Confucius says, “The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither.”
Focus is one of the most powerful tools an entrepreneur possesses, yet it can be equally debilitating if it is broken or spread too thin. It’s our true kryptonite.
I personally have felt this many times during my journey of building and running businesses. Even right now.
I have found that maintaining focus is not about saying yes but the art of saying No. I forget who said it but I like this quote, “Opportunities are like buses. There is always another one coming.”
I’m not only referring to opportunities outside your business, like business ideas, etc but also the ones that exist inside your business like new things to try and different directions to go, etc.
In the last few months, I’ve had the fortune of just reflecting, traveling, and thinking a lot. Space that I don’t take for granted. I’m so thankful for the time that selling my last business has provided. It has already started to create powerful shifts in how I operate. I have been thinking about the next moves and where to allocate my focus.
What productized service will I build next?
Where will I channel my energy?
Is it possible to truly give my best across multiple business opportunities or investments at the same time?
I personally don’t want to rush into anything or spread myself too thin.
It is funny how many opportunities there are on a daily basis that can be pursued. How many opportunities pull at every strand of energy we have available to offer the world. These seemingly harmless opportunities couldn’t care less about our focus and time. For me, the trick is to create a focus defense mechanism to fend off these focus killers like a ninja.
Obviously saying no is powerful. But what do you do when there are great opportunities tossed your way every day from people you trust and killer ideas you want to actually pursue?
Over the years, I have learned from the most successful people in my network and my personal experience that one common factor of successful people is that they are all extremely focused on one core thing. Their energy force is so well concentrated on making one thing successful, it is hard to see why they wouldn’t make it a success. Even myself I have found that it is the times when I am truly focused that I make the largest leaps towards the outcomes I want to create.
My most successful friends have built incredibly large businesses with the power of focus.
Gary Keller outlines it elegantly in his brilliant book, “The ONE thing.” The quote by Confucius I led with above is from the first page of his book. This concept is also outlined in another one of my favorite books, “Ready, Fire, Aim,” which breaks down the different stages of business growth. That process from $0-$1MM is outlined simply, “focused” effort on “one” core offer and nothing else until you hit $1MM in revenue.
The shiny object syndrome is real. So how can we combat this?
“Focus” is so much easier said than done. Every day I talk to friends and colleagues who are struggling to create momentum towards their goals, and when I dig deeper it is almost always the case that they are spreading themselves too thin by attempting to work on multiple large projects at once.
So how does one implement focus in their business? Is it truly possible to build something meaningful while also pursuing different projects at the same time? From an investor standpoint, I think it can be done if you have “leverage” within that business that is working for you. Otherwise, I think it becomes very hard, if not impossible, to do if the business is dependent on you.
I have personally found that frameworks, accountability, and self-awareness are some of the most powerful methods to cultivate “focus.” Focus to me is nothing more than another habit you have to build and nurture.
So I want to share one of my favorite frameworks that have really helped me this year and is continuing to help me now (because this is a struggle that never ends).
It’s called the “Five Ones” framework. I have found it incredibly useful at “calming the storm” of opportunity noise that is presenting itself during my journey. This coupled with accountability partners and constantly auditing yourself (at least for me) has been game-changing.
This concept is nothing new and I originally stumbled across it from former founder and CEO of Leadpages, Clay Collins. He credits this framework for his companies exceptional growth from $0-$30MM in ARR. He also recommends this as the #1 driver for any businesses aiming for the $1MM mark in yearly revenue.
It’s simple, sexy and just makes a ton of sense.
The Five One's framework is as follows:
- Choose ONE target audience
- Choose ONE product
- Choose ONE conversion method
- Choose ONE traffic source
- Commit ONE year to only focusing on this. Nothing else.
This for me has brought a lot of clarity in what otherwise seemed like swimming in a pool of murky and unsure opportunities. Not only does it help to say no to new opportunities outside your business but also to ones inside your business that distract you on a daily basis. This is where a majority of the “wrong turns” happen when you are in the growth and building phase. Especially with productized services.
The goal is to avoid spreading yourself too thin and allocating your energy to the highest leverage actions possible. Action Steps:
**Run your business through these Five Ones and let me know how you go?
**How can you implement a system of accountability and audits to ensure you stay focused moving forward? Accountability partner?
I hope this helps you bring some clarity to the productized service you’re building!
Let’s do this!