I also take this statement literally for the same reasons litteacher8 cites. Businesses need customers to survive. This is the nature of business.
Businesses have to have customers to exist. The business is selling something to someone. So without the customers, there is no business. That is literal. Metaphorically, a business's purpose is to sell, so its purpose is customers. Business is business, the goal is to make money.
SORRY, I MEARNT TO WRITE ' WHAT WAS THIS STATEMENT INTENDED TO MEAN AND IT REALISTICAL'