The Ten Keys to Business Success

Written By | Business Success | November 3rd, 2009 | 42 Comments »

continuous improvement - business success - cash flow - business growthThere are ten critical areas where your ability to think largely determines the success or failure of your business. The greater clarity you have in each of these areas, the better decisions you will make and better results you will achieve.

Key Purpose

What is the purpose of a business? Many people think that the purpose of a business is to earn a profit, but they are wrong. The true purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer. Fully 50 percent of your time, efforts, and expenses should be focused on creating and keeping customers in some way.

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Key Measure

The key measure of business success is customer satisfaction. Your ability to satisfy your customers to such a degree that they buy from you rather than from someone else, that they buy again, and that they bring their friends is the key determinant of growth and profitability.

Key Requirement

The key requirement for wealth building and business success is for you to add value in some way. All wealth comes from adding value. All business growth and profitability come from adding value. Every day, you must be looking for ways to add more and more value to the customer experience.

Key Focus

The most important person in the business is the customer. You must focus on the customer at all times. Customers are fickle, disloyal, changeable, impatient, and demanding-just like you. Nonetheless, the customer must be the central focus of everything you do in business.

Key Word

In life, work, and business, you will always be rewarded in direct proportion to the value of your contribution to others, as they see it. The focus on outward contribution, to your company, your customers, and your community, is the central requirement for you to become an ever more valuable person, in every area.

Key Question

The most important question you ask, to solve any problem, overcome any obstacle, or achieve any business goal is “How?” Top people always ask the question “How?” and then act on the answers that come to them.

Key Strategy

In a world of rapid change and continuing aggressive competition, you must practice continuous improvement in every area of your business and personal life. As Pat Riley, the basketball coach, said, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”

Key Activity

The heartbeat of your business is sales.Dun & Bradstreet analyzed thousands of companies that had gone broke over the years and concluded that the number-one reason for business failure was “low sales.” When they researched further, they found that the number-one reason for business success was “high sales.” And all else was commentary.

Key Number

The most important number in business is cash flow. Cash flow is to the business as blood and oxygen are to the brain. You can have every activity working efficiently in your business, but if your cash flow is cut off for any reason, the business can die, sometimes overnight.

Key Goal

Every business must have a growth plan. Growth must be the goal of all your business activities. You should have a goal to grow 10 percent, 20 percent, or even 30 percent each year. Some companies grow 50 percent and 100 percent per year, and not by accident. The only real growth is profit growth. Profit growth is always measurable in what is called “free cash flow.” This is the actual amount of money that the business throws off each month, each quarter, and each year, above and beyond the total cost and expense of running a business.

Action Exercise

You should have a growth plan for the number of new leads you attract and for the number of new customers you acquire from those leads. You should have a growth plan for sales, revenues, and profitability. If you do not deliberately plan for continuous growth, you will automatically stagnate and begin to fall behind. Growth is not an accident; so you must plan and map out your growth plan if you want your business to see a bright future.

Topics included in this article include

Continuous Improvement

Cash Flow

Business Success

Business Growth

About Brian Tracy – Brian Tracy is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on google+, facebook, and twitter.


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  2. Retha Alberts says on June 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm:

    Interesting, but outdated in a few ways. Growth at all cost? Oh no! That paradigm is passe and a more systemic approach to sustainability is required by both thought leaders and business leaders.

  3. Taiwo Adepoju says on June 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm:

    Most apt and salient for all entrepreneurs

  4. omonigho says on May 8, 2013 at 10:43 pm:

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  5. Enoch says on May 17, 2012 at 8:40 am:

    Its very amazing we are receiving such helpful information,am very motivated by what you have been sharing to us and that is upgrading our knowledge in diverse ways,i mean business, relationships and our christian lives as well.Thank you so much am highly pleased and blessed.

  6. Andrea says on May 10, 2012 at 4:51 am:

    Thanks for sharing all this information, simpre I read any article, I am very motivated. This growth plan, had never thought of it this way, I feel excellent. Tube many goals but I think I plantearmelas more specifically focused on a specific point.
    Thank you Mr. Briam, many greetings from Argentina.
    Andrea Torres.

  7. Sally says on February 9, 2012 at 6:52 am:

    Great post!! All very important keys to business success, thanks for those.

  8. Joshua Johnson says on March 10, 2010 at 8:04 pm:

    Reading this reminds me of my old room mate. That guy was one of the smartest persons I know, but he was a little too original for my tastes though. Anyways I appreciated reading this, thanks. Will give me something to argue about when I see him.

  9. Alma Wittstock says on January 31, 2010 at 1:26 am:

    Good writing! I’m loving it!

