One of my great passions in life is photography. I love making photos, documenting where I have been and especially capturing the moment when it involves family and friends.

There are three keys to making great photos. The first is to have a compelling foreground that catches the eye and draws it into the picture.  In the photo I took of my daughter, the blanket catches the eyes and draws us into the picture. The second is to have beautiful subject material. I might be biased, but I think my daughter is beautiful and makes a perfect subject. The third key to a great photo is to have a background that doesn’t distract from the subject, even better is one that complements the subject and the foreground. In this case, the background is blurry and out of focus dropping away from the subject.

Now what does all of this have to do with business? Both businesses and companies are the like photographs – they have keys to success.

There are three keys to successfully operating a great business. The first success key is ‘why you do what you do’. The second key, ‘who is your customer’. The third key to business, is ‘what is your customer buying’.

The first key to business is knowing, ‘why you do what you do’. Put another way – what is your purpose? For example, you own a boutique selling denim jeans and skirts. You could sell jeans and skirts so people have clothes. The ‘why’ is to clothe people. Or you could sell jeans and skirts that fit properly and flatter each of your customers ensuring they feel beautiful (a cute bottom as my wife would say) when they leave your boutique. In this case you are selling beauty. These businesses’ “clothing” and the “cute bottom” are good, they are just different and understanding the difference is the key.

The second key is knowing, ‘who your customer is’. Back to the denim and skirt store from above, are you selling to the actual person that is going to where the clothing? Or does the store specialize in children’s denim and skirts. In this case you have two customers, the child who wears the clothes and the parent who buys the clothes.

The last key is knowing, ‘what your customer is buying’. Back to the story once again – is your customer buying clothes or a cute bottom? These are two separate markets, understanding which you are in ensure you market to and find the right customer.

Just like pictures, not all businesses have all the keys, success is just much easier if you do.