Monday, April 11, 2011

Why a Clear Focus Is Essential to Success

Six key reasons why you should keep things simple in the beginning

By Martin Z

Here are the common sense reasons why a laser focus is more likely to lead to start-up business success:

1. Time to market is critical. It takes too much time to build processes and products to capitalize on a broad strategy. Meanwhile, small competitors will appear, seize your business opportunities, and steal your targeted customers.

2. It's important to keep infrastructure costs low. Every business needs some basic equipment and infrastructure, and ongoing development costs. Attempting to roll out the big dream internationally all at once costs lots of money. Getting more money is hard, but not as hard as building the big infrastructure and getting it right the first time.

3. You need to be nimble. Every successful start-up I know has had to dodge and weave or pivot quickly as they learn what their customers really want, and what really works in product design and marketing. Bloated products and the grand unifying theory of everything won't allow you to adapt quickly to market changes and mistakes made.

4. Innovation leads to market leadership. Success requires market leadership in your product area, and it's easy to see that pushing more products and services dilutes your focus and attention. Market leadership isn't a one-time thing, it means continuous innovation, or you will be left behind.

5. Maintaining quality is key. The more you try to do in parallel, the harder it is to maintain quality. Remember the old maxim that "you only get one chance to make a great first impression." Customers are fickle, and good quality and good customer service is hard, even with a focused product.

6. Personal bandwidth is limited. When things become too messy and complex, and even you are not sure of priorities, people get disillusioned, tired, lose motivation, and tend to give up easily. A laser focus is easier to communicate, easier to manage, and more likely to get done quickly and well.

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