How Apple creates extreme growth – and your business can also now

 If you want extreme ROI financial results, first study how high-performing businesses implement their strategies and win more. 


Steve Jobs said, we have been shameless about stealing great ideas.”  

Similarly, Jon Skully, the former CEO at Apple, said, “I remember Akio Morita [CEO at Sony] gave Steve and me each of the first Sony Walkmans. 

It was before anyone had heard of iPods. 

“None of us had seen anything like that before. Steve was fascinated by it. The first thing he did with his was take it apart, and he looked at every single part.”

Many successful companies have benefited from being fast followers with differentiated offers. 

In January, ShiftKey raised $300m to scale its on-demand nursing marketplace.

  • ShiftMed (similar name) raised $200m, their competitor founded two years after ShiftKey (2018 vs. 2016). 
  • Calm started two years after Headspace. It grew to $40m in revenue with just $1.5m raised. How? By targetting the far broader “sleep better” market, as opposed to the more nascent meditation market that Headspace was targetting.
  • Ramp was founded two years after Brex, valued at $8.1B. It focussed on customer service and Small and Medium Businesses, where Brex was weakest.
  • Deel started two years after Papaya Global – valued at $12B. It differentiated itself by building its legal infrastructure, whereas Papaya outsourced it. 

Broadly 2023 there are two types of B2B buyers in 2023: 

  • Buyers who anticipate a recession and are cutting costs across the board,

  • Buyers who are investing to drive new efficiencies and save on costs, 

Potential buyers focus on productivity and efficiency value, and reducing costs has changed the pitch from suppliers.

Salesforce president and COO Brian Millham explained that the company is making “a big effort on the enablement side… to change its messaging from growth to cost efficiencies, productivity, automation, and value delivered against dollars saved in the business.” 

Growing revenue, reducing risk, accelerating time-to-value, or reducing costs are critical drivers of new growth. 

If your business sells B2B, these are the four key drivers 

  • cost, 
  • risk, 
  • time,
  • revenue,

The Playbook


To win, you need a competitive advantage. Here are a few ways to do that and likely to achieve extreme financial results

  • Cost: You can be 50%+ cheaper and simplify on price. Being cheaper will rapidly increase your market size, but you must ensure your service is operationally efficient.
  • Product: Like the Deel example above, you could improve the product and offer more value than your closest competitor.
  • Positioning: Sell to a different, or more specific, set of customers. An example is Small and Medium Businesses vs. Enterprise Businesses – each buyer group requires differentiated selling points.

Consider this – the brothers who founded Rocket Internet are now billionaires. The core messaging was from copying successful startups and launching them overseas. 



  • Being crisp on what problems your product solves for your buyers is critical. 
  • Your entire buyer-facing teams are crystal clear on the problems you solve.  
  • Your business value proposition and differentiation are tweaked as competitors change theirs. 
  • Aim to be the top strategic partner for your buyers. To achieve this, be super crisp on delivering cost savings. 

Over the next decade, capital will be scarce, and its cost will be higher than in the previous decade. 

Buyers always need to maximise the ROI on every dollar spent. Communicating how your product and services maximise how to do more with less will be vital to gaining market share.