This week’s blog is shorter than usual. Why? Because I just haven’t been focused. And while there’s no ‘good’ time to lack business focus, perhaps some times are better than others. For instance, this week I’ve been enjoying such a great and satisfying time in my business that I’ve actually been a bit distracted. Yes, I’ve been having too good a time to focus properly on my blog!
But enough of my excuses.
Perhaps I need to get better at heeding my own advice, as I’ve blogged in the past about focus (HERE). Back then I wrote about challenges (such as committing to writing a weekly blog!) and the rewards that come with sticking to your guns. Back then my blogs were rewarding me with great feedback each week, and that’s a trend that has continued to grow steadily. Today it’s no easier to find the time to write than it was back in March, but I’m sticking with it because it’s part of my plan. And after all, even a shorter than normal blog is an awful lot better than an empty space. But in referring to my blogs, I’m only addressing the task at hand.
Focusing on the task at hand is a good way to tackle one facet of your business properly. But constantly squinting down at the details instead of looking at the bigger picture (pardon the cliché…) is a good way to stuff up your business. It’s like being a truck driver who’s so focused on watching his diesel gauge and getting the best fuel economy that he doesn’t spend a lot of time actually looking at the road ahead. A disaster waiting to happen.
Business focus should be directed at recognising your core business and working at what makes you money. What’s profitable. Don’t get it backwards, because if you’re spending time tidying up little details instead of keeping a sharp eye on the part of the deal that makes you money, you’ll run into trouble sooner rather than later. If the details are stressing you, either have someone else take care of them or simply take a moment to attend to them once you’re sure you have the big stuff sorted out. Notice I said ‘take a moment?’ Because even when things are ship-shape as far as profit is concerned, it’s all too easy to get distracted by other things and only turn your attention back to your core business when it’s too late. To continue the transport metaphors for a moment, business is like a ship. It doesn’t stop or turn immediately, its size and momentum mean it takes time to respond to your controlling inputs. If the captain of the Titanic had been given the ‘iceberg dead ahead’ warning one minute earlier, we’d all have been spared that dreadful movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Of course distractions don’t just come through details, they come through opportunities – or perceived opportunities - too. Am I suggesting that you stick to your knitting? As a matter of fact yes, I am. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade or seem anti-progress, but the cold facts suggest that for the majority of small businesses, just succeeding in one area while coping with competition and a fickle market is a pretty big deal in itself. By all means do your best to improve your capability and profitability in what you’re already doing, but think long and hard before you take off on another tangent altogether. Woollies may have made the jump into hardware with Masters, but even with the experts they have at their disposal, they still stuffed up their figures and forecasts in the beginning. Will they make a go of it? Very likely, but bear in mind that they have a hell of a lot more resources at their disposal than the average small business owner. If they need to throw buckets of money at a situation to keep it running while they get their act together, they can. The average small business owner simply doesn’t have that luxury.
My business is Debtor Finance and it’s going well for me. Yes, I might shuffle the formula some day and try a few new angles on the same theme, but don’t expect me to open a nightclub any time in the near future. (Sorry to all you party animals out there.)
So go forth, work out what turns a profit for your small business and focus on doing a bloody great job of it. It might sound obvious, but that really is one of the keys to small business success. Oh, and be careful committing to writing weekly blogs unless you’re dying to add another deadline to your life!
Wishing you all the best for your week in business.