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Soldiers of Fortune

"Business is a battlefield" is more than just a cliche for this company.

By April Y. Pennington

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Approach Advanced Internet Technologies Inc.'s headquarters,and you'll wonder if you've got the right address. The twoconcrete buildings that house the Fayetteville, North Carolina, Webhosting company are protected 24/7 with cameras and alarmsystems--even partially by armed guards and chain link and barbedwired fences. Founder and CEO Clarence Briggs started AIT in 1996while still an infantry major in the Army, doing double-duty untilhe decided to pursue his venture full time a year later. Still, hehasn't forgotten his roots and demonstrates just how muchmilitary experience can be applied to business.

Briggs leads with the same sense of discipline and structurealready instilled in him and much of his staff--80 percent have amilitary background, and seven of the eight senior executives havehad top-secret clearance. Leadership management, goodorganizational skills, depth training and synchronization are fourkey principles he has implemented at AIT. "That's what weknew and understood," explains Briggs, 43. "It'seffective, because there are a lot of similarities between themarketplace and the battlefield. You've got competitive forces,whether it's competing for resources, market share or keyterrain."

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