SBM #53 – Focus

Focus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many entrepreneurs’ struggles can be traced to their inability to bring focus to their business. It is said that if you try to be great at everything, you’ll end up being good at nothing. I like to use the example of sunlight to explain the power of focus.

The Power of Focus

Most day our world is full of sunlight and even on the hottest of days there’s little risk of it setting anything on fire. But take that same sunlight and let it pass through a magnifying glass held at just the right angle and within seconds you can create a flame. Then, if properly stoked, it can become a raging inferno. That’s the power of focus and by applying the principles of focus to your business can take a mediocre enterprise and turn it into one that is highly profitable and sustainable.

Not That Popular

Bringing focus is easier than most realize and can applied to many areas of your business but none are more important than sales and marketing. The first step is to identify your most profitable products and services and then rank them. You’ll most likely discover that upwards of 80% of your revenue is coming from approximately 20% of your services or products. This is key. Far too often we waste time and energy on our slow moving products. One of the reasons we do this is that they offer higher margins but also because we hate admitting we made a mistake. However, in many instances these more profitable products are just not that popular.

Now, do the same with your customers. You need to determine, their purchase frequency and order size. Chances are that you’ll find an interesting overlap of your most profitable products and type of customers.

Now here comes the hard part. Ideally you should look to lose or reduce your activity opposite these low volume or unprofitable products. Next, stop chasing those non-profitable customers and focus all your attention on those products, services and customers that are making you money.

For example, if you discover that the most profitable customers are those with 10-20 employees, then that size of company becomes your focus. Clearly, you have something they want, otherwise they wouldn’t be your biggest market. Can you have a secondary target market? Of course, but in most cases, you’ll never exhaust the primary list.

Outliers

Meanwhile, if non-targeted customers want to avail themselves of your business, that’s okay and you should gladly accept their business. But point is you shouldn’t be chasing them, let them come to you, they are outliers. Focus on those individuals or companies where you’ve already experienced a higher level of success and spend all your sales and marketing efforts accordingly.

Narrowing your focus helps you to become an industry specialist or even an expert. The deeper you go in your target market the higher your reputation will soar and the more in demand you become.

Light a fire under your business by narrowing your focus.

I’m Greg Weatherdon and this has been your Small Business Minute.

You may also enjoy The 80/20 Rule

Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2017

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SBM #52 – What If?

What if you could start all over again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if, you could start your business all over again? What would you do differently? What do you like or dislike about your current business? What would you change?

Why Mess With A Good Thing?

These sound like simple questions and that’s because they are. As entrepreneurs, we seem to get ourselves trapped into doing things one way. And why wouldn’t we, if it’s brought us some success? Why mess with a good thing, right? Not necessarily.

One of the problems is that the longer we’re in business, the harder it is to make changes. We’ve managed to survive and maybe even consider ourselves successful or resigned ourselves to the fact that this is as good as it gets, even if deep down inside we know it could be better. But aren’t entrepreneurs supposed to work hard and overcome challenges? Of course, but not everyday!

It’s Not A Fair Trade

Didn’t you go into business to have a better life? I don’t believe anybody goes into business to sacrifice their life or their family for the cause. But so many do and all the long they know it’s not right. It’s not a fair trade, but they do it anyways, and many lose more than they gain.

So, what if you could do a “do over”? How would organize and operate your business differently than it is now? Should you have grown bigger or stayed smaller? Would you have a larger staff or less? Should you have targeted different customers? Should you have narrowed your product offerings? Wish you could have more automation or electronic processes?

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

The point is we all make mistakes and head down rabbit holes that take our businesses to places we wish we weren’t. Then, for some reason we lose sight that we absolute control over our destiny. We forget that we can change whatever we want and all it takes is a little courage and faith in our abilities. Don’t let fear stop you from something better.

Transitioning a business to where you’d really like it to be, is not a revolution, but more an evolution. The reality is we have existing commitments to clients, staff and suppliers. Refocusing our business should be done gradually, unless of course there is a crisis. Doing so, gives you the chance to monitor each change you make to ensure they are impactful and taking you where you want the business and your life to go.

Don’t Overwhelm Your Organization

Alternatively, the revolutionary approach risks alienating employees and customers and potentially overwhelming your organization with changes that can’t be managed. Doing too much too fast can leave you worse off than before.

So, what if you could do it all over again? What do you wish your ideal business would look like? Write it down. Don’t let the fact that you don’t know how to do something stop you. You can learn how or find someone who does know and get the help you need.

The objective is to get started down the road to reinventing the business you really want and it all starts with the simple question – What if?

I’m Greg Weatherdon and this has been your Small Business Minute.

You may also enjoy Define Your Own Success

An interesting read Shoe Dog

Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2017

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SBM #51- The 1st Million Is The Hardest

The 1st Million, Is The Hardest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As entrepreneurs, we all set goals. It’s a way to measure our progress. The biggest difference I have found between individuals is the size of the goals. Some people are just more ambitious than others. But the size of ones’ ambition is not a precursor to success.

“Without Goals

We Risk Drifting Aimlessly”

Goals are wonderful, they keep us moving forward. Much like a ships compass, goals give us a heading or a direction in which to sail, even when our destination is over the horizon. Goals give us focus, because without them, we risk drifting aimlessly.

One of the most common goals entrepreneurs have, is a million dollars! It could be a million dollars in sales, a million dollars in profit or a million dollars in wealth. Regardless of what anybody says, a million dollars is still a lot of money and damn hard to achieve. and the 1st million is the hardest. The million dollar goal was immortalized by The Barenaked Ladies hit “If I Had A Million Dollars”.

The problem with having such lofty goals is that, although achievable, they’re rarely short term, nor easily attained. When you think about it, if we were to measure our progress on a daily basis, most of us would become disillusioned very quickly. The painfully slow progress would be akin to watching a kettle boil.

Patience and Resilience

Most big goals require the compounding effects of time and effort to achieve. Having a healthy dose of patience and resilience usually doesn’t hurt. A major setback can easily destroy the will to continue our journey, turning a goal into another failed impossibility.

To avoid the goal crushing reality that are part of the entrepreneurial life, I use a simple formula or process to break down my loftier goals into a series of smaller more manageable objectives. Simply put, if the 1st million dollars is the hardest, it also stands to reason that the $10,000 is the hardest. Yet $10,000 feels much more achievable in the short term.

Intermediary Goals

Once we get to that 1st $10,000 under our belt, we can set our sights on the $20,000 mark, then $30,000 and so on, relishing in our achievements along the way. Before we know it, we’re hitting our 1st $100,000 and have settled in and marking off the mileposts of our smaller, yet more manageable, intermediary goals.

Whenever, I’m faced with a large seemingly insurmountable goal, I always try to remind myself of the adage on how to eat an elephant and that’s one bite at a time.

Celebrate Our Successes

I know this sounds simple and that’s because it is. By setting smaller more realistic short term goals it gives us the opportunity to celebrate our successes along the way. More importantly though, these shorter goals allow us to refine our methods so we can achieve the next one much faster than the previous one.

Setting smaller more numerous goals will give you a sense of progress. Success can then be measured in months versus years, if not decades. Because the 1st million is the hardest.

An interesting read Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini

Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2017

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Get More Life Out Of Your Business

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