One of the toughest things SBDC staff do every day is try to get smart, energetic, inspired and committed business owners to do one thing – focus. Focus your energy on the things that are most important, focus your company around its purpose for existing, focus on one thing at a time or focus on your customers. The ability to focus delivers great benefits in spite of seeming to let other ‘important’ things go. The Wall Street Journal had an article about the ‘cocktail party effect’ which stated that only about 4% of us can effectively multitask. If so, most of those people who say they are doing two things at once are actually compromising two things at once, instead of doing one thing well at a time.
Focus on the task at hand to the exclusion of other things means whatever you are working on gets the best and all of you. When it is time for the next important thing on the list it gets the same treatment. You avoid the irritation of having a lot of unfinished work.
Focusing on your business purpose allows you to dismiss things that do not fit, quickly process those that do and keep moving along the right track even in the face of change. We see scores of people who want to do something for their community and do launch a business. We recommend you start the business, make it profitable and sustainable, then you can move resources to that other calling. You’ll have more money and time to deliver on promises you made.
Daily focus on your customers gives more of understanding their needs and wants, behaviors and feelings about your product, shopping in your store or using your services. To test this, when one of your employees or children is talking to you, put everything else down, turn to them, give them both ears and see what happens. The richness of what you get and their enthusiasm in sharing are higher.