“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.”

Dr Stephen R. Covey

Some entrepreneurs are quite disciplined to implement the first thing first principle using the 2×2 matrix designed by Covey and Eisenhower that explained how to prioritize what is important vs urgent.

While having this habit is commendable for effective management however, I have noticed some business leaders don’t prioritize meeting customer’s need over profit-making.

I understand most business is concerned about profit-making however, that shouldn’t take first place priority. 

And this shouldn’t be seen as a chicken and egg situation because you need your chicken to produce eggs. First, you need to feed the chicken so they can produce eggs —one is a prerequisite for the other.

In summary, no customer, no business, no revenue therefore no profit. Therefore, profit cannot bring customers but customers can bring revenue which leads to profit.

On a high level, meeting the need of your customer should be number one on the first thing first in every business. While at the granular level what to prioritize for the customer could be a subject for debate.

Sadly, many business leaders still make decisions at the expense of their customers, they let their quest for high profit over-ride customers’ need.

Prophecy over Speaking in tongues

We can learn the first thing first principle from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. Paul taught the people on prioritizing the need of the church before personal need. He advised them to seek first spiritual gifts that edify the church before others.

“Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.”

1 Corinthian 14-4

Paul realized if the church wants to grow and convert unbelievers, they need to foster spiritual gifts that would benefit everyone. Speaking in tongue is good but it’s meaningless to others if you can’t interpret what you’re saying.

Therefore, take this principle from Paul and apply to your business, foster initiative that meets the need of customers over personal business needs. Understanding what really matters to your customers is very important.

Simply ask yourself these questions

What are the things I do that edifies my business more than my customer? 

Does it take precedence over satisfying my customers’ needs?