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Gaining Strategic Advantage via Key Success Factors (KSF)

Key Success Factors (KSF) are the particular areas of an industry or business where a company can gain the most competitive advantage by focusing resources. They are the critical areas of “where to compete” and “how to compete.” Competing via the KFS means you attempt to do what everyone else does, but do it better. This translates to a “head-on” competition playing the “same game.”

Key Success Factors 1

Key Success Factors


  1. Define “where to compete”
    • Identify potential customer and product segments
    • Match product groups to market segments
    • Identify revenue potential of segments
    • Choose the most attractive segments to compete in
  2. Define “how to compete
    • Identify value chain steps
    • Identify variables within each step
    • Identify the most critical points in terms of delivering value to the customers
    • Choose the step which can provide sustainable competitive advantage
  3. Perform benchmarking. Account for inadequacies and reformulate strategy. Evaluate company’s capabilities relative to competitors.
  4. Make a strategic decision on key success factors. Determine if competing head-on via the KSF is a feasible way of attaining competitive advantage. Determine amount of investment into the KSF required to achieve competitive advantage.