Business owners know that providing an excellent product with excellent service at excellent prices typically leads to strong growth and profitability. But did you know there is another more subtle — possibly more powerful — factor that can pave the path to better profits? It’s your mission statement.
Many summers ago, I attended Boston Pops concerts at Tanglewood Music Center with a group of friends. We would arrive at our campground on Friday afternoon; attend as many concerts as possible Friday and Saturday, and head home on Sunday. Some weekends 20 of us would show up. Other weekends only six could make it.
One weekend only two of us made the trip, and over a late-night snack of coffee and apple pie, we determined that we both wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail end-to-end. A dream was born, and a plan was created and executed. I can still see that “aha moment” in my mind’s eye.
You probably can remember the exact moment your idea for your company emerged. You put your heart and soul into making your important dream a reality. Congratulations – that takes an enormous amount of focus, sweat, tears, and fortitude.
In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins asks, “Are you a hedgehog or a fox?”
The Hedgehog Concept originated from a line of the Greek poet Archilochus, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows ONE BIG THING.”
As the story goes, the cunning fox spends hours strategizing the perfect attack on how to eat the hedgehog. He continually tries and fails, as the hedgehog simply rolls into a shiny, spiny ball with each attack.
After days of the fox’s attacks, the hedgehog’s laser focus on one simple method of defense keeps it alive.
The Core Focus clearly defines your company’s sweet spot – work you love to do and are best at. Used properly, it helps you stay laser-focused on the stuff you do that most consistently delights your customers, makes you money, and allows you to have the most fun. To get it right, you’ve got to resist the temptation to try being all things to all people, and to ignore “shiny stuff.”
This sounds easy, but is often very hard, and surprisingly costly. One of my clients admitted this last week – and the story was so good I asked him to write a guest blog on the subject. Enjoy…
Harry Beckwith says, “people don’t lead, purposes do.” I once worked with a client who became a firm believer in this statement recently. He is the son who inherited a successful 20-year-old family business about two years ago and is now struggling to pay the bills. He has been drifting away from the company’s core business and has become distracted.