On the 50th anniversary of the magazine McKinsey Quarterly, Ian Davis, former managing partner of McKinsey & Company and now Rolls Royce Holdings chairman, outlined some of the keys to business longevity.

Here is a condensed version of those keys:

1 | Relentlessly focus on your customers | Constantly seek out what your best and most innovative customers are doing.

2 | Engage your key suppliers | Let suppliers help you solve problems and identify opportunities so that these activities also become key sources of insight.

3 | Avoid introversion | Actively seek to understand broader trends outside your own organizations and industries.

4 | Challenge legacy thinking and mindsets | Tolerate, even encourage, the cost of internal competition and cannibalization.

5 | Avoid hubris | Create a culture of dissatisfaction with current performance, however good.

6 | Focus relentlessly on values | Encourage the judgment of a company’s values by actions and behavior, not words and mission statements.

7 | Engage younger generations | Stimulate innovation and prevent generational barriers.

8 | Engage older generations | Use them to provide context and wisdom and help prevent generational barriers.

Bottomline for those who own and run a small business: Success, as measured by longevity, is a metric of how well you help your customers succeed—not how much you sell to them. It’s the measurement of how deeply customers view your marketing as help, not hype.

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A version of this appeared on the blog of Hammock Inc., the company that created and manages SmallBusiness.com.

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