Going through my files last week, I came across a sheet that has guided my business philosophy for many years. When I followed and implemented the principles expressed on it (see the accompanying graphic), my business thrived, the customer was served, and our market share was increased. When I failed to follow these principles, my business suffered, and its potential was limited. I realize that some of these principles seem counter-intuitive and are certainly not common practice. But then, most companies are looking for opportunities to raise their prices, failing to appreciate the importance of market share as a corporate objective. They think first about increasing revenue and profits. Revenue and profits almost inevitably follow market share growth. Walmart, Costco and Amazon are a few of hundreds of examples of companies that dominate their industries by providing lower prices, better service and higher quality products.
In the vast higher education market, where some providers have taken the college goer for granted, given the universal need for higher education, AP wants to stand out as highly customer-oriented and very efficient, making it possible to charge less and less for our services. Since 2008, we have reduced the percentage of tuition we receive from 80 percent to 50 percent, and we have been rewarded by long-term contracts with many great state universities. Every person in AP can contribute to our ability to make our services more competitive and affordable by working to improve efficiency, which translates into more high-quality output.
I want to wish each of you and your families the happiest Thanksgiving. I feel particularly privileged to be working with each of you and for having a job in this highly dynamic industry.
Thank you for all you do every day to make higher education more accessible to everyone!