I hope to write a series of these for those getting started with a new venture of their own or those thinking about getting into business for themselves. All ‘Young Entrepreneur’ topics shall be general lessons learned and mistakes made that compensate for my lack of tuition and college education expense. This is the first one and one of the most important; Mind your Focus.
Sure, you have great ideas. You’re smart, young, driven, fresh out of school with your MBA and about to change the way everyone does everything. Me too, except that MBA thing!
This is one chunk of advice that I have read all about, was mentored on and frankly knew it was true from the get go, yet rarely chose to make it part of my mindset.
Too many great ideas, not enough focus.
I’ve long been terrible at this (or awesome at it, depending on how you look at it) as are most people with ambition and creativity combined. Putting all of your effort towards one project at a time and enduring the good and bad until completed will always yield better and more profitable results than spreading your focus over many great ideas, completing none and exhausting yourself in the process. If you have ever worked with me, you are probably laughing hysterically right now since you would know how counter this logic is to my historical patterns. Hindsight is 20/20 and I can only change the future by learning from the past.
One major initiative at a time.
I remind myself of this all of the time and currently believe that I and we are doing very well at this within the company. While we have plenty of minor initiatives going on at the same time, our only focus is on our core business of online retail. We sell high tech emerging market hardware, including VoIP, IP Surveillance and Network related products. It isn’t the sexiest work, but we do it very well and it generates the profits needed by the company. I have a lot of service ideas that can easily be built, launched and they will generate higher margin revenue, but during times like these it is more important to care for what I have, my customers, my employees and the business as a whole. There is always time for the next great thing.
If you have the courage to start something on your own, have the sense to focus on one thing and do it better than anyone else.
Note: If you fail at this and spread yourself too thin or try working too many angles, remember to learn from it and move on. Get back up and try again, at least you tried and no one ever gets anywhere without that. Less than 1% of the population starts and runs a business, the fact that you tried makes you special.