What Does It Mean to Focus?
Focus seems to be one of those very popular buzz words as of late, but what does it really mean? This is something we struggle with in our business and we see the same struggle with many of our coaching clients who are small business owners.
One thing that has become painfully obvious to me as a business owner, is that once you’re engaged in your business, you rarely lack for opportunities. Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great and Built to Last quoted David Packard (co-founder of Hewlett-Packard) who said, “Companies rarely starve from a lack of opportunities, but instead suffer from indigestion from too many opportunities.”
Jack and I spend a lot of time on marketing our business. But it wasn’t until we sat down a month ago that we realized that even though we were spending a lot of time on marketing, we weren’t doing a good job of being focused about it. Yes, we had a sense that we were not as focused as we should be, but we hadn’t been doing anything about it!
We decided to meet for a couple of hours to talk about our marketing activities with the hope that it would bring some much needed focus to the activities that were having the best results for our business. We compiled a list of all the marketing activities and in about 5 minutes we came up with 11 activities. As is typically the case with almost anything it seems, we found that more than two-thirds of our client had come from 2 or 3 of our activities (pretty much the old 80/20 rule).
So we asked ourselves why should we spend so much of our time on these other activities that hadn’t yet proven to deliver results. So as we often encourage our clients to do, we got FOCUSED. We have since changed our daily call agenda to help ensure that we are focused on those couple of items that help us grow our business. That doesn’t mean we stopped the other activities, we’ve just given them less of a priority where the top couple of items are now on our daily agendas.
Focus to me means keeping things simple. Simple means to have 1 or 2 things that consume your time & thoughts. Here are a couple of things you can do to help get some focus in your business:
1. Pick out the most important thing for your business. What is the #1 thing you and your team should be thinking about every day when you wake up in the morning? Sounds easy but it’s hard to boil it down to one thing. For us right now, the #1 thing is generating suspects for our business (suspects who will turn into prospects and then into clients).
2. Make sure you meet/talk about this #1 thing every day, even if it’s just a couple of minutes. Jack and I talk every morning at 6:45am to touch base on our suspect generation.
3. Take action on this #1 thing every day. Some days it may take 5 minutes, others it may take an hour, but be conscious of doing something to help make progress on the #1 thing. Our daily activities vary from following up with a person we have met through our referral system (click here to have us email you our referral system) to attending a BNI meeting or having lunch with a contact.
A great thing about focus is that it enables you to make progress. If you’ve done a good job of identifying the #1 thing for the success of your business, then you should see positive results over time. If you’re not getting the results you want (in our case it’s an increase in the number of suspects we see), you’ll know after focusing on it for a while that either you picked the wrong #1 thing to focus on, or you need to change the things you’re trying to make it work.
Over time, this #1 thing should change. For us, getting more suspects won’t always be our top focus. It may change next month or next year to bringing on additional coaches or something else. The wonderful thing is we know that if we identify that #1 thing and focus on it every day that we’ll make progress on it. It’s these day-to-day baby steps that lead to the significant changes not only in your business, but in your personal lives as well!