The 5 Key Success Factors Of Business – Based On A 20-Year Study

strategy-compass-23903825_sWhat are the key success factors of business that can ensure your success and stand the test of time? Not fads or solutions of the month, but enduring qualities you can bet your business on?

Over 20 years, reviewing and analyzing over 100 top-selling books, as well as many professional articles and practical experience with many different clients, we determined that there are 5 really big Key Success Factors, each one with 6 to 10 subcomponents. Over a 5-part series, starting with this one first, we will explain what those 5 Key Success Factors are, and how you can use them in your business right away.

First, here are the 5 Key Success Factors:

  • Strategic Focus (Leadership, Management, Planning)
  • People (Personnel, Staff, Learning, Development)
  • Operations (Processes, Work)
  • Marketing (Customer Relations, Sales, Responsiveness)
  • Finances (Assets, Facilities, Equipment)

In today’s post, we’ll examine the 10 elements of Strategic Focus first:

  1. Our firm is customer-driven based on current surveys of customer value.
  2. Our own core values are shared and taken seriously.
  3. Leaders “walk the talk” and demonstrate their commitments to our values.
  4. We are focused on what we do best, a sustainable competitive advantage.
  5. Our purpose is expressed with an inspiring, tangible vision and mission.
  6. The mission is supported with stretch goals that are achievable.
  7. Each goal is backed with a clear strategy, tactics and responsibilities.
  8. Progress toward goals is measured with a system guiding daily actions.
  9. Plans for the future are updated at least annually and communicated internally.
  10. All success factors are coherently aligned in a realistic strategic management system.

Very few companies can claim all 10 of these Strategic Focus elements, but there is always room for improvement. In our next post, we’ll take a quick but penetrating look at the People success factor.

How To Start A Business With Almost No Money

business-start-buttonAnyone can start a business with little to no money if they know how. Here are some important facts and tips you need to know if you want to start your own business while spending only a few bucks.

1. Buildings and equipment are expensive, but knowledge is free.

A business based on knowledge and information costs almost nothing to start. Some of the most valuable businesses in the world like Google and Microsoft are knowledge-information businesses, and they started very small. But don’t feel like you have to make billions to be successful. Many people make a good living selling ebooks, email or online courses, reports and videos about what they (the authors) know or learn about. This can be as simple as how to dance, how to ride horses, how to play the guitar, and many other how-to skills. Perhaps you have a hobby or special skills that the average person does not. You can make money packaging and selling that. If you want to start a bakery or a print shop, you are going to need a lot of money – which you may not have. Don’t set your heart on starting a business that requires a lot of capital. Focus on starting a business that requires specialized knowledge, and get it.

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“Getting The Word Out” Takes New Approaches Today

getting the word outRecently we were contacted by an aspiring new business owner who wanted help “getting the word out” about her new coaching service and a book she has written, to help her grow her business.

“Getting the word out” is a phrase deeply embedded in the culture, especially the business world, that is based on expectations that you can hire someone to “get the word out” for you, something like a “publicist” or a “marketer.” And time was, we could prepare a good press release or press kit for targeted newspapers and other media, send it to them, and expect coverage.

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Effective Marketing Strategy 2 – Analyze Your Strengths

How To Analyze the Organization’s Strengths and Limitations

company strengths     a. Determine Your Strengths

In Part 1, we stated that building on your strengths is key to effective marketing strategy. What are your strengths? From a marketing strategy perspective, your strengths have several dimensions:

(1) Your natural, genetic strengths. Each of us was born with a certain personality type and certain talents or gifts. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most widely used personality profiling assessment tool in the world and one we recommend highly to help you and all your employees or team members understand their natural strengths and preferences. You and your people may also have natural talents for selling, research, planning, writing, designing, strategy or other dimensions of marketing and business just as surely as some people have natural talent for playing the piano or throwing footballs. You know you have a talent because it is something you do better than most other people, naturally. That is something you can build on for competitive advantage, especially if it is relevant. (A musical talent might not be relevant if your product is battery chargers.)

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How To Develop An Effective Marketing Strategy 1- Determine Your Purposes

This is the first in a series of posts about: How To Develop An Effective Marketing Strategy. Step 1 isMarketing-Strategy-Small-Business: Determine Your Purposes

“Begin with the end in mind” is a well-known saying in business popularized by Stephen Covey in his famous 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Many other consultants and authors have pointed out the great importance of having a clear purpose. Human beings are naturally goal oriented, and without stated purposes the people in any organization can pursue their own personal interests – whatever feels right to them, thus dispersing the resources of the company and not accomplishing very much as a team.

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Strategic Planning In The 21st Century – What Works Now

strategic planningStrategic planning evolved in the second half of the 20th Century, after World War II, as a way to apply methods that worked effectively in warfare to peacetime situations, especially in industry. Today the world is so different and fast-changing, old-style strategic planning can be a self-defeating waste of time, money and resources, yet certain fundamentals are still valuable. It is important to understand what works now in order to make good management and leadership decisions in the 21st Century.

