“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” Anthony Robbins
During boom periods we tend to spread ourselves thinly over too many projects. This places a great strain on the business and dilutes the focus away from core business units. When times get tough I like to sit down with the team and map out priorities. What has been working? What has not been working? What do we want to achieve? When do we want to achieve it by? and, How will we achieve it? These are some questions I use to start up discussions and get everyone involved in the future direction of the business. As a small business we have to realize from the very get go that we cannot be everything to everyone. We have to pick our spots wisely and make sure we can cater to that one segment really well.
In the past I have made the mistake of drifting away from core business units one to many a time. It may be due to the fact that settling into a routine is something I do not like particularly. I need something different or exciting to be happening. Well after a couple of years as an entrepreneur I can attest to the fact if you keep changing the color of your business whenever you get ‘bored’ very little progress is going to be made. When you look at small businesses which succeed there is always a laser like focus on doing something much better than anyone else doing it. Also there is constant improvement on the product/service. One service which comes to mind is 37signals. They have a bunch of productivity apps which I highly recommend such as Highrise and Basecamp. 37signals has developed for itself a highly profitable niche. It keeps its products as simple as possible and has managed to amass a legion of fans.
Whether a business is experiencing a huge upturn or is stuck in a downward spiral, it is essential they maintain focus on what they set out to do. Select your niche carefully, build a product or deliver a service that brings value to your customers and do not lose sight of your end goals. The future of your business could depend on it.
I also know what it’s like to change your business goals just because you’re bored with them. I started a music business, consulting business and got into about 8 network marketing groups within a matter of 4 years. It was a challenge to stay focused on the big picture purpose of my company while zooming in on each particular area and analyzing new opportunities. And alot of times, I got off track (or at least I thought so).
In the last year, I’ve analyzed my business operations to make sure that they are congruent with my vision. By applying laser beam focus to the activities that I’ve taken a part of, I’ve discovered that alot of them were the right activities – but I had applied them in the wrong way. I turned them into the “main thing” and they were only designed to support the main thing.
I think that when we apply laser beam focus to the activities we’ve taken a part of in boom times, we find a common thread in our vision. We discover who we are at our core. In downturns, we are forced to do what we do best and tie everything else in. The way we relate these things back to our original vision is through focus.
Thank you very much for sharing your experience on the matter of focus Thomas. Greatly appreciate it.
Finding that core focus is what it is all about. Without that guiding principle it is very easy to fall of the track.
I hope 2009 is a great year for you and your business.