So maybe this post is more for my own benefit, as I am currently studying for an exam tomorrow, but hopefully you can find something informative in it for your own business.
In business, everyone is always talking about a business plan. In actuality, however, most start-ups don't have an actual business plan as was the case with Home Depot. Also, CEO's like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell were actually lacking in any business experience whatsoever when they founded their respective empires.
These entrepreneurial ventures were all successful, largely because the founders all had the right qualities. They all had tolerance for ambiguity, a capacity for adaptation and the right balance in their propensity to start a business. Also a propensity for innovation also played a large role. An interesting side note about Steve Jobs, is that the first person he hired at Apple was actually an artist. This was because he understood that he was not just selling a computer, he was also selling the customer on an entire experience. It is this type of vision that has helped Apple become what it is today.
So at the end of the day, whether you are just starting out in your business or have been at it for years, I believe it is important to never lose sight of the big picture. When formulating your product, you have to constantly move up the value chain and never take your customer's experience for granted. Walt Disney always said, that if at the end of the day the customer had a smile on their face, that's all that mattered.