Everywhere you look there are headlines about the financial crisis spreading the globe. Which bank will collapse today, people are asking. Is my money safe? Should I shove it all under the mattress? Confidence has hit an all-time low and every business owner appears to be suffering.

But yesterday, supermarket giant Tesco posted some brilliant results. In spite of the financial turmoil Tesco have seen a whopping 14% rise in sales in the last six months and an 11% increase in profits. Meanwhile other retailers are saying that trading conditions are the worst in the past 30 years.

So why is it that the banks are tumbling, that many retailers are closing their doors for the last time and every business owner you speak to is facing doom and gloom – yet, at the same time Tesco are not in a similar position?

There’s one clear difference between Tesco and the banks – and this difference has an important lesson for Internet marketers and online business owners. Tesco is unshakable in its relentless focus on its customers. This is the central driver in everything they do; they do not pay as much attention to the money as they do to their customers. Yet, by ensuring that everything they do is based on customer research and shoppers’ needs, they seem to get the money. Indeed, half of us shop in Tesco every week.

The banks, meanwhile, have been focusing their attention on the money; customers have taken second place. The other retailers in trouble also appear to pay less attention to the needs of their customers than Tesco does.

Over the past few years I have seen several Internet marketers come and go. Some have made millions, others not so successful. But the reason they disappear after making their cash is because they spend too much of their time focusing on making money. The Internet millionaires who are still with us and consistently making cash are those who focus avidly on the needs of their customers; they make the money by not paying attention to it.

In times of low turnover, poor cash flow and difficult credit it is natural for business owners to worry about money. But by doing so you make it more likely that the long-term survival of your business is affected. Those people who are weathering the financial storm are those who have paid less attention to the money than they have to their customers. So, if you want your online business to succeed, stop being concerned about the money and spend all of your time focusing on your customers’ requirements.

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