We’re on Earth for a very short time and there’s so much to achieve both personally and professionally. Since time is limited and the resources we have to accomplish these achievements are also limited, You need to ask yourself who and what deserves your precious time and resources. It’s important to focus on the people and things that matter and learn to remove the distractions in your life, the time-wasters and things that create noise and stress and add little value to your goals.
Bullseye versus scattergun
A scattergun approach, trying to be all things to all people, only makes you look like a bad shot. For all that effort, you may only get one or two hits and that cost of those hits is high compared to a bullseye approach where you set your sights on a target.
Before CatchOfTheDay we had an online department store, trying to be everything to everyone. This scattergun approach proved to be extremely difficult to sustain with limited resources; we could not satisfy site visitors looking in a specific category because we could never stock the whole range of a category and then every size, colour and shape at the very lowest prices in the country., which is what we knew it would take to really please everyone.
The old saying “you can’t please everyone, so you may as well please yourself” began to ring true. We took what we knew was the winning formula – a single, amazing deal – and turned it into CatchOfTheDay. We learnt to focus. This did two things. Firstly, it told our customers that our “product” was the guarantee of an amazing deal, not a specific item. This focused their attention on each deal as it was released, which was a better way to make sales.
Secondly, by making our product the very best deal in the country on any given day, we saved a huge amount of time and money on not having to stock and feature thousands of products. Instead, we were able to purchase thousands of one item at an incredible price for our members, which resulted in us getting a better deal and selling more of in one day than when we were offering thousands of different products.
Finding focus allowed us to dramatically improve our profits and our business. We knew we couldn’t please everyone,with the new model but we learnt to please ourselves with a model that was exponentially more economical and better suited to our limited resources.
Avoiding opportunity cost
Focus is also incredibly important so bad decisions do not end up having a large opportunity cost. Once upon a time we launched a website dedicated to perfume, but quickly realised the margins did not allow us to be the cheapest in the country while keeping the business profitable. We could have sunk more time and money into it but we knew we’d be better off if we put the same resources into the parts of the business that produced higher margins.
Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of waiting to launch a product or business that’s “perfect” with all the bells and whistles, not realising that every moment they do not have a product or business they are losing time and money. My advice? Focus on the features that make the product work, that distinguish it in the market, and release it as soon as possible to capture the opportunity. The rest, the ‘nice-to-have’ features, can come later.
As in business, you need to make a decision about what’s worth your time and attention in your life. Every other activity is just a distraction. Different levers require different energy inputs and deliver different benefits. Find the levers that bring you closer to your goals and avoid the ones that require a lot of energy for little return.
The moment we decided to focus on the things that really mattered and could really make a difference, the moment we pulled on the levers that most efficiently moved us closer to our goals was the moment we found real success.
*Original Article by Hezi Leibovich: http://www.brw.com.au/p/entrepreneurs/hezi_leibovich_life_right_short_fBbJSGgvSdXL1m1pRMXfgJ