Focus for Your High Impact Business
To treat your business like a business, you have to focus. Success requires time, focus, and consistent work.
Why is focus so important for your business? I think that’s a silly question. We all know we need to be more focused. That’s why being focused is a mantra for me. I have a “Stay Focused” sign on my desk.
Here’s a better question: How can we stay MORE focused? What tricks and tips will help us increase the quality and intensity of our focus?
Before I get into that, I want to share some stats with you. First, when you’re not focused on one thing, you get less work done. You waste time and energy as you switch between tasks and contexts.
According to the American Psychological Association, “statistics show that it takes an average of 25 minutes to resume a task after being interrupted.” Besides, “multi-tasking” has repeatedly been proven as an ineffective way to work.
“Find your inefficiencies in order to eliminate them and find your strengths so you can multiply them” – Tim Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek
Why is the above quote important? Well, it depends on what your goals are.
- Are you looking for more time?
- Do you want to work only one “job”?
- Is your work a job or a hobby?
- Do you want to have pride in what you do?
- Would you like to build a business that you can hand down to your children?
- What’s your vision?
Let me share a few of my overarching goals with you:
- To call my shots.
- To have a business that could potentially employ my family members.
- I want to work for something I believe in and connect with.
- I want to love what I do. I don’t want to work for work’s sake.
I’m designing my business so I can spend my time doing what I love. I’ll have systems and processes to streamline many of the other tasks. I’ll also have other people doing tasks that lie outside my expertise. I’ll even outsource some things. I’ll stay focused on the things that I do well. As a result, I’m building efficiency into my company. Essentially, I’m making time for other things that interest me:
- Volunteer for causes I support.
- Spend time with my family.
- Work on other projects that interest me.
- Chase my dreams.
The power of FOCUS makes all that possible.
So, what does the STAYING FOCUSED thing look like?
You must perform numerous jobs to keep your business running. Everything must get done. Meanwhile, you have different jobs that have different priorities and deadlines.
If you’re not careful, you’ll spend all day, every day jumping from one thing to another. As the weeks, months, and years go by, you’ll make little progress towards your goals. Don’t do that!
Start leveraging the power of focus by planning.
Create a master plan that lists all your business’ processes. These are all the “hats” you must wear. Using that information, create a master calendar that defines when you must wear each hat.
- CEO – You’re in charge of strategic planning, defining a vision, setting goals, and prioritizing objectives. – While you’re wearing this hat, you need to schedule thinking time. Ask yourself questions. Plan out your strategy and tactics.
- CFO – You’re in charge of your business’ finances. How will your business survive if you don’t pay the bills and plan for expected and unexpected expenses? You need to forecast your revenue requirements, set profit targets, and project cash flow.
You also must keep accurate financial records. If you don’t like bookkeeping, outsource it. If you don’t want to write checks every month, automate your bill payments. Still, you actively participate in the financial aspect of your company.
- Lead generation and Sales – Depending on what kind of business you have; these hats will look different. Whether you own a service-based business or sell physical products, you’ll have to keep your potential client pipeline filled.
Without leads you don’t have sales and, therefore, you don’t have income. So, you need to design and implement the tactics that will connect your brand with your ideal customers.
- IT – You’re the chief of technology! So, if you’re not a tech-savvy person, you should get help. You’ll want to keep your technology simple and safe. For example, use online cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox to store and share your files.
With technology, you should always expect problems to arise when you least expect them. For this reason, you should always have someone to call if you have a question or when things go wrong. I’m pretty good in this area, so feel free to ask me. If I don’t know the answer, I probably know someone who does. Also, I often have helpful resources to share.
- Service provider/product provider – You’re the doer. You’re the creator. When you wear this hat, you’re providing a product or service to your client. For me, this involves creating content, designing programs, and coaching my students.
After planning, you should know all the different hats you must wear. You should also know about how much time you need to spend in each category per week, month, or year. So, plug all this information into your calendar.
You can use a calendar that’s either paper or digital. Just use it consistently!
By working a full-time gig, you’ve already accounted for much of your time. So, start by adding the “barebones” necessities for your side hustle into your calendar. For example, you probably need to contact prospects. So, schedule them on your calendar. That way, if you know you must make 50 phone calls, you’ll have enough time to focus on those tasks.
Start by marking the time on your calendar that you’re working in your business. Consider using a highlighter or a different color of ink to differentiate this time from the rest of your commitments. Next, find time to perform all your different roles.
Some of your roles require less time than others. For instance, you might only need to wear your CEO hat once every quarter. However, your lead generation and sales hats may require a portion of every day.
Perhaps your lead-gen activity is getting into deep conversations with people on Instagram or Facebook and then booking them into a discovery call.
How many discovery calls do you need to have to make a sale? How many deep conversations do you need to have to generate one call? How many social media conversations must you start before you get into a deep conversation?
Back into your numbers and see what it takes. You can then fine-tune your process and hone in on what works best. You must track your numbers so you can improve them.
Tracking your Activity
You also need a tracking mechanism. When I was in direct sales, I would use a paper month-at-a-glance calendar. On the days I worked, I’d track my phone calls with dots, dashes, and x’s.
A dot represented a call, I’d put a slash through the dot if I connected with the person. If the contact responded positively to what I wanted, I’d add a slash in the other direction (creating an x). My goal at the time was booking appointments.
These days, I have a much different plan for getting sales. Still, it’s important. I’m always looking for ways to fine-tune my tracking system.
Always operate with the “big picture” in mind. You need to understand your business’ structure and how you want it to function. Also, you need to design the systems so, in the future, your business can run without you and still supply you with an income.
To summarize, focus starts with planning. So, put on your CEO hat and start working on your plan and calendar. Next, create your tracking mechanism. Finally, get to work! Every time you check into your business, you’ll know what to do. Best of all, you’ll stay in touch with your goals and have enough motivation to give your business the attention that it deserves. You can check out my last post on goal setting and your why.
REMEMBER: Streamline. Start by eliminating unnecessary tasks. Afterward, use delegating, delaying, and doing to get things done. Be ruthless! (We will talk more about this next time.)