As an entrepreneur and business owner looking to take their business to the next level, you can feel overwhelmed by an avalanche of tasks and responsibility. To improve, you can learn from those who have mastered the art of being highly effective and successful. People like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates.
Do you know what they see as their biggest strength? Both Buffet and Gates have famously stated that without doubt the number one underlying factor in achieving their business goals was focus.
The trouble is that as an entrepreneur, staying focused isn’t easy. So why is this?
Too many distractions
Most entrepreneurs know that they’re finely attuned to business ideas and can spot them when others can’t. These ideas often appear in the most unlikely of places, such as talking to business colleagues, engaging through social media channels, or simply by reading through trade magazines.
The trouble is that although it’s in your nature as an entrepreneur to be ferociously determined to succeed, being subjected to a constant barrage of business ideas can be seriously distracting. In fact it can in many instances detract from the main goal of focusing on taking your core business to the next level.
Ideas are easy
For an entrepreneur, there’s nothing more exciting than the buzz of a new business idea and bringing that idea to life. In this respect, it’s often far easier to channel energies into them rather than focusing on refining and honing existing business ideas.
Making the choice to focus is extremely hard
Many entrepreneurs will come to a crossroads where they have a choice between diversification and sticking to their existing business model. This can often be a tough call for an entrepreneur because as already discussed, they tend to thrive off new challenges.
More often than not the entrepreneur will feel the ‘what if’ scenario occur if they let the opportunity pass them by and for this reason, ignoring it could be a really tough call. This can often create uncertainty around the fact that the decision to focus on the existing business is indeed the right call.
Your clients expect consistency
If you’re ready to expand your business, chances are that you’ve already built up a good client base and these clients have come to expect the very best. This could be through high end products or top quality services that you offer. Either way, the only way to constantly deliver these high standards is to focus on what your business does best. For these reasons, diversification at this time is simply not an option.
Take a world class sprinter for example; he might also be a pretty good cyclist. Does this mean that he should diversify? NO WAY!
Using the same analogy, if a sprinter is to constantly be at the top of their game, they have to be totally focused on what they do best.
Warren Buffet became truly successful because he put all of his attention into finding great businesses on the stock market and investing in those. If he diversified from what he was good at, do you think he would have been so successful?
So how then do you move to become a focused leader?
1. Make the decision
Firstly, the decision to focus, however difficult it may be, needs to come from you. Decide what you’re going to focus on, map out specific goals and be prepared to stay on track.
2. Set a time frame
Give your new-found focus a definitive time frame. It may be six months, it may be a year, it may be five years… whatever works for you.
Every new business idea coming up during this time should be side-lined, so remain focused on your goals. This is not to say that they need to be forgotten about but instead simply shelved until after your self-imposed timeframe has expired. By setting a time frame, you should also define a checkpoint, maybe after ¼ of the time, to revisit your plan.
3. Take massive action
It’s no good focusing on one core aspect of your business if you do it with one eye on something else. Instead, you need to channel all your energies into focusing on your one key objective and throw yourself and your team into this. Remember, massive action leads to massive results! Eventually, this will make you the go-to specialist in your field – and specialists always get the highest fees!
4. Re-visit your plan
Okay, so now you’re taking massive action, you need to revisit your plan. Re-evaluate your actions and take steps to improve, or simply do more of what’s going well.
5. Take the next steps
When your self-imposed time frame has come to an end, you now need to decide whether you want to re-adjust your focus, continue on the same path, or take a new track, given where your business is now. Look at how far you’ve come and see if it’s anywhere near where you want your business to be.
By and large, the specialists, the gurus, the market leaders are always on top of their game because they are focused on getting better every single day in the area where they see their core expertise. The Jack of all trades will always fight with other like-minded, low-price competitors. Don’t go that devastating route – go to the top and focus on what you are best at!
Your fast-track to focus and growth
As an executive coach I make executives and entrepreneurs focus on the right things. Avoiding the distractions and idea-hopping excitement can be a daunting learning process, but there’s also huge satisfaction that comes with becoming the expert, the guru, the go-to specialist in your niche.
Listening To These 8 Audiobooks On Success Is A Better Use Of Your Long Commute
Commuting is mostly just unpaid work, unless you make an effort to learn something along the way.
Commutes are getting longer, and in some cities they’re up to two hours each way. I have a friend in Los Angeles who does this. He passes the time with audiobooks. Now that’s still a lot of time to be stuck in transit, but he doesn’t view it that way. He says it allows him plenty of time to feed his personal and professional goals.
I’ve spent years listening to literature in the car while commuting, but somewhere along the line I switched over to books on business and personal improvement. I mostly gravitated toward amazing people who built their success from scratch and who experienced tremendous hardship. It stands to reason that if you’re dealing with hardships like a long commute, it’s important to hear motivational words that can help you transcend the difficulties.
Here are eight audiobooks that will help grow your success, both personal and professional, on your next commute:
3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018
Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.
Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.
Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.
Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:
- The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
- They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
- Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
- They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.
What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?
Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.
But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.
Related: Goal Setting Guide
I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:
1. What does better look like?
The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.
- What does better health look like?
- What does a better business look like?
- What does better customer service look like?
- What does better leadership look like?
