Focus on What is Important for YOU
I recently facilitated my signature, “Optimising entrepreneurs for Success” workshop in Kempton Park to a group of entrepreneurs from the East Rand area. As tradition, everyone has an opportunity to give that ever illusive ‘elevator’ pitch on their business and as always, 50% (or more) of the business owners are unable to articulate what it is that they do but most importantly the value of what they do. This question of “how does your offering make life easier for your clients?’ is not answered adequately.
Because of the nature of my interventions, a significant amount is spent on equipping the person behind the business to soar in self-leadership which translates into them leading with purpose and embodying their vision for their companies. It is difficult to follow a leader who is erratic, constantly stressed and unable to make decisions. I find that there is a link between the inability to articulate what the business does and its value and the lack of self-leadership. People who are not in charge of themselves exhibit self-doubt and this directly impacts the conviction when talking about their businesses.
In trying to mask this self-inadequacy, some entrepreneurs get involved in a LOT of other businesses. There is nothing wrong with various business interests but for me it raises an alarm when someone has been an entrepreneur for a year or so and already they are involved in five or six other ventures. This says one of two things:
- You are trying to cover your bases and hope that one of these ‘pops’ soon (one day) and you bank well; or
- You are in this just for financial gain (again nothing wrong with that but often times I’s not enough to motivate you when the going gets tough).
Upon further diagnosis, I have found the two points are always at play and the first point is what breeds the high numbers of small business failures. As entrepreneurs we get into the trap of being ‘a jack of all trades and master of none’. If you tell me you are in renewable energy; in construction and in distribution…and all these businesses are in similar levels of development, what are you saying? You are saying to me as a Coach that focus and prioritisation is a challenge for you.
I am an advocate of focus because when you are not clear about what it is you want to achieve, focus is almost impossible. So when I take clients through a process of getting them to heightened levels of ‘focus’ we inevitably take a few steps back to crystalise the goal and we take even further and articulate the why (deepening the value of that particular goal). When the point of departure is bigger than yourself- when you have an understanding of whom else is impacted, who else benefits and which areas of your life benefit from you achieving your set goal, you increase your chances for success. Understanding and owning the why paves the way for focus.
Focus stems from understanding that time is a limited resource and you can only do so much in a day. You also need to understand that you play various roles in your life, you may be a wife, a husband, a mother, a father, a business owner, a mentor, a friend, etc., etc. It is impossible to meet the demands of each responsibility equally everyday. So adding three other businesses on your plate means one or more of your other roles will take the backseat. Upon careful analysis is of which roles take a backseat at that particular time, you may decide you want to push the business part. You then need to create a prioritisation list and action guide.
Below are some of the questions you need to answer for yourself:
- Why am I interested in business A, B & C? (Are these part of MY purpose in business or am I being pulled in by other factors?)
- Which one of these opportunities gets me excited; once I start I cannot stop?
- What are the short-medium term goals in my business life?
- How am I ensuring that I am fit and have clarity of mind as I embark on this journey?
- How do I guide my journey and myself to not chase OTHERS dreams for my life?
This list is just a glimpse into some of the element entrepreneurs need to work through to get them to that pinnacle point of clarity that translates into acute focus. Once you have focus and clarity, that elevator pitch tumbles out your mouth, not only that but it is genuine as well. You won’t feel the need to over compensate by narrating an essay hoping your confusion is not passed one to the next person. Your confidence in articulating what you do will speak volumes!
Focus is key but a deeper understanding of why you are doing something is the starting point!