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How to build a beautiful business

Posted 2 years ago in Small business by Emma Izatt
Posted by Emma Izatt

The media have coined  it “Glastonbury for geeks”. For those business-focused revelers that attended this year’s EnterConf in Belfast it was a chance to hear about tech’s latest trends and talking points. And leading one of those discussions was Xero’s CMO, Andy Lark. Andy talked about how Xero continues to drive extraordinary growth by taking a different path to creating customer passion and profit. And how small businesses all over the world can do the same.

Here are Andy’s top tips for building a beautiful business:

  1. Purpose. Great businesses start with purpose. Purpose-driven companies outperform against companies without a purpose by 15:1. Be clear on why you exist and what you exist to do at your core. For Xero, we aim to enable tens of millions of small businesses to thrive through beautiful software. Small businesses are the engine room of the economy – when we achieve our purpose (and our customers achieve theirs) jobs and wealth are created.
  2. Beautiful. Beautiful starts with software that redefines and reinvents processes. It doesn’t look to replicate processes elsewhere, it looks to reimagine them.
  3. Moments. In this process of reimagining businesses look to address moments of doubt, desire and dissatisfaction as experienced by customers. Think about how Uber solved the moment of dissatisfaction regarding the location of your taxi. Or how Xero made it simple and easy to see your cash flow, removing doubt.
  4. The five Ps. Understand the five Ps of digital and marketing transformation – Participation, Proximity, Prediction, Play and Purpose.
  5. Create. Create a new operating system for your business that at is core replicates the new models of software development and delivery. Models that drive constant innovation, low cost distribution, mobile first delivery, and incremental improvement.
Beautiful-Business-xero

Andy chatted with John Cowan of 6fusion and Jared Lindzon, Freelance Journalist writing for The Guardian and Fast Company about the importance of customer experience prior to his keynote.

Customer experience has largely moved beyond user interface design to a deeper focus on the redesign of business processes. Here Andy spoke to the fact that much of today’s software is mediocre in both design and process. It requires significant retooling at deployment to make it work for the customer.

Great software simply works, delivering moments of magic that play on the experiences we have elsewhere. Andy cited an example of reconciling transactions in Xero. In the old software model you might have hit check-boxes and then a submit button. In the new world you playfully pull together two transactions and they merge.

A beautiful business isn’t just great at design. They reinvent their categories by probing and questioning the logic that others have accepted for decades. Because of that, these early movers quickly create immense value for customers. Xero customers for instance, have a higher chance of business success and collect cash faster than those not using Xero.

Beautiful business doesn’t just look good, it feels great as well.

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