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Emails Not Getting Through? New DMARC Rules May Be The Reason

dmarc-graphicDMARC is a new standard for “Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance” (more at Basically it means that if you or your website or your software send an email where the “from” field is not the same as the domain actually sending the website, then AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and others are likely to consider it spam and bounce it back.

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Create Your Own Branded Blog-Website To Promote Yourself Online

More and more people come to us at Lawrimore Inc. wanting to establish an identity separate from their company website, or to stick their toe in the entrepreneurial waters without taking a lot of risk. This is important especially for people who work for big companies or want to offer consulting services.

When people first meet you or hear your name and want to learn more, they are very likely to Google you or use some other search engine. From that point forward, you control the impression they get. It’s like having a big online business card. Everyone needs one because in the 21st Century you are a brand, and the value you offer to the marketplace as either a business owner, employee or solo practitioner needs to be made clear in your own branded website.

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Google Selects Charlotte Area For Possbile Ultra-High-Speed Fiber Network

The following announcement was received at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, by the editors of, owned and operated by Lawrimore Inc. We are excited to share this news with our readers and followers.

A few minutes ago, Google announced that Charlotte is one of nine metro areas around the country that might get access to Google Fiber, an ultra high-speed fiber network that lets customers use the web at speeds that are up to 100 times faster than basic broadband.

It takes a lot of collaboration with cities to build a new network. So that’s why, over the next few months, Charlotte will be working closely with Google on a joint-planning process, to determine what it would take to build a new fiber-optic network in the area. Later this year, Google will provide updates on which cities will get Google Fiber. You can read more about this announcement — and about Google Fiber — on the Google Fiber blog.

Google chose to work with Charlotte because there are many business-savvy and tech-friendly entrepreneurs in the area, and Google would love to see what these innovative Charlotte residents could do with a gigabit network like Google Fiber.

Over the last few years, gigabit Internet has moved from idea to reality, with dozens of communities working hard to build networks with speeds 100 times faster than what most of us live with today. People are hungrier than ever for faster Internet, and as a result, cities across America are making speed a priority. Hundreds of mayors from across the nation have stated that abundant high-speed Internet access is essential for sparking innovation, driving economic growth and improving education. Portland, Nashville and dozens of others have made high-speed broadband a key pillar of their city plans. And Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, declared in June that every school should have access to gigabit speeds by 2020.

We have long believed that the Internet’s next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, so it’s fantastic to see this momentum.  And now that we’ve learned a lot from our Google Fiber projects in Kansas City, Austin and Provo, we want to help build more ultra-fast networks.  So we’ve invited cities in 9 metro areas around the U.S.—34 cities altogether—to work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber.

We aim to provide updates by the end of the year about which cities will be getting Google Fiber. Between now and then, we’re going to work closely with each city’s leaders on a joint planning process that will not only map out a Google Fiber network in detail, but also assess what unique local challenges we might face. These are such big jobs that advance planning goes a long way toward helping us stick to schedules and minimize disruption for residents.

We’re going to work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction, like topography (e.g., hills, flood zones), housing density and the condition of local infrastructure. Meanwhile, cities will complete a checklist of items that will help them get ready for a project of this scale and speed. For example, they’ll provide us with maps of existing conduit, water, gas and electricity lines so that we can plan where to place fiber. They’ll also help us find ways to access existing infrastructure—like utility poles—so we don’t unnecessarily dig up streets or have to put up a new pole next to an existing one.

While we do want to bring Fiber to every one of these cities, it might not work out for everyone. But cities who go through this process with us will be more prepared for us or any provider who wants to build a fiber network.  In fact, we want to give everyone a boost in their thinking about how to bring fiber to their communities; we plan to share what we learn in these 34 cities, and in the meantime you can check out some tips in a recent guest post on the Google Fiber blog by industry expert Joanne Hovis.  Stay tuned for updates, and we hope this news inspires more communities across America to take steps to get to a gig.

We will be your local contacts for getting in touch with the folks at Google Fiber going forward, so please let us know if you have any questions. If you are interested in Fiber updates, signup here.


Billy Warden / 919.412.0630

Tired Of Being Tracked Online? Try This Private Browser

epic-browser-imageWe learned about this ultra-private browser today from, but it also works as well on a PC. Funded in part by the Washington Post, this browser not only blocks all attempts to track you and stick you with ads from where-you’ve-been, but also allows you to use a proxy IP address so those darn tracking sites can’t even tell where you’re coming from. Here’s the short brief from MacInTouch:

Epic Privacy Browser has been recently updated. The free browser from Alok Bhardwaj and Hidden Reflex is designed specifically to provide comprehensive privacy protection, while also providing fast performance. It blocks a huge collection of tracking mechanisms; offers a built-in proxy system to hide your IP address (shown as a green or red plug on the side of the address/search bar); and uses its own, private search engine to protect privacy while earning commissions on searches). (SeeEpic FAQ for more details.) Free and open-source, Epic 31.0.1650.63 (188037) is built on a Chromium foundation and runs on Mac OS X 10.6 and later” as well as on PCs.

Want private browsing? Get Epic.