In order for a company to be truly successful, it needs three key attributes: Patience, Consistency and Focus. The Visionary entrepreneurial style is the most focused of the three styles.
You may be shaking your head when you hear you are the most focused, but it’s true. As the Visionary, you want to change some part of the world and you are passionate and persistent about making that happen. The approach to solving this problem may take several forms or iterations, but the end result you seek is always the same.
The hard part for you will be understanding what you are truly “focused” on – it won’t be an app, a product, a store, or a service – that’s tool small for how you think. These are just one of a hundred different ways and paths to addressing the focus you have. Others around you will see that as “un-focused”.
Getting crystal clear on what you are trying to accomplish will be very important to your long term success. Don’t worry about the tactics, that’s when you lose others.
You do not like to think about the details of getting from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow – you want tomorrow to be here today. You must rely on Implementers to create structure around your vision and Operators to run the business from day to day. Selecting an Implementer that you respect and listen to will be crucial to your success and they need to be able to hire the right Operators.
You must understand that it will not be as “easy” as you see in your head and you will not be able to organize the work in a fashion that others can take it on. Resist the temptation to trying to do everything yourself. If you don’t take the time to align others around your vision, you will be unable to do what your organization desparately needs you to do – create the way the world should be.
Visionaries are the most likely to try to change who they are – don’t, because you can’t. It’s about asking for help and listening to others when they provide it.
As I work with businesses to help overcome their barriers to growth, they often struggle with focus the most. Not just because they don’t have proper focus but also because they don’t fully grasp what focus means.
Here are some common pitfalls companies and individuals run into when defining focus.
Their Focus is Too Narrow
Focus is often associated with narrowing, so when a company receives feedback from a potential investor or outside consultant that they need to “focus,” they think they need to cut or to edit their mission.
I can understand that. When starting my research firm, I was determined to make sure that my company had proper focus, so I only created three services to sell to our customers. Our packaging, marketing, and promotion hinged on delivering these three services perfectly. But as I worked with client companies, I learned that my company had to deliver more of the user feedback solution in order to be competitive and relevant. As a result, I broadened the focus to include any service offering that included talking with customers.
The customer’s voice became the litmus test for taking on a new project. If the project intent was to understand and advocate for the customer, it was a valid project to consider. That attitude landed my company on the Inc. 5000 three years in a row.
Their Focus is Too Broad
This is often the trap that an early stage entrepreneur or small company falls into. It’s also one of the number one aspects I focus on when I work with companies to help them understand their marketing strategy. An attempt to create a product, service or marketing message that is “for everyone” is a fool’s errand that is impossible to execute successfully.
One only has to look at the debacle that is occurring in rolling out the Affordable Healthcare Act website. The government’s attempt fails on many levels of “one size fits all.” It doesn’t take into account the many types of visitors of various levels of understanding regarding insurance or technical ability. It would have been far better for the government to execute a staged rollout instead of taking on the entire uninsured population at one time. By focusing more narrowly, the problems could have been identified and re-mediated.
Other People Don’t Get It
When building your organization, if everyone you hire and everyone that buys from you knows your focus, it’s very easy to measure where and how you have been successful.
Zappos has a simple focus: “delivering happiness.” Everyone inside and outside the company knows that this is their primary focus, and the stories of how far Zappos will go to deliver against this brand promise can be found far and wide. Zappos has done a great job of creating a focus that is easily described and easily measured internally and externally.
Do you know what your company’s true focus is? If you find that you are hitting a roadblock in your pursuit of success, it might be time to step back to rethink and right-size your focus.
If your entrepreneurial style is Visionary, your greatest entrepreneurial strength is defining focus.