Focus changes everything

Another lifetime ago, when I worked at the CBC, one of the first lessons, we learned was writing a focus statement to structure the subject – otherwise the interview would wobble all over the place and go on forever.  It was stated at the top of the research so the line of questioning followed the focus.

Sometimes it was challenging to articulate a clear focus and inevitably, those interviews usually went off the rails, with everyone feeling a little lost about exactly why were doing the interview and talking to that particular person. Not a good use of airtime or the audience’s attention.

I’ve been reminded of that in the past couple weeks as I’ve doing business development sessions with entrepreneurs. They are working in their businesses. They are wondering why their businesses hasn’t taken off. They aren’t exactly sure why they are doing what they are doing, or they are unclear about the customers they are serving or targeting the profitable market.

Sometimes at beginning stages of the business, you need to do market research to explore exactly where there is a market that will pay you for your business. Or sometimes in a period of growth or changes in the marketplace, a company can get lost and lose its aims.

So, take time to become laser focused before you waste too much energy and time.  Rather than trying to do everything, you must question – and stop doing – everything that isn’t mission-critical. You have to start saying no… in order to say yes.

Here are 3 ideas to help you get focused.

1.    Start with the why.  That’s actually the title of Simon Sinek’s book. For me, knowing I am serving a larger vision inspires and motivates me. That ideal provides the framework for all other goals, activities or marketing to occur. The why is not money or profit. Those are results.

2.    Narrow your focus. It is a bit counter-intuitive but the real power comes when you refine exactly what you do and who exactly you are in business to serve. Narrowcasting is more than a broadcast term.

3.    Focus changes everything.  It shapes your world. If you want to re-design your business, re-shape your focus. As the Buddha says – “we are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.

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