Enterprise

How to hone your focus for business success

focus-pic

Serious multiracial corporate business team and black leader talk during group briefing. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

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Summary

  • If it were easy to focus on the key things that matter most, success would be much easier.
  • Most successful people mention their ability to focus and eliminate detractors as the most important driver of their success.
  • There is no manual to learn how to focus but we can learn from experts.

The Frenchman Blaise Pascal wrote in his Provincial Letters, “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.”

As a publisher, I once looked at my long catalogue and sales report and thought if I had the insight I would have published fewer books.

What the famous writer and theologian meant, and what I thought of my products is that if it were easy to focus on the key things that matter most, success would be much easier.

Focus has been hailed as the key to success. In school, we are told to focus on studies to succeed. After school whether in business or in employment the mantra is the same – focus, focus, focus.

Indeed, most successful people mention their ability to focus and eliminate detractors as the most important driver of their success.

However, there is one big challenge that is mostly not addressed in the pursuit of focus - how to know what to focus on.

In a world full of many opportunities, threats and disruptions how do you settle on one thing and focus on it?

Well, there is no manual to learn how to focus but we can learn from experts.

In order to focus well, you must scan the general view and evaluate what you see to establish what is important.

In business, you must keep monitoring the results of your many activities. If something is not working well or a product has slowed down, check what is wrong. Maybe you are focusing on the wrong thing.

For instance, if you are committed to your job and you work hard but you are not growing in your career, if your business is stagnant or growth is not commensurate with your input, you could be focusing on the wrong thing.

In other words, knowing what to focus on is as important as focusing itself.

Look at your business and establish which marketing strategies are working and which ones are draining your account. Find out which products are contributing to your profit and prune out the ones dragging you behind.

Everyone wants to focus and narrow down to one or a few things that simplify life instead of juggling many things. Few achieve this because they do not patiently examine their activities over time and eliminate the ones that don’t work in order to focus on what is key.

Sometimes as a business person, you have to keep shifting your focus depending on the realities on the ground. For instance, if you may have focused on producing or selling some analogue products and you have been successful over the years, then the world starts going digital, you have to change your focus.

If you insist on remaining focused on your analogue, you will go the dinosaur way. You have to quickly shift your focus to survive and thrive in the digital era.

Ultimately the only focus you should never shift is the customer need and their changing patterns. This is what guides you on what to focus on.

Mr Kiunga is the author of ‘The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market’.