Hard Knocks Founder Lesson: Focus

During yesterday’s Start It Up Georgia lesson lab, I shared tips that if implemented will increase an entrepreneur’s odds of success. Usually they’re learned by enduring painful mistakes. I hoped to help these aspiring entrepreneurs avoid some pain, save time, and succeed sooner. One of the tips was to focus. It seems simple and straightforward, but it’s very difficult to put into practice. Here’s what I shared:

  • Squirrel syndrome – Entrepreneurs are optimistic people who see opportunity everywhere. This glass-half-full perspective is great, but it leads to short attention spans and being “all over the place.” Try to focus on one opportunity at a time. One problem at a time.
  • Niche – Don’t boil the ocean. Solve a narrow problem first. When you nail that one, you can expand and solve related problems. If you try to do too many things at once, you’ll get nowhere.
  • Target customer – Define and understand your target customer first. Identify the root of their problem and solve it. Once this customer is happy, you can expand to others.
  • Metric – Measuring progress is important. Pick the one metric that matters most. Ideally it will be customer-related: number of new customers, revenue, new users, etc. Measure and focus on moving the needle on that metric.

When you start something new, you have limited time, energy, and resources. Efficiency is crucial to progress. Focusing on the things that matter most is a great way to maximize what you have. Yes, some balls will get dropped when you focus, but that’s OK. You can only do so much at once. Develop this habit and you’ll be on your way to success.

Take it from me—I learned the hard way!