By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.
2. What can I control?
Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”
Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.
Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.
3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?
One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.
As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.
So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.
What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.
To Be Successful Stay Far Away From These 7 Types of Toxic People
You need a network of talented people, not toxic personalities who undermine you.
Surrounding yourself with prospective mentors is an excellent way to build lifelong success. When Steve Jobs founded Apple, he learned from colleagues like Steve Wozniak about what it took to build computer hardware. And he learned from early investors like Mike Markkula about what it took to build a successful company and market a product. Now imagine if Jobs had surrounded himself with toxic personalities instead. It is likely that he would not have been able to create a company that is on course to be valued at $1 trillion.
If you interact with people who demonstrate questionable behaviour, you’re more likely to model that behaviour yourself or to become stressed as a result. At the very least, you will be missing out on the opportunity to network with more successful and inspiring individuals.
This article will review seven personality types that should be eliminated from your life in order to build your most successful self. Once these people are gone, you can work on building a network of people who influence you positively.
According to a report by NPR, micromanagement is one of the biggest factors associated with employee dissatisfaction, lowered motivation and lack of professional creativity. To be successful, you must learn to solve problems independently. Micromanaging can make it difficult to develop these skills.
Related: Keep An Eye Out For Toxic Employees
2. Short-term thinkers
If you surround yourself with short-term thinkers, it will be difficult to know if an idea is destined for long-term success. Those who are narrow-minded may be more likely to dismiss one of your ideas because it will take time to develop into a meaningful success.
Take the creation of Airbnb as an example. The company was founded in 2008. At the time the “sharing economy” did not exist, and hotel chains like Starwood and Hilton dominated the lodging market. A short-term thinker would have criticised an idea like Airbnb.
In order for the company to be successful, Airbnb would need to change people’s attitudes and expectations about travel. They would need to encourage people to be comfortable staying with strangers, and they would need to find ways to mitigate possible liability should something tragic happen during a customer’s stay.
Well-respected venture capitalists decided to pass on Airbnb because of these short-term concerns. The Airbnb founders were only able to find success once they connected with people who were comfortable thinking long term.
Pessimism is not always a bad trait; at times it can help entrepreneurs to recognize certain pitfalls that might otherwise be overlooked. However, a steady diet of pessimism is toxic when it comes to taking big professional risks.
As David Armor, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University, says, “An entrepreneur starting up a company, for example, might drive himself to work 18-hour days for months and even years because he optimistically believes that there will be a big payoff for him at the end.” Conversely, a pessimistic attitude would make it difficult to tolerate such a prolonged stressful situation.
For those interested in taking on stressful professional situations, pessimistic people should be avoided in most cases.
4. Selfish people
Relationships that contribute to success are mutually beneficial. This dynamic cannot exist when dealing with selfish people. As a result, it is best to eliminate selfish people from your life in order to make room for more giving relationships.
A recent study found that a job applicant who is referred by an existing employee is 15 times more likely to be hired than someone who applies via a job board. If you befriend a selfish person, you probably can’t rely on them to introduce you to new career opportunities. However, forming connections with someone who is altruistic could give you a professional leg up.
5. Risk-averse personalities
Business success is about making informed decisions by weighing risks and rewards. If you are surrounded by people who over-index on possible risks while ignoring the possible rewards, it will be challenging to identify good business opportunities.
Take Amazon as an example. In 2014 Amazon launched a smartphone called the Fire Phone. In the end, the phone was not successful. Following the unsuccessful launch of the Fire Phone, risk-averse people might have avoided developing another piece of computer hardware.
But instead, Amazon correctly assessed the opportunity for an in-home smart speaker, and launched the Amazon Echo just one year later. Today, Echo has 75 percent of the smart-speaker market in the United States.
6. Unmotivated individuals
People who lack motivation or work ethic set a bad example for those interested in working diligently to become a professional success. There is no worse colleague than someone who simply does the bare minimum to get by.
Rather than associate yourself with people who cut corners or avoid hard work, try to surround yourself with people who are motivated to succeed. Collaborating with people who have a healthy drive for success can instill an extra dose of motivation in you.
Financial responsibility is a critically important quality to develop if you want to become successful. Warren Buffet is perhaps the supreme example of a financially responsible and successful person.
Buffet is the third wealthiest person in the world, worth nearly $80 billion. But despite his professional success, Buffet does not spend his money on flashy cars or large homes. In fact, Buffet still lives in the modest home in Omaha, Nebraska, that he purchased in 1958.
Those who associate with spendthrifts may be more motivated to make irresponsible financial decisions in order to fit in. At the very least, it will be harder to associate with people who make good financial choices, as these personalities are frequently diametrically opposed.
Business is all about who you know. From landing a new job to launching a new company, your network will enable or prevent future professional success. When developing a network of talented people, it is best to avoid toxic personalities who could set a bad example or demotivate you.
Be sure to avoid people who are micromanagers and short-term thinkers, as they can make it difficult to think autonomously. Risk-averse individuals or pessimists may cause you to think twice about great business ideas, and spendthrifts or selfish people may hamper your ability to grow. Last but not least, stay away from unmotivated individuals, as your success is dependent on your willingness to work diligently in order to succeed.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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