Many business owners today are juggling to many responsibilities than ever before. This is a current trend that is leading many businesses to failure and forcing them to close their doors.
The problem is nobody can keep that many balls in the air at the same time. If you don’t focus on holding onto one, sooner or later you’re going to drop them all. To be successful, the only way you’re going to achieve that is by focusing on one thing and doing it better than anyone else.
I was recently helping a bright young businessman who was struggling to keep his business afloat. He had a solid business plan, skills and the motivation to succeed. He couldn’t understand why his business was failing. After he described to me his daily business activities, it began crystal clear that he was doing to many things. His list of responsibilities included: social medial specialist, accountant, website development, marketing, leader and much more. No wonder why his business was failing. He couldn’t concentrate on the tasks that he was good at instead he was taking on tasks that was unfamiliar and completely foreign to him such as trying to build his company’s website through a DO-IT-YOURSELF (DIY) Website. His background was Leadership therefore, he should have been focused on leading the company and bringing in specialists for specific needs of the company.
The only way to be successful is by figuring out what you’re best at and focusing on just that. It’s true for each and every one of us and every company no matter how big it is.
In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that “[striving] for being the best, for only doing the best products, for staying focused” was a core principle that Steve Jobs instilled in the company. He said he could put every product the company ships today on a small table. And Apple’s sales will be about $180 billion this year.
“It’s easy to add. It’s hard to edit. It’s hard to stay focused. And yet we know we’ll only do our best work if we stay focused,” he said. “And so the hardest decisions we make are all the things NOT to work on. There are lots of things we’d like to work on that we have interest in but we know what we can’t do everything great.”
To further the point, Sony just surprised Wall Street with news that it will lose more than $2 billion this year. The Japanese giant’s much-talked-about turnaround is once again faltering. The problem is that Sony can’t excel at being a global entertainment and consumer electronics company at the same time. There are simply no synergies between the two.
Another example of companies that spread themselves too thin is Yahoo. Brad Garlinghouse, then a senior vice president at the floundering Internet company, penned an internal memo that came to be known as the Peanut Butter Manifesto wherein he tried to convince fellow Yahoos that the company lacked cohesive vision and focus, that it was trying to be too many things to too many people.
Of course he was right. Eight years and five, maybe six CEOs later (it’s hard to keep track), the company is still struggling with the same problem.
As far back as I can remember I’ve been counseling companies and individuals to focus on what they’re best at. If you’re still trying to figure that out, don’t let a few false starts get you down. It’s a good sign that you’re at least putting yourself out there. If you put all your wood behind one arrow at a time and make it count, sooner or later you will hit the bulls-eye. One thing’s for sure; it’s a lot smarter than learning to juggle.