Distracted? Focus, Refocus and Focus Again


By: Elizabeth Usovicz, General Manager of Transaction Commons, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."

As an entrepreneur, you live for that big idea that blends innovation, an untapped market and high growth potential.

It’s been said that ideas are the currency of the 21st century, and like all currencies, the value of a big idea can fluctuate. Some days, you can’t seem to find the discipline to execute. Other days, you’re distracted – a competitor surfaces, a strategic relationship falters or a regulatory issue becomes a setback. Your business focus vanishes and distraction takes over, keeping you up at night and making you miserable by day.

An entrepreneur I’ll call Alan developed a market for his company’s innovative technology offerings. He discovered that a competitor was offering knock-offs of his offerings to two of his customers. The news reached Alan in an email from a business contact, and it put him into a tailspin. He spent days researching the competitor and re-reading the email for clues. He postponed team meetings and called attorneys, consumed by the distraction.

When you’ve lost your focus and find yourself in that downward spiral, it can be hard to pull yourself out. Here’s how to reclaim your focus.

Focus on Your Own Strategy

In a situation like Alan’s, a first reaction is often, “How do I stop them?”

The answer is, you can’t stop them. Accept competition as a reality, and focus on positioning your offerings with buyers. Start by asking yourself:

  • How accurate is the information?  How much is fact and how much is my own conjecture?
  • Does the information impact my business model or business strategy?
  • What actions can I take that will move the company forward?

Alan focused on identifying and monetizing a significant point of difference between his offerings and the competitor’s. Then he initiated conversations with his customers to reinforce the relationship, as well as the quality and value of his offering.

Refocus on Your Team

Shutting yourself away from your team doesn’t protect them - it provokes anxiety. Teams talk. They can sense when there is an issue and are not only willing to help, but also can provide valuable perspective and talent. Initially, Alan withdrew from his team. As he refocused on the company, he reengaged his team in brainstorming options. Together, they developed a process for identifying prospects who place a priority on quality and long-term performance.

Refocus Again, On Your Core Strengths

Make a list of the interim successes your company has had in sales, launching new products or services and creating value for customers. When you’re tempted to lose focus, review your list for the core strengths it reveals and focus your company’s time, talents and resources on playing to those strengths.

Ideas are currency, but your focus is equally precious—perhaps the single most valuable asset you bring to your company on a daily basis. Don’t waste it on distractions. Keep your eyes on the prize and focus on executing that big idea.

Comments

Elizabeth...I sent this to several of my management team and one replied with "What are you distracting me with this?" Tee hee. Helpful article...thanks!
Cathy Smith  2 years ago 

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