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Most businesses are presented with numerous market opportunities. For instance, skills like web design, development and sales expertise can address the need of many segments in different industries, however, startups and service providers risk performing well enough in many areas but not exceptionally well in any. To stand out, businesses must specialize which requires focus.
Unlike competitors’ next move, focus is a controllable variable. As a founder, you have the power to define who and how to serve your ideal customer. If you have limited resources like most businesses do, consider evaluating the persona of your key stakeholders with the mindset that specialization is differentiation and focus is a straighter path to your next big milestone without necessarily burning stages.
These 5 questions will help you find your focus.
- Who’s My Most Valuable Segment?
Think about the lifetime value of your existing customers to evaluate the segment or service that stands out from the rest. A valuable segment isn’t necessarily a group that pays the most. Picture a client whose demands consume so much of your time and energy that charging them extra doesn’t justify the time needed to serve them as compared to other groups of buyers. Focusing on the low maintenance group may not always be the solution but is very important to consider in your evaluation of the ideal segment.
Focusing on your most valuable segment will help you define your most valuable stakeholders.
- Who Are My Most Valuable Stakeholders?
A stakeholder can be a customer, partner, team member, investor, essentially anyone involved in running the business. Investors are usually both stakeholders and stockholders.
A business needs people to grow. It’s the right kind of people that will help you grow faster and stronger. Knowing your ideal customer will help you invite the right stakeholders whether you are looking for investors, team members, partners, manufacturers, distributors, etc.
- What Do I Want To Be Known For?
Also known as your brand. It is very hard for people to recognize your brand if you are all over the place. I strongly believe that a big multiplier in the branding equation is placed on specialization. At least in the early stages of the business, focusing on delivering one solution to one customer segment is how you can build a specialty, a repeatable process and consistent results. It is how you can remove a lot of friction out of the acquisition and service or product delivery process.
- What Is My Five Year Goal?
Think a few years from now, what do you want to accomplish and be known for? This simple question can help you reflect and think about how you are currently investing your resources. Many are the companies that created significant value in their industries just by focusing on delivering one solution better than everyone else. Take the example of Dollar Shave Club, Chewy.com and PatientPop.
- What Is My Goal This Week?
Success in business is the sum of small wins. While it’s important to know where you are going, it’s key that you focus on one milestone at a time. I find that most entrepreneurs worry too much about what it takes to reach their long-term goal like building a ten million dollar company or acquiring the first one hundred customers that they end up feeling overwhelmed to start or continue the journey.
Instead, know your destination but take it one simple and yet challenging goal at a time. Allocate your resources in a way that every daily task is done to build another mini win towards the next milestone. I often ask myself, “is this task really going to help me accomplish X this week?” Start by defining X.
The power of focus is greatly undervalued. If you want to shorten your path to growth in business, think about all the things you do today, are they helping you move one little step ahead? Focus on the things that do but first, start with your ideal customers and stakeholders and where you want to go a week and five years from now.
May 25, 2019 at 05:50PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs