My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you’ll win…. Channel your energy. Focus.
For the past few weeks and months, I’ve been contemplating the direction my online store should take in terms of product offerings and business strategy (image Contemplation by Arsian, Creative Commons). Two major questions I have looming are:
- 1) Do I build upon the existing products I currently carry or do I refocus on a single (best-selling) product category, such as lighting?
- 2) What can I change about my marketing activities to increase my businesses visibility?
Two such seemingly simple questions bring an endless number of additional concerns to mind revolving around such things as branding, related design changes, and implementation costs. In your business, you may regularly face situations that seem poised to put you into a tailspin of confusion, indecision and the resulting inactivity – or activity focusing on something besides the main problem at hand.
Avoid loss of momentum
There are a few very simple steps that you can implement to stay focused and on track to making the best choices for your company.
1) Operate with an overall theme in place.
Everything you do should play into the ideal or theme you’ve created and help you in your efforts to make this ideal a reality. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and Built to Last, refers to this as core values which act as your “ultimate background DNA framework within which you have discipline.”
Use your core values or theme as your barometer when choosing which daily activities to pursue.
2) Create well-defined goals.
These goals should support your theme and coincide with your core values. Be specific and focus on a few major goals at a time. Utilize one of the many handy goal-tracking programs available, such as Goals on Track, to help you get your goals in writing.
3) Break your goals down into manageable steps.
I’ve found that I will flounder when presented with a broadly stated step such as “edit the website.” Instead, break it down into something specific such as: “Create new three-column product layout for website.” Focusing on something specific and immediately actionable will eliminate the ‘what next’ stumbling block and provide encouragement as you see yourself ticking off these smaller, though still key, steps to success.
4) Keep your focus and motivation by reminding yourself why you’ve chosen these particular goals.
Perhaps that means visualizing the ultimate outcome such as a beautiful new website design, lots of new customers for your product or reminding yourself that it will bring you financial freedom or allow you to help others in the way you’ve always dreamed.
5) Stay on track by measuring your progress.
Setting benchmarks for your progress will give you the opportunity to evaluate your efforts and make sure you are taking action in the most effective way.
[Setting benchmarks] will also allow you to bask in pride as you recognize how far you’ve really come in realizing your goals.
Employing these five simple steps has helped me stay more focused in even the most distracted of times. And ultimately, more focused means more effective in the pursuit of your loftiest business goals and overall pursuits.
What are your tips for staying focused?
Guest post by Rebecca Malik, president of online contemporary furniture business 17th and Riggs. Rebecca thrives off of beautiful home design and explores related conversation at her blog The View from 17th and Riggs. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband (…and growing pet family). Rebecca welcomes your visit at her blog or www.Twitter.com/RebeccaSM.