Focus on BusinessThe first quarter of 2016 is behind us! Can you believe it? Are you where you want to be?  If not it may be you have lost focus on those actions you deemed most important to reach this year’s goals.

No matter what your business or your business goals, the most essential skill for you to master is “focus”. Why is focus so important? Without it you waste time, energy, and valuable resources, and watch your joy evaporate as you take longer and longer to get where you are going.

Focus is a thinking skill. When engaged, you avoid procrastination and maintain full attention on any action, activity, or project until you have reached your goal. It is not as easy as it may sound to maintain focus. In today’s fast-paced world, distractions are so common that we are often not sure if we have an attention disorder or just too much to do. We are pulled in one direction and then another and are expected to give a top performance everywhere. That is particularly true for small business owners. Wearing all the “hats” means a constant shifting of responsibility, and with that a shifting of perspective. Just remember that, to get what you want, you have to keep your eye on the prize. The prize is different for each owner. The solution is the same for everyone . . . focus, focus, focus.

I facilitate a number of small business peer groups. A regular topic among the members is how much trouble they have focusing on the big and important stuff.  They admit to often being distracted by the minutia, falling prey to the next shiny object, or allowing the everyday challenges of running a small business to pull them away from the actions and plans that they know are necessary to deliver on their most important goals. When they review at the end of each month, quarter, or year they find that they missed their targets and can often point to one key culprit, lack of focus.

If this sounds like you, don’t be discouraged. Most small business owners have had to overcome this challenge and have done so successfully. When you poll them about how they conquered this “red ball” challenge, most will describe the use of a combination of practices. Here are a few that you might use to flex your “focus” muscle and develop this skill.

1.     Be clear on what you want

2.     Choose one project or one thing to focus on

3.     Put it in writing – in a plan and on your calendar

4.     Clear away all distractions – now and as they pop up

5.     Learn to say “no”

6.     Find someone to hold you accountable – partner, peer, coach

7.     Review often – no less than monthly

Remember that all skill development takes time and practice. Focus is no exception. It is worth it. The proof is in the outcome. The outcome is your prize!


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