A great company needs to be stellar but it also must hang in the heavens long enough to prove it’s more than a comet.
A statistical study of thousands of companies found several hundred good enough long enough to qualify as truly exceptional. Their choices over decades of success meet these three rules:
1. Better before cheaper. Whether it’s quality or service, brand, style or all of these, it’s essential to compete on factors other than price.
2. Revenue before cost. Increase how much money you bring in rather than how much you cut costs (top line over bottom line). You can’t cut your way to success.
3. There are no other rules. Change anything you must to follow the first two rules.
— Adapted from “Three Rules for Making a Company Truly Great,” Michael Raynor and Mumtaz Ahmed, Harvard Business Review.