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I can distill my business philosophy based on my experiences at 10 different organizations into the 7Ps of a successful business, as outlined below.

The number one determining factor in the success of a business is the people involved. It’s all about getting the right people “on the bus” in order to create a unique, lasting company. I’m talking about those special individuals that value the relationship and see the benefits of supporting the business. In building your business, consider implementing a process and policies that identify, attract and retain “A talent” (i.e. Topgrading).

As best stated by marketing maven Seth Godin, in order for a product or service to succeed, it must be truly remarkable. Far too often, companies tend to build products they know, rather than meeting a real need or solving a specific problem. What problem is your company solving for customers today? What problems will your customers face tomorrow and how are you prepared to help?

All companies benefit from a highly developed process, whether in manufacturing or marketing. Companies (often startups) experiencing significant growth tend to lack the ability to evolve processes with the company. This leads to internal failures that eventually affect delivery of products and services to the customer. Spend enough time up front to create a scalable infrastructure, people and systems to anticipate and manage growth.

Having the right strategic partners on board can impact all aspects of business, from sales and marketing to customer support and operations. On the other hand, a non-strategic partner can inhibit growth and cripple a company. If you have a good idea of what you need in a partner, make sure the companies you align with can meet or exceed your expectations. More importantly, view your customers as partners as well.

As your company matures, it’s easy to sit back and enjoy what appears to be a successful company. All companies should be relentlessly refining all aspects of the business, including people, product, process and partners to look for additional opportunities to increase efficiencies. No business is ever 100 percent optimized in terms of productivity.

Many people believe in luck. Those people tend to spend more time in Vegas than growing their business. I don’t believe in luck. As a believer in good karma and keen intuition, I’ve found that success in business requires a combination of good ideas and even better timing. Create your own karma by identifying, defining and monitoring emerging trends.

Every business owner, investor and employee wants to be part of a profitable organization. Unfortunately, too many companies are run by the bottom line, instead of the other way around. By focusing on the first six Ps outlined above, the seventh P (profitability) will naturally follow. Successful companies have the right people building and supporting a product that meets the needs of their customers. Refined processes, strategic partners, improved productivity and a prophetic view of your industry will lead to sustained growth and profitability.

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With a background in integrated marketing, Lewis left a public relations agency in 1996 to start his search engine marketing career. Since then, he has focused on helping clients solve business problems via the Internet.

Lewis founded Anvil Media, Inc. in 2000 to help clients enhance their Web site performance, increase their visibility and generate sales online. In recent years, he’s worked at Portland full-service agencies including Young & Roehr Group, Wave Rock Communications and KVO. Lewis was also Director of Marketing and Business Development at and co-founder of eROI. He is co-founder and president of SEMpdx, a local professional organization.

Lewis is creator and Editor-in-Chief of Anvil, a free monthly e-zine. He is an adjunct professor at Portland State University and sits on the board for SMART. Lewis is actively involved in local charitable organizations like Loaves & Fishes and SMART. In 2003, he founded Anvil’s Annual Get SMART Gala to raise awareness for children’s literacy and created pdxMindShare to help connect Portland-area employees and employers through a networking event and weekly emails.

Lewis is the recipient of Portland Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 Award in 2004.

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