The point of business in general is to serve customers. A customer is a person who purchases goods or services and recompenses the provider, in some acceptable form or fashion, for those items obtained. If you happen to be a businessman who is into the latest craze of affiliate marketing, you can have a business without maintaining any of your own personal goods or services to provide, but you can’t have a business without having customers. If you happen to be in the personal services business you can potentially maintain a business without having any other employees except yourself. In fact, you can even have a business without any suppliers if you happen to have products you grow or create yourself. You can be in a business without owners, in the traditional sense of ownership by employees or stockholders, and if you have a monopoly on the market you might even have a business without any competitors. But, even without goods, services, other employees, suppliers, owners, or competitors, you simply cannot have a business without a customer. This is the basis behind the phrase “the customer is always right”, and the reason why the customer always comes first in any successful business model.
If you plan to sell more goods or services to your customers, you’ll need to acquire more supplies and suppliers. If you plan to develop your business to serve more customers, employees will become an essential part of that development. As the business grows and expands, more employees will eventually force you to consider adding structure, a hierarchy of reporting and supervision. This, in turn will also obligate you to consider establishing ownership in order to develop your employees and motivate them to become a part of the business’ success. With growth, and definitely additional goods and services, you’ll obviously enter new markets previously considered fringe areas. These new areas might have existing competitors, or you may even entice new competitors to enter your market who see your success and desire a part of it. No matter how small your company remains, or how large it grows and develops, the business will not exist without customers.
Keeping this in mind, any business should be focused upon, and built around the customer. All decisions made concerning the future and well-being of the business should be completed with the customer at the forefront of the resulting judgment. Without this consideration, any business will eventually, without exception, end up failing. All successful businesses that have managed to remain in existence, and even those that have developed into large organizations, have the customer in the center of their business model. This is the first block in any business building endeavor.