Focusing on Business Growth

I love working with smart people who want to change the world. They’re a large part of the reason I’m hopeful for the future. However, smart people often have so many ideas, so many plans, so grand a vision, that it can lead to a lack focus.

(Ever hear of the term boiling the ocean?)

This carries through to the businesses they start. Sometimes they take on too much too quickly, leading to slow business growth, or even stagnation.

How do you know if you and your business fall into this category?

Signs of a lack of business focus

  1. You don’t have the infrastructure to support/develop all of your products and services
  2. You’re not able to innovate across all of the product or service lines you have
  3. You can’t adapt quickly enough to changes taking place across all your markets
  4. Your Sales and Marketing teams are on the brink of mutiny
  5. Your revenue numbers are not what they probably should be

How to address your company’s lack of focus

The first step is admitting to yourself and your team that your company can’t be all things to all people. You have a finite amount of time and resources and need to choose wisely.

Once you do that, it’s time to do a little homework…

  1. Create a spreadsheet listing your most profitable products, from most profitable to least profitable, over the past 12 months. (Note that most profitable isn’t always the same as your best-selling products. We want to focus on revenue falling to your bottom line.)
  2. Lop off the bottom 80% of the products on the list and keep the top 20%.
  3. Create a second spreadsheet listing your customers, their industries and the revenue they each provided to your company over the past 12 months.
  4. Lop off the bottom 80% of the customers on the list and keep the top 20%.
  5. Next you want to look for overlap between the products your top customers buy and the most profitable products. You’ll end up with a Venn diagram.
  6. Study the overlapping area in the middle. This is the place where your best products meet the needs of your best customers in the most profitable industries. Focus there.

In the end, you’ll know which of your most profitable products are being purchased by your best customers. By focusing on your best customers, you’ll also see which industries are an easier sell than others. You can then develop an ideal customer profile and identify a solid group of customers for future product research.

A disclaimer and words of encouragement

Is this a perfect tool to enable greater focus in your business? No, but there is no perfect tool. You may need to adapt the process to fit your specific business, as long as you focus on the goal of attaining better time and resource allocation.

With greater focus, you will free up time and treasure (human and otherwise) to develop more of the sorts of products that your best customers — the customers that open their wallets wider than anyone else — will want to buy.

An added bonus is that you’ll be able to develop industry expertise more quickly and react to changes in those industries as needed. And you’ll be able to focus your Marketing and Sales teams on more precise targets, leading to an uplift in revenue.

By doing less, you can often do a whole lot more.

Donnelly Creative can help you think through this challenge and create a solution that’s just right for your specific business. Please contact me for more information.

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