Where to focus when you don’t know where to focus

Where to focus when you don’t know where to focus

It’s not that you don’t want to be focused.

You get how staying focused on what matters most is crucial it is to the growth and development of your business.

You’ve probably tried a number of strategies to get yourself more focused. Perhaps you’ve set a timer while you work. Maybe you’ve turned off all social media distractions on occasion. You may have even buddied up with a fellow entrepreneurial friend to keep yourself accountable.

And yet, you find yourself wandering. You can’t seem to complete the things you start, and you often question where you’re actually working on the right things in the first place.

I am ALL for focus. I believe it’s a skill that we must develop as business owners, and those that do will lead the pack.

But focus for the sake of focus isn’t the goal. If that were true, you could easily find yourself ‘focusing’ on reading cat memes on Facebook instead of writing a blog post. Or you could find yourself focusing on client work and never on the growth of your business.

Focus matters. But what matters more is WHAT you focus on.

And that’s where you might be getting stuck.

So let’s talk about where to focus when you don’t know where to focus. I want you to be clear about where to put your valuable time and attention so that you can get the most from it and start to see results quickly. And by extension, I want you to know where NOT focus, giving yourself permission to say “No” or “Not right now” to the activities that aren’t yielding the greatest returns.

Here’s where to start:

There are a million and one areas you could be focusing on. And I bet that many of those areas seem important. A quick scroll through Facebook will give you 10 different “must do” strategies to grow your business. it’s all a little….much.

Let’s radically simplify things.

Very likely, there are only a handful of things you really should be focusing on at any given time. The minute you add too many to the plate, you drastically increase your probability of diluting your efforts and getting meek returns.

Instead, centre your areas of focus around your strategic priorities. That’s how I do it and how I teach my clients in My PRO Plan to do it too.

What are strategic priorities?

They are the top 3-5 business priorities you’ve identified for the coming year. They aren’t goals – they are bigger than that, but rather the business buckets that are most important to your business right now and in the immediate future. Let me give you an example:

Let’s suppose you are enjoying a handful of local clients, but what you really want to do is run your group program a couple of times this year so that you can sell to many. You’ve already created the program, and a few people have gone through it, but you’d really love to get at least 25 people per round to meet your revenue goals and scale back your one-to-one work. But when you think about that, you realize that your business up until this point as been largely referral based. You have less than 50 people on your email list, half of them being friends and family. You know that if creating a group program is something you really want to do, you’re going to need to up your visibility and have more people to talk to.

So, in this scenario, one of your strategic priorities would likely be list building. You need more people that have put up their hands to say they want to hear from you, and you need a group of primed and interested prospects that could purchase your group program.

Strategic Priority #1: List Building

From there, you’d set a more specific, measurable goal like:

GOAL: Grow email list to 1000 by X date

And then from there, you’d start to break down the action steps you need to take to do that, like:

– Create a compelling lead magnet and opt-in page to attract new people
– Promote lead magnet using Facebook ads
– Publish weekly blog content with a content upgrade for each one
– Identify blogs/podcasts to guest post or be interviewed on to expand my visibility

What I want you to do is identify three, and no more than five, strategic priorities for the next year. Why no more than five? Well, Stephen Covey put that best, ”

“The main thing is that you keep the main thing, the main thing.”

If everything’s a priority then nothing is a priority.

Pick 3-5 that you believe are THE most important areas for you to put your business attention this year (if you want to just go six months, that’s ok too).

Once you have those, you essentially have your areas of focus. Here is where you need to put your time and attention. Anywhere else does not serve the results you say you want.

So let’s say you identify the following three strategic priorities (remember, you’d have accompanying goals and tactics below, but that’s for another lesson):

– List building to prime for launch of group program
– Create a stable base of 1:1 clients
– Launch group program two times

Now, let’s say you open your inbox and see one of your favourite business owners promoting her Instagram course. You say to yourself, “Maybe I should learn how to use Instagram for my business, it seems to be the thing right now. Am I missing out?” We both know that this kind of thing happens ALL THE TIME, right?

Look at those priorities we identified above. Can you see a direct line between learning how to use Instagram and those three priorities?

I can’t.

Sure, we could make a stretch case. We could argue that you might be able to get some people from Instagram over to your email list. We might be able to say that you could land a 1:1 client by posting inspiring images on your Instagram feed (this VERY much depending on what industry you’re in).

But it’s not a direct line. It’s an indirect path to get there. Instagram, though fun, pretty and new, would very likely NOT contribute directly to you realizing any of those three priorities. Sure, it could be a nice side thing to do with all your extra time (ahem…), but in my mind, it’s not where you focus.

Now let’s flip it. Let’s suppose that you are invited to speak at an event that caters to your ideal client.

You hadn’t identified speaking as a strategic priority, so you’re wondering if this is worth doing.

In my mind, yes.

Speaking is a powerful way to get new clients and often the shortest path there. You could definitely leverage that opportunity to have sales conversations with attendees, and you could also have a great incentive for them to join your email list and then eventually sell them your group program. You could focus your talk specifically around materials that would support your group program, priming them to take a next step with you. You could effectively support all three of those strategic priorities with one speech. And then you could leverage that speech into launch content on your blog, social media blurbs or turn it into a sales webinar.

So you say NO to Instagram and YES to the speech.

That’s how you decide where to focus.

On a much more granular level, you keep your strategic priorities front and centre, and when you set your to do’s for the week, you make sure that you’re hitting on them. You may not work on all three each day, but you ensure that they are all getting attention.

If it doesn’t support your strategic priorities or isn’t part of your regular business workflow, you don’t do it. Period.

ACTION STEP: Identify your Strategic Priorities

Download this one-page PDF to help you distil and clarify your business’ strategic priorities, helping you stay focused and on target with what will yield the greatest returns. No opt-in required.

FREE WORKSHEET: IDENTIFY YOUR STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

Want to go deeper and build out a comprehensive plan that works? Join the Plan with Purpose 2017 free email course. It’s a short, strategic and step-by-step course to design your year ahead. Join here.

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