Article originally posted in and nationally syndicated by the American City Business Journals on March 6, 2017.

The success of any company depends on the recognition by the CEO – as well as all the company’s employees – of the company’s core businesses, those areas that are critical to its success.

Many CEOs describe their company as being in one core business – most often delivering a product or service to their customers or clients. Other CEOs and their employees recognize that their company is also in other core businesses, all of which are critical to building preeminence and competitive advantage.

Why is this recognition important? It focuses time and resources on those areas of the business that support all core businesses, which helps the company to become the preferred provider to its market.

I have written that Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is in two core businesses. Its primary core business is providing internet and telephone service, as well as subscription TV service and content to its customers. Because this primary core business is so customer-service intensive, Comcast is also in the core business of providing a great customer experience.

In fact, Comcast’s reputation is very dependent on how well the company provides a great experience when a customer calls, whether it’s to resolve a technical or billing issue with their service, or for help operating their remote.

Comcast has recently recognized the importance of delivering a great customer experience, and as they focus on and invest resources in this core business, their historically low annual American Customer Satisfaction Index survey results will certainly improve.

J2 Solutions is a firm that, among other services, provides clients with contract individuals who have the needed technical skills to meet intermediate manpower staffing requirements.

A typical J2 client might be a company implementing a new HR system, but lacks the internal personnel to manage the project. The company would turn to J2 to provide a project manager for the project. Another J2 client might want to automate a back-office process, but lacks the internal expertise to do so. J2 will provide that expertise and get the project done.

From 2012 through 2014, J2’s revenues have grown by more than 550 percent. The firm was named one of the fastest-growing companies on the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Inc. 5000 lists. J2 was ranked ninth on the 2014 Philadelphia 100 list and appeared on this list in 2015 and 2016. The firm was also awarded the Philly 50 On Fire and the Smart CEO Corporate Culture Awards.

I recently had a conversation with Vijay Khatnani, founder and managing partner of J2, to learn why J2 has been so successful. It soon became apparent that Khatnani recognizes that his firm is in three core businesses.

The primary business of J2 is providing a great experience to clients in need of people with the talent and expertise to successfully meet their short- and long-term project staffing needs.

This primary core business is supported by two other core businesses: identifying and building a database of individuals with the talent and expertise to undertake future client assignments, and having a system and processes in place to match these individuals to clients with specific needs.

The speed at which J2 can fulfill a client’s needs with an individual with the right experience and skill set increases its competitive advantage.

In my conversation with Khatnani, it was very apparent that he wants J2 to continue the journey to be the best-in-class in the region in all three core businesses of the firm.

This is how any firm builds preeminence and becomes the go-to firm for clients in need of services – the preferred provider in the marketplace. This is the universal principle that determines the success of all businesses.

Stan Silverman is founder and CEO of Silverman Leadership. He is a speaker, advisor and nationally syndicated writer on leadership, entrepreneurship and corporate governance. Silverman earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering and an MBA degree from Drexel University. He is also an alumnus of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. He can be reached at

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One response to “You Can’t Compete If You Don’t Know Your True Core Businesses”

  1. Herb Hess says:

    Perhaps a good follow up article would be a description of how leaders distill and identify their core business. Starting with the Customer POV, what value does the customer pay for and attach to.


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