Distraction is almost always the enemy of success.
The modern world is designed to distract us. From social media to smartphones, we have notifications and noise coming at us from all directions.
That means that in a business context, and especially so for entrepreneurs, we can get distracted by trying to do too many things at once. We get “shiny new object syndrome.” If you have unlimited time, resources and money, why not experiment and try multiple different products, services, strategies and ideas?
That could be the mindset for some. However, in the absence of limitless availability, focus becomes your best friend.
Success might mean acknowledging that you will focus on only a few things at any one time. This allows you to give each thing a fair go, which will also allow you to make a fair assessment on whether to continue a project or not.
Focus on your vision
Imagine you get into your car. You know you want to go somewhere, but you’re not sure where. You drive around for a while. Maybe you find a nice place to stop, or perhaps you get stuck in traffic. You don’t know where you’re going — you’re just driving.
That is the way that many people start (and run) their business. It’s great in the beginning as you experiment, but it will not allow you to be productive and grow.
When you plug your destination into your GPS system, you get there faster. You may encounter traffic on the way or even closed roads, but you deal with these on your ultimate path. It allows you to navigate these challenges more easily and make informed decisions when you know where you are going.
Formulating a vision and shared philosophy for your business may not be urgent, but it is important. It allows you to achieve success in the long term.
Focus on what’s important, not just what is urgent
A trap that I see many entrepreneurs falling into is a constant flurry of busy-ness. Meetings, networking events and client calls — their diary is packed. They rarely ever stop to question whether they really need to be doing all those activities or what value they really bring. Everything feels urgent, and many entrepreneurs continue running on that treadmill. (Putting out fires! LuciditySBM)
It may make us feel good about ourselves to stay busy. It’s treated almost like a badge of honor. However, the bigger question is whether we are being impactful.
Constantly running on that treadmill and not taking the time to reflect, reassess and restrategize may keep us stuck where we are rather than allowing us to grow. It may prevent us from seeing the highest growth areas in our business, identifying future trends and anticipating roadblocks.
In other words, this treadmill can keep us reactive rather than proactive.
Focus on mastering your niche before diversifying
Rather than focusing solely on external factors and competition, acknowledge these factors and focus on what you can control. Before Google became the search engine of choice, there was Ask Jeeves (and a few others). Google came along and did search engines better than anyone before them.
You may not aspire to be the next Google, but you can focus on being the absolute best you can be.
What product or service can you offer that you can be the “best in the world” at doing? What problem are you here to solve in a unique way? Focusing on those questions, rather than trying to copy or outdo your competitors, means that you can really get to work at serving your customers.
It’s a lot easier to scale a niche that you’ve mastered.
Don’t forget. Timing is everything.
Focusing on a particular goal, with measures to track success of that focus area, will enable you to plan more effectively in the short and medium term. This will enable you to make informed decisions about what to leverage and what to let go of in your business.