Business Vision: Are you Focused on Success?
Focused effort is needed to achieve outstanding results. In business, having focus means establishing a clear goal or vision for the business and then implementing a simple, clear strategy for achieving that goal. It's a simple principle yet not always easy to achieve.
As business owners we have some natural tendencies that conspire to ensure focus is elusive. Business owners have creative minds. Necessity is the mother of all invention and as business owners we are aware that ingenuity is critical to success. The challenge arises when our creativity starts to distract us from our long-term path to success. What seems a good idea at the outset can take us on a journey that results in a lot of effort being expended for little gain.
Our comfort zones further compound the problem. This means we tend to work on those ideas that feel the most comfortable. Even if, deep down, we know they are not the most effective way to achieve business success. So how can you tell the high impact ideas from the distractions? How do you gain more focus and begin achieving outstanding results in your business?
Step 1: Determine if focus is an issue for you
Do you recognise any of the following behaviours in yourself?
A. Being all things to all people
Do you describe your target clients as "SME's" or another equally broad category? This is the equivalent to saying 'we work with just about anyone in business'. Will you service anyone who walks through the door rather than referring them on?
Are you able to transfer your learning from one project to another? Do you consider yourself a 'strong starter' and 'poor finisher'?
C. Difficulty making decisions
Ever felt in two minds about a business decision? Unsure as which was the right way to turn? Indecisiveness is one of the strongest indictors of a lack of focus.
If you recognise any of these behaviours taking place in your business then you'll probably benefit from getting more focus.
Step 2: Understand HOW being Focused will Benefit you
Achieving focus in business often requires people to change habits and move out of their comfort zone. To get focused you've got really want it. You need to be motivated to change. Here are some powerful reasons for getting focused:
- When you are operating in a focused manner, decision-making becomes a lot simpler and less stressful. It's easier to determine what you have to do and when.
- Being focused accelerates business growth and improves cash flow and profitability, since resources as used in a high impact and timely manner.
- Being focused is a powerful source of personal confidence. It gives you a clear sense of what your business stands for and offers a feeling of certainty in an uncertain world.
- Being focused is about working smarter not harder.
Small businesses are small fish in a big pond with limited resources. To get noticed and to build a solid business we have to maximise the impact of those limited resources. So ask yourself, is it going to be worthwhile putting in the effort required to achieve business focus?
Step 3: Revisit your Business Vision
Fundamental to achieving focus in your business is having a clear and compelling vision for the future of the business.
A. How clear is your vision for the future?
- What sort of clients will you be servicing?
- What will be your dollar turnover?
- What will your business have a reputation for?
- How many staff?
- Why will they like working for you?
- When will all of this happen?
B. Write down your vision then analyse it.
Try to make the language more specific. For instance, instead of just saying 'quality service', write down exactly how that quality is generated. Think about why other people, your clients, staff, family, may personally want to commit to achieving that vision.
Step 4: Shift from being Reactive to Proactive
The choice is a simple one.
You can either choose to be PROACTIVE. The more time you spend doing work that is planned, purposeful and that systematically delivers you to your vision, the better chance you have of success.
Or REACTIVE. The more time you spend being opportunistic and reactive the better chance you have of being distracted by a red herring and being unproductive.
Please note that being 'responsive' and being 'reactive' are two different things. The most highly responsive organisations are able to be that way because they're systematic and deliberate in their activities. There is a place for both reactive and proactive behaviour in business. Opportunism can be an excellent trigger for innovation and boosting cash flow by getting a quick sale can also be smart business. However, it's the proportion of time we spend being proactive versus reactive that will determine success.
Look at the work carried out in your business over the last week:
- What percentage would you classify as 'proactive' versus 'reactive'?
- Is it an appropriate mix for your business?
Proactive behaviour should predominate. Look at the work you classify as 'reactive':
- What activities have delivered long term advantage and which ones haven't?
- Find ways of being more purposeful and systematic with those activities that were advantageous and find ways of stopping those activities that weren't.
Achieving focus requires continuous improvement
In most businesses, focus comes as a result of constant evolution; a cycle of continuous learning and adjustment. We don't often get it right first time. However it is important to get started and to persist. Since the benefits can take you and your business to a new level of performance that you only dreamed was possible.
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