Key Success Factors Directory: Articles, Books, Explanations And More

key success factors

Key Success Factors of business and life is a primary focus of the Leadership Counseling Institute. We were one of the first websites to identify the five key success factors of business and have published a number of articles and two books on the subject. This page is a directory of all the key success factor information on our site, LCIweb.com.

Key Success Factors Explained

The whole concept of “Key Success Factors,” also known as Critical Success Factors and KSFs, has to do with the fact that it is impossible for any business or manager to focus attention and resources on every single little thing that makes a business run smoothly, such as copier paper or emptying trash. In general 80 percent of the value comes from 20 percent of the activities of a business. Once you know what those top high-leverage factors are, you can be sure to make them priorities, focus attention and resources on them, and enhance your business success. 

We might define “success factor” as “one of several elements that consistently cause or produce success in any business or organization.” Implicit in this definition is the important awareness that one success factor by itself will NOT cause full success, any more than pure sugar will make a cake. Instead, just as with a good recipe, success factors must be combined in the right combinations to yield successful results.

After studying many lists of success factors by different authors and “experts” as noted above, including his own real-world business consulting experience, Leadership Counseling Institute CEO Buck Lawrimore was finally able to cut to the core of why certain success factors are essential for any business or organization. The reason is, quite simply, because they reflect the very nature of what a business or organization is and does. Here’s how this works:

  • Every organization is composed of people (employees, associates, managers etc.) and things (offices, equipment, money etc.).
  • Every organization engages in activities which are internal and external.
  • Every organization has a focus or purpose (like making money or serving the public).

But it is not just the existence of these factors that ensures success. They exist in all organizations, by definition. It is the management of these factors, how they are used, that ensures success. To turn organizational factors like those above into success factors, we need to use more business-like language. Keep in mind the very simple, realistic foundation of these success factors as described above, and they will be like your anchor in the storm, or a house built on rock.         

Each of these success factor names is symbolic – no one word captures all the dimensions of each factor, but the words we have chosen are simple, widely used, and easy to understand. Just remember not to oversimplify as you think about and use them.

  1. Strategy – Maintaining a distinctive focus and purpose, including internal elements such as core values, and external elements such as market strategy and strategic planning; managing the business as a whole
  2. People – Your employees and personnel within the business, or as this function is often called, human resources, including training and learning
  3. Operations – Your internal activities, what your people do all day
  4. Marketing – Your external activities, much more than selling to customers, as we will discuss
  5. Finances – Not just your money but your equipment, furnishings, facilities and all the other “things” your company owns or leases

Business Success Book - Key Success FactorsThe articles directory above contains multiple links to more information on these 5 key success factors. You might also want to consider purchasing a copy of The Business Success Book – Secrets of Managing, Marketing, and Other Key Success Factors to Boost Your Business, written by Buck Lawrimore.

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