that prioritise innovation often lead their industries. Apple's development of the iPhone, Amazon's reinvention of retail with its Prime service, and Tesla's disruption of the car industry with electric cars are prime examples of how innovative thinking can redefine market standards and consumer expectations.

Making customers. 

While innovation builds the offer, customer acquisition builds the audience. No matter how revolutionary a product or service might be, its success hinges on reaching and retaining customers. This function encompasses a range of activities designed to attract and engage customers, from marketing and sales strategies to customer service and brand building.

The art of making customers has evolved with the advent of digital technology. Today, businesses employ sophisticated digital marketing techniques, including search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media campaigns, and content marketing to attract prospects. But beyond digital frontiers, the timeless principles of understanding customer needs, building trust, and delivering exceptional service continue to underpin successful customer relationships.

For instance, companies like Netflix and Spotify excel not only because they offer innovative streaming services but also because they have mastered the art of drawing in and maintaining large customer bases through user-friendly interfaces and personalised experiences.

Balancing Innovation and Customer Acquisition

The most successful businesses skillfully balance innovation with making and retaining customers. This balance ensures that companies not only develop cutting-edge products and services but also effectively introduce them into markets that are eager to adopt them.

Google, for example, continues to innovate with new algorithms, applications, and technologies but also excels at engaging users around the globe through its accessible, user-centric design and marketing prowess. Similarly, companies like Zara have mastered the fast fashion model, continually innovating their production processes and inventory management to keep up with rapidly changing fashion trends while also aggressively expanding their global retail presence to capture and satisfy customer demand.

Innovation and customer acquisition are not isolated functions; they are interdependent dynamics that feed into each other. A business that innovates attracts attention, and a business that excels at customer acquisition provides the market necessary to sustain innovation. Together, these functions form the backbone of any successful enterprise, driving growth and ensuring long-term viability in the ever-evolving business landscape.


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