What are the keys to success in business? On the one side there are no definitive keys – meaning a few steps or tricks to follow and everything works out perfectly. On the other hand there are a few “attitude keys”. Nothing guarantees success. If something would guarantee such success it would be easy to promise this and deliver. No-one does. The FTC basically makes it illegal to make such promises without proof. Recently the internet marketing community was in an uproar about FTC rulings. However, none of its rulings are onerous and it comes down to expecting marketers to be honest and upfront with consumers.

So if there are no guarantees, are there some keys to success in business? Yes, but only if you regard them as building blocks that will lay a good foundation not guarantee success. Furthermore look at it as related to attitude and good habits rather than definitive steps or tricks.

Simply put the keys to success in business are about the fact that you need customers, you need something to sell to them (products or services) and you need to make the stuff you sell. Overly simple, but think of it carefully. If you had enough customers, the right products/services to sell them and a foolproof means to deliver it to them you are set. Well, maybe not, you also need to set some targets for each of these areas. What is missing? Oh yes, take some action. Simple? Yes. Easy to do do. Probably not.

My point with this deliberately simplistic discussion is that if we focus on the issues that really matter, it then enables us to be more focused in our actions.  Life and business is complicated enough and I hope that my discussion here will help you make is a little less so. Let’s discuss each aspect in turn.

The keys to success in business #1: Customers
They are the lifeblood of your business.  So by focusing on having enough (too many is also good), we will naturally start thinking of how to get more, improving our marketing, developing better sales techniques etc.

The keys to success in business #2: Products and/ or services
Without these, and without the type customers want we are in deep trouble. This focuses our thinking on customers and what they want. It may also prompt us into thinking what they may want in future and what will make their lives better (think Steve Jobs at Apple).

The keys to success in business #3: System to deliver products and services
You need to deliver your products to customers, and this could be a retail store, an online store, or anything in between. A service could be delivered at their premises or they could come to your place of business. You also need to buy or make products.

The keys to success in business #4: Targets
It may be good and well to have customers who buy your products and services. However, you need targets to aim for otherwise you may find that you have happy customers and good products, but both are so low that you make huge losses. Targets need to be set for customer number, products / services sold, $ sales, $profit (gross and net), etc.

The keys to success in business #5: Action
This is the last and most important one.  Put your money where your mouth is. All of the above four is nothing more than hot air if no action is taken. For each are you need to schedule actions that need to be taken to achieve the targets.

Those are my keys to success in business. You will see that it is all about what needs to be done and then doing it, rather than some sort of trick or short-cut. Regularly ask yourself whether you have enough customers, the right products and services, a system to get thing done, targets for what must be achieved, and an action plan for actually doing something about it.

Lastly, one aspect that has been “neglected” is the human side. In every case above you will be dealing with human beings – rather obvious isn’t it?. It is essential that you understand what makes them “tick”, how to motivate them, encourage them and in general get them to perform at their best. Although your staff is at the centre of this, your understanding should be extended to your customers, your suppliers, in fact anyone you deal with and who is important to the success of your business. In other words – be nice to everyone and to yourself.

If you want to take action based on this article, please have a look at my FREE program for business and personal development, as well as my post on smart goals.

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