One of the greatest things that I have learned from running a company over the last 3 months is that a great company doesn’t care about itself.

This might sound somewhat odd and counterintuitive; but it’s immensely true.

I learned this lesson by transitioning away from working at a company that was so focused on talking about itself, and trying to hype itself up. When you try to hype up your own company (rather than the customer), nobody cares about you and it will ultimately stall business growth. By engaging in relentless self-propaganda, you miss out on your true business potential because you are too focused on yourself, rather than the customer (and what the customer wants).

People care about your company and what you offer, when you are focused on the customer. Being focused on your customers means inspiring your customers to dig deeper and aspire to accomplish more.

Every meaningful company is focusing on inspiring aspiration. Let’s look at three major companies that embody this notion phenomenally:

  1. Nike: This is probably the undisputed champion of aspiration brands. Every piece of marketing content is focused on making current and prospective customers believe in themselves. Every marketing asset is focused on how the customer can improve and eventually accomplish their aspirations.
  2. Google: You might not immediately think about Google being an aspirational company, but they definitely are. Instead of showing off their unique technology (like these robots) and saying how technically advanced what they’ve built is (and why they’re the best for building it), they inspire customers to want to create and explore possibilities. Google is about inspiring people to use information and technology to change the world, and every marketing asset they release makes people want to push his or her boundaries of what you think is possible.
  3. Tesla: Tesla has done a brilliant job making both current and potential customers feel as if they are co-innovators of their cars. They have successfully created an automotive movement by activating the aspirational identities within all of us. By making everybody feel as if they are part of Tesla’s growth journey, they have been able to become a brand leader, with arguably one of the strongest brands in the entire car industry. When you own (or even just want) a Tesla, you feel like you’re part of shaping the future, which makes you aspire to do more meaningful activities with your life.

Those are just three quick examples of companies that have done a brilliant job focusing on the customer, rather than themselves.

The selfless mentalities of these companies is why I think they’ve grow fast, and they all help to reinforce the notion that a great company doesn’t care about itself. A great company cares about the customers, obsessively.