Key factors for success

Key factors for success

In the business world there are so many things that attract our attention and therefore can distract us from the important issues that business leaders need to pay attention to.
Stephen Covey said: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”.

If business leaders have to focus on things that matter there is need to have something that will drive them towards that direction. For a business to succeed it needs to focus on its critical success factors.

Critical success factors (CSF), sometimes referred to as key success factors, are defined as “the essential areas of activity that must be performed well if you are to achieve the mission, objectives or goals for your business or project.”

They are the few key areas where things must go right for the business to flourish. It is imperative that management and staff pay very close and careful attention to such activities because they enable the organisation achieve its mission and objectives.

CSF are not only for organisations, individuals also have CSFs that will ensure that they achieve their mission in life.
These CSFs will drive the individual towards the attainment of his/her goal. Identifying critical success factors helps employees to concentrate on those things that matter for the success of the business.

Key success factors are not the measurements of success but are those factors that need to be done well in order to achieve your objectives.
In order to identify the CSFs we need to look first at the organisation’s mission and objectives and then see which are the areas that need attention for the organisation to achieve its mission and objectives.

To have maximum impact it’s usually advisable to keep the CSFs to a minimum of not more than five.
Each industry has its own unique industry-specific CSFs but companies in each industry might not have identical CSFs.
You need therefore to identify what will give you competitive advantage or an edge over competition, what it is that is central to the future of the organisation and to the achievement of that future.

Why are CSFs so critical for business? Businesses need to identify their CSFs because they allow firms to focus their efforts on building their capabilities to meet the CSF’s and eventually their mission and objectives.

An analysis of the hotel industry can show us some of the key success factors in the hospitality sector.
With the growth in the use of the internet in booking accommodation after customers have done their own reviews on comments about a hotel it’s very imperative that every hotel addresses the following CFSs namely, customer service, location, product differentiation, cost control, quality management, flexibility and global outlook.
Customer service is an integral part of any hotel experience. It starts right from the gatekeeper up to the top manager.
The first encounter with a hotel employee will create the first and the lasting impression. If that first impression is bad then everything else that the hotel staff do will be an uphill task trying to please the customer.

It is therefore very important that employees are well trained and are knowledgeable, courteous and are able to resolve any conflicts that might arise with customers.
Some of this service will entail the frontline staff knowing names and preferences of repeat visitors and giving customers areas of interest to visit within the area.
The location of a hotel is another important critical success factor. A hotel located on a place with scenic views is likely to attract a lot of tourists compared to one located in a run-down part of the city.
The appeal of the location will depend on the type of customer the hotel is serving. Business travellers and tourists will value locations differently.
A hotel should therefore advertise also emphasising its location to its target market.
Hotels thrive by offering a unique experience to its visitors.

The unique experience could be its location, the special cuisine it provides or the reception that its employees give to its visitors.
This product differentiation is very important if the hotel has to stand out from the crowd.

Managing costs is another CSFs. Controlling costs will enable a hotel to offer discounted rates, attractive packages for business or social travellers.
However cost control should not be done at the expense of good customer service where employees become dissatisfied because they are being paid very low wages or when amenities are not being upgraded.

Hotels now compete on a global scale. Because of the internet international tourists scout for hotels all over the world before they make bookings.
Big or small, locally owned hotels should be able to compete on an international basis to be successful.

Tourists can choose from destinations all over the world and they can easily research on the net the quality of local or international hotels when making their selection.
A hotel should aim to compete through provision of a unique unforgettable experience and not on price only. It’s important therefore for hotels to be aware of what attracts customers and what will ensure repeat business.

Another key success factor is quality management. Quality management encompasses how management ensures employees are satisfied, motivated and empowered.
A satisfied employee will reflect this through his/her behaviour when he/she meets a customer. Happiness is contagious and so a happy employee will positively impact a customer.
Employees should also be empowered so that they can have the necessary authority to make decisions to accommodate customers’ issues where possible.
Each CSF should be linked to a goal and be measurable or observable for it to be effective.

It is important to have a good grasp of the business environment, your industry, your company and your competition as you develop your organisation’s CSFs.
Stewart Jakarasi is a business & financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy and performance management.

He provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.
lFor assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: sjakarasi@gmail.com or +266 58881062 or on WhatsApp +266 62110062

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