In a recent annual session, one of my clients arrived with lists of ideas for growing their business over the coming year. The ideas spanned a wide range of products and services — most of which they weren’t currently providing.
To evaluate whether these ideas had any merit, we went back to validate their Core Focus to make sure their company sweet spot was clear.
Hit Your Company’s Sweet Spot
Think of the Core Focus as the sweet spot of your company. It’s made up of two parts:
Your purpose/cause/passion for the business. This is the reason “Why” your company exists.
Your niche. This is the one thing your company is truly great at.
The combination of these two parts becomes a filtering and guiding mechanism to help you stay away from doing all the terrific things that don’t fit your company.
When Great Business Ideas Aren’t So Great
Stay away from doing the 10,000 good ideas, to focus on the handful that you can be truly great at. Why? There isn’t enough time to be truly great at 10,000 things — you’ll spend more time, energy and money, only to get a smaller return. But if you focus on just a few things with all of your time, energy and financial resources, you’ll reap the rewards of having extra time in your day with higher financial returns!
After some good discussion and debate, we ultimately agreed that we were still on the same page with the Core Focus for the business.
There was also the 10-year target to consider—rising to become the leader in their industry. If the company wanted to become the industry leader, they knew they would have to be truly great at what they do. This helped the leadership team to recommit to the company Core Focus.
Next we went back and reviewed the list of ideas and potential business opportunities. Over 90% were quickly wiped off the list. Why? Because the ideas didn’t fit the company’s sweet spot.
The team concluded that their time would be better spent focusing on their existing business and exhausting every opportunity in their sweet spot before looking at outside opportunities. They realized that if they pursued other opportunities, it would take significant time, effort and financial investment. And at the end of the next year, they would probably have a similar revenue to the current year, but with less profit.
The trade-off of working more hours and investing more money into areas that they were “exploring,” only to yield similar results to the previous year, just wasn’t worth their time.
Don’t Do What Doesn’t Fit Your Business
Businesses that try to take on 10,000 good ideas don't gain traction. It takes extraordinary effort to keep everyone on the same page, and they inevitably end up with conflicting directions that confuse the team. Roles and responsibilities aren’t clear, and it’s difficult to attract talent when the company itself isn't clear on what they can be great at. It also confuses prospects and customers because they can’t tell what sets the company apart from the competition.
Does your business have a filter to stop doing what doesn’t fit? Is your team on the same page with your company vision?
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