Becoming Invaluable to Your Clients: Key to Success

Here is a great article from the Columbia Daily Tribune  on why it is important to provide a product or service that your customers feel they cannot live without. 

“Key to Success is Creating Value” by Bobby Campbell 2/22/14

“Want to succeed in business? Focus on becoming invaluable.

People often ask me, “What are the keys to making a business a success?” Generally, I find it an odd question because if there was just a checklist to success, then there would be a lot more successful businesses, right? Some successful people would argue that there really is a checklist but that people don’t learn it or follow it. If that is the case, I wish someone had shared that with me when I was starting my first company. It would have made my life a lot easier.


Nevertheless, if you were to ask me for the one key to success, I would say make you or your service, product or technology invaluable to the customer. This doesn’t mean your customers literally die without it — although it could — but creating a product or service that your customers can’t imagine living without.

There are three things businesses provide that I find invaluable these days:

  • I can’t imagine living without Murry’s Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches. I don’t believe anyone could ever make them any better. They make my life in their own little way a little better, and I find that invaluable. That means my business and money will keep flowing there.
  • More recently, Apple TV has become invaluable to my kids and me by giving us a convenient way to access entertainment with an intuitive and reliable interface. This service has embedded itself into our daily habits and has become a key part of how we engage and entertain ourselves. And as it has become more valuable, its competitors have become less so — I never actually go buy Blu-ray discs anymore.
  • My bank is an invaluable partner in my businesses’ growth. The tools, service and attention they provide are something we didn’t get from our previous bank. Now I know we wouldn’t function as efficiently or grow as quickly without them. The bank has secured our business by providing more than a place to hold and borrow money — it has become too valuable for us to do without.

The business implication is clear: If your customers can’t get the quality of results, technology, services or products you provide from anywhere else, then you are creating a business that is invaluable to their needs and putting in place one of the major pieces that will lead to success in business.

On the flip side, if your customers find you easy to replace, it will be increasingly hard for you to compete and survive.

Several things can lead to becoming dispensable to customers — from not going the extra mile to your service or product not living up to high-quality standards. Or, and increasingly more often, your company could become dispensable if your technology has become obsolete or made your service a dinosaur.

If that seems unlikely, I’ll leave you with this: Twenty years ago, no one could have imagined Kodak losing its edge, but last year, Instagram sold for more than $1 billion while Kodak filed for bankruptcy.”