I’ve been privileged to work with multiple billionaire clients over the years as both an attorney and a software engineer. When I decided to start serving businesses under $50 Million instead of the global tech giants, it really caused me to dig deeply into what allowed those giants to obtain their market domination status. Here are some of the surprising qualities I’ve discovered that most of the billionaire companies seem to have in common.
Observation #1: They Started By Producing Innovative Products That Made Their Competitors WANT To Obtain Those Products
Let’s look at companies like Microsoft and Apple as examples, since most people are familiar with them. When Microsoft first started, their operating system was not yet the dominant player because they were new to the scene. However, even some of Microsoft’s competitors at the time purchased some of their first products because those products were so innovative. The same thing has happened with Apple. Even competitors of Apple have purchased their products over the years because they have been so innovative and offered features that were not seen before anywhere else.
For your own business, think about what you could do to have such compelling products or services that would make your own competitors WANT to be your customer. To help you with your brainstorming, I’ve included a form called The Competition Magnet TM from my proprietary Industry Dominator R toolkit that I use with clients in strategic planning sessions.
Observation #2: They Then Established A Popular New Platform That FORCED Their Competitors And A Whole Industry To Become Customers
The next quality that most billionaire companies have in common is that they later established a popular platform that FORCED their competitors and an entire industry to become their customers. We saw this happen with Microsoft when they released the Windows operating system and desktop software like Word and Excel that made personal computers easy for anyone to use. The same thing later happened with Apple and iPods, iPads, iPhones, and other portable devices. Apple now dominates the mobile device industry with iTunes and their App Store that nearly every mobile device user on the planet has used at some point. Miccrosoft and Apple are both fierce competitors with one another, while also customers of each other because they simply have to.
As another example, Amazon has now become the most popular platform for buying and selling physical products, including books and nearly every other item you can think of. Until Amazon gained significant traction, eBay was the market leader for years in the auction space and for selling used and new products alike. As Amazon has continued to innovate online commerce through their Amazon Prime 2-day shipping program and other innovative features, eBay has become less popular and lost market share to Amazon. Nearly ever person who buys goods and services online is currently a customer or has been a customer of Amazon. It’s because Amazon became known as “THE PLATFORM” for buying goods online.
You may not have an idea or business worthy of being the next Apple or Amazon. But there is still a lot of value to thinking strategically about creating new “platforms”. Think seriously about whether there is anything you can do that would help establish YOU as the platform that even your customers would be FORCED to use due to sheer market dominance.
As you brainstorm, keep Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon in mind as examples of other platforms that defined an entire industry. You may have to take a step back and look at the industry as a whole to identify opportunities for how you could define a new platform. Start with identifying your own frustrations about where your industry currently stands, and then look at what future trends you are most excited about. New platforms can be found in both places: through solving existing problems and leveraging exciting new trends. I also have a form called The Platform of ProfitsTM that can be used if you need further help brainstorming on this particular issue.
Observation #3: They Used Intellectual Property Protections To Further Dominate The Marketplace
Another quality that all billionaire companies seem to have in common is that they are absolutely committed to filing extensive intellectual property protections on their most innovative ideas and products.
You may be thinking that “sure, they can afford to file for all those trademarks, copyrights, and patents, so it’s easy for them.” While that would be a true statement now, that wasn’t the case when those companies first got started. One of the reasons that companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon have been able to dominate their industries is because they were diligent about protecting their intellectual property BEFORE they became a huge company.
By having the proper intellectual property protections in place all along, they were able to force out competitors who violated their rights. They didn’t wait until they were successful to move forward with filing the proper intellectual property registrations.
Apple, for example, has an extensive intellectual property portfolio that includes intellectual assets such as:
1. registered trademarks on Apple, iPod, iPad, MacBook, and more
2. registered copyrights on various aspects of their work product (such as software, manuals, and more)
3. design patents on certain product designs
4. utility patents on various hardware and software innovations
Even if you don’t have the type of company with ideas that can be patented, you should still be diligent about using trademark and copyright registrations to protect yourself, while growing your company’s value at the same time.
In sum, most billionaire giants created innovative products that even their customers wanted to buy, and later even became THE PLATFORM for obtaining that type of product or service. While they were releasing such innovative products and services and establishing themselves as the key platform, they also diligently protected themselves with intellectual property registrations.
If you strategically think through and implement these 3 observations in your business, you should be well on your way to enormous growth like the billionaire giants who have blazed the trail before you.