  10. Suzanne Deliscar says on December 12, 2009 at 3:11 pm:

    I like this part: “Customers are fickle, disloyal, changeable, impatient, and demanding-just like you.” Sometimes it seems as if we overthink what the customer wants, when all we have to do is think, “what would I want?” Thanks so much for that valuable reminder, Brian.

  11. mehrdad says on November 30, 2009 at 6:08 am:

    Hello mr .Brian forracy,Tthanks a lot for the amazing and wonderfull articles,all of them,it seems a dream for me to could get these information,
    light,wealthy,healthy,love,happiness for you

    november 30th,2009/ 5:40 pm

  12. Frank says on November 20, 2009 at 9:45 am:

    Hello Mr. Brian Tracy,
    Thanks for the wonderful article about life as a whole(key word) and Business in particular(key requirement). I`ll use this article as my Ten Commandments to Business Success. Also, I always Switch on Sky Tv just to view your presentations on Selling & Achievement Success. Have yourself a long, healthy, wealthy & happy life Brian.

  13. Banjo Ore says on November 16, 2009 at 7:57 am:

    Am sory am going to say something different. i liv in Nigeria and just started a curriculum based Leadership Institute here in Ilorin Kwara state.
    I have some questions to ask about Certifications and othere issues
    Pls can you furnish me ith your email so I cam mail you and dinf out some stuff sir

  14. Bright Amu says on November 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm:

    An amazing keys to business owners like myself. I will use it as a business management proverbs. God Bless

  15. Jen Grisanti says on November 9, 2009 at 7:57 am:

    This is excellent advice and very useful information. Thank you!

  16. Summer says on November 8, 2009 at 6:52 pm:

    My failure is that,i didn’t have growth plan. i didn’t have many customers.

  17. Rob Rawson says on November 5, 2009 at 6:53 am:

    Good information. I think that specific measurements in your business, or creating a kind of dash board with all the key things that you are measuring is a good way to move towards success.

  18. Tracy Tran says on November 4, 2009 at 6:48 am:

    Dear Mr. Brian Tracy,

    Thanks for your sharing a great topic.

    Wish you have a good health & happy life.

    Best regards,

    Tracy Tran (from Vietnam)

  19. barlian tata winarta says on November 4, 2009 at 1:58 am:

    there all are important keys 4 success! thank’s Brian.

  20. Nike Ahmed says on November 3, 2009 at 11:44 pm:

    I love it Brian, its a powerful package.

  21. ANIL SHARMA says on November 3, 2009 at 8:43 pm:

    When the revenue part is increased it is up
    To managing team what strategy they
    Adopt regarding cost control because this will be one of the deciding factor in

  22. ANIL SHARMA says on November 3, 2009 at 8:36 pm:

    as stated above

  23. ANIL SHARMA says on November 3, 2009 at 8:30 pm:

    I do agree with Mr.Tracy that customer care and growth planning will enthusias
    You for higher sales resulting increased revenue

  24. Petra Creutziger says on November 3, 2009 at 7:31 pm:

    Thanks Brian for this great article.

    When I built my business I found that those are exactly the keys that make the difference and that is what I share with the business owners who work with me.
    Purpose: if there would only be one key, this would be it. And I would even go one step further: Not only have a purpose for being in business and be clear about it, but make your purpose your business. What is it that you are meant to do? Live your purpose and help other people with what you are passionate about.

    Customer Satisfaction: is an art and it is vital. Without it, a business is doomed to fail. (And there is ALWAYS room for improvement!)

    Adding value: by living your purpose – loving the work you do or doing the work you love – this comes automatically.

    Customer focus: without a customer, there is no business. What is the problem that you can help your customer fix?

    HOW?: The secret to achieving any goal: state it as a question, starting with “HOW” – How can I …get more customers, build a business from scratch, turn my passions into profits….

    Improvement Strategy: Anthony Robbins calls it CANI: constant and neverending improvement. Personal and professional development is the most powerful investment in yourself.

    Growth: requires the ability to think ahead, and the courage and confidence to think bigger than before.

    Planning: the one discipline that makes life easier and much less stressful.

    Thanks again Brian for sharing.

  25. Lori Winterhalter says on November 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm:

    I am a Remax Realtor in Portland, OR. This is a wonderful reminder of how to make my business continue to grow. I read every single thing you post and you are 1 reason I have had the success I have had this year because I read your success principles over and over & keep applying them. Thank you for the leader you are.

  26. Roniel says on November 3, 2009 at 11:56 am:

    Two thumbs up! you are truly great Mr.Brian.
    I’m in sales division. dealing with different nationalities here in Saudi Arabia.
    These articles will absolutey help the people who serve the customers in all kinds of business.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us.



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