Urbandigs.com is a real estate strategy site that offers a “Buyers Tips and Tricks” area. Check out the advice they give about what to focus on when investing in a property:

The four permanent features that all buyers should focus on putting their money towards when deciding which product of the group to bid on continue to be:

a) views b) location c) natural sunlight d) raw space

...as these property features generally do not change! The only item that can be changed is natural sunlight and views if you happen to buy a property with a view of a lot that may ultimately be developed; and therefore eliminating or altering your view and natural sunlight. Other than that one risk, your pretty safe. These are the features I focus on when I do consulting for my buyer clients.

Focus on the permanent features. It’s good advice in real estate and in business too. In fact, it sounds a lot like business advice we’ve talked about here: Focus on what won’t change.

When you focus on permanent features, you focus on the things that truly matter over time. Things that won’t go out of style.

That’s why we prioritize on factors like simplicity, speed, and fair prices. People are always going to want these things. It’s why Japanese auto makers focus on reliability, affordability, and practicality. It’s why Amazon obsesses about customer service. It’s why Apple always offers friendly design. It’s why Zingerman’s only sells high quality ingredients.

These things are all constants. People wanted them yesterday, they want them today, and they’re going to want them tomorrow.

Don’t chase the latest technology, fad, trend, or competition. All of these are transitory. You can’t control them and they are likely to change over the next 5 years anyway. Emphasize the temporary and you risk getting stuck selling dial-up in a broadband world (or whatever the equivalent is for your business).

Instead, spend your time on the basics, the constants, the things that won’t change. Figure out the equivalent of views, location, sunlight, and space in your business. Then be an animal about those features.