As a small business owner who works with other small business owners, I'm uniquely aware of the myriad pieces that should all be working together in seamless harmony to succeed. Sometimes these elements are purposefully integrated as symbiotic elements of a business process; other times the purposes they serve are separate but complimentary, and so their functioning partnership is equally as important. When each is in its own unique evolutionary stage, it can be the difference between success and failure. Essentially, you're either up-to-date or you're out of luck.

Although my traditional focus is on technology — and there certainly has been a lot written about the need to keep your technology up-to-date — I believe this same philosophy applies to all aspects of a business.

From products to suppliers, from vendors to packaging, marketing and advertising to systems and technology, it isn't easy to find the right balance between core strengths, level of importance and a "set it and forget it" attitude.

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