The Importance Of Focus When You Run A Business

When you first start your business, you feel a surge of excitement from your great idea, and a sense of certainty that “this is it”!  You have done your homework and you just know that this will work.  In a way, it feels like having a child and you put your entire heart and soul into the process.  And then, you get your first client, then your second and your third…hurray!  You’re thrilled to have your great idea validated by others who are willing to pay you for your product or service.

Growth means getting more clients.  At this point you’re not too picky about who they are.  After all, you have all of those startup expenses to cover so any revenue is good revenue.  You find yourself becoming busier so you hire a team to help you.  You figure out ways to support your growing base of clients.  A smooth talking sales guy demonstrates a new software application to you and promises that it will make you more efficient so you sign up.  Sure, learning to use it takes up more of your time than you had hoped, but technology is fundamental to growth so you stay up later at night to get it done.

Now suppliers are calling you asking for information.  And potential suppliers seem to be calling non stop…although some of their ideas sound pretty good so you accept.  But if one more credit card processor calls because their manager will be “in the area tomorrow” and “only needs 15 minutes”…argh!  Your staff needs more direction than you had hoped.  Why can’t they just see what needs to be done and do it?  Administration seems to be taking up way too much of your time when what you really love and are best at is being with clients.  Well, not all clients.  Mrs. Jones is calling again.  She spends a decent amount of money with you but man she is high maintenance.  And you’re dreading your upcoming appointment with Mrs. Smith.  She has this way about her that is so draining you feel exhausted every time you see her.  If only they could all be like Mrs. Williams.  She really seems to get what you’re all about and you have 3 new clients this month thanks to her referrals.

Sound familiar?  What’s missing from this picture is focus.  A focus on your best clients.  They are the heart of your business and all of your processes should revolve around them.  Your best clients do more than pay the bills, they help you to grow your business in a way that energizes you.  Identifying them and finding out what makes them tick is the key to your success.  Investing in managing your relationships with those clients so they feel loved, encouraged to refer others and appreciated will pay you much greater dividends than anything you might invest in advertising.  In future posts I’ll talk about creative ways to fire the clients who divert your attention away from your best clients and how to identify those clients with the greatest potential.

Your market “Sweet Spot” is that perfect intersection of the following 3 key areas:

  1. The real needs of your best clients (this may or may not be obvious),
  2. Your ability to credibly differentiate your product or service from your competitors when targeting your best clients, and
  3. Your scalability, defined as your capability to build repeatable and at least partially automated processes to support your best clients and others like them.

By “cloning” your best clients, creating a product or service that is truly remarkable for them and building an internal infrastructure of processes and technology that allows the differentiation of what you do to scale, you will have nailed your market Sweet Spot which is your ticket to successful, profitable growth.