Business Development Rants and Resources

Pitfalls for Energetic Entrepreneurs

“Focus, Focus, Focus.” This is a mantra common in the world of entrepreneurship and small business startup. I have a friend (let’s say “Kevin”) who runs a multimedia production business. He is a brilliant, personable guy, who is very technical. His business focused initially on development of training programs. He is no salesman nor a sales process guru, and where his new business in the area of multimedia training came from was really a mystery. Like a lot of us, he probably just had some faithful connections. He branched off into some web development because a lot of the talent and tools that he had on hand for multimedia lent themselves to that area. So Kevin threw paint on another wall, and the incremental revenue from web allowed him to keep the doors open. I mean, throw some paint here and there, and a passerby will see it and something might happen.

Fast forward about eight or so years, and Kevin and I get together to see what each other has been up to. He shows me a new CRM product that he has developed – a competitor to SalesInSync – for tracking the sales process (not sure if he used it himself!), and then a complementary offering that does lead generation. Mind you, nothing has changed in his business, fundamentally. He still has the same business size. He still does multimedia training, and a web site or two. But more paint on the walls means he doesn’t need to sell as much multimedia training to maintain his revenue. On top of that, Kevin showed me customer support offering that he also had developed. I am not sure that he has sold any of that as of yet, but that was a major streak of paint on another wall. The we go back into a production area where an employee is working on – you guessed it – a multimedia training program, and he shows me a 3D rendering of a modern office building, with cutaways and wiring diagrams and equipment layouts that just knocked my socks off.  I said, “you know Kevin, I’ll bet architectural firms would drool over that.”  He got excited and said “Yes! That is something we should go after!” I thought to myself as I left, “Man, what on earth is he DOING!?”

When I got home I noticed a pilots supplies catalog on my coffee table which really only had been used for putting my feet on if I had shoes on and my wife was around, and I took a stack of those mini PostIt notes and marked every page where there was some multimedia training program being sold. The catalog was absolutely thick with them, and I thought that if Kevin could just sell to ONE of those companies, he could increase his business tenfold. So I have lunch planned with him and I am bringing my dogeared catalog.

So what is focus? It isn’t necessarily sticking to one area. I mean, if you have the talent and tools, why not branch out, as long as you can maintain an identity that is not confusing. Paint those walls, but don’t throw it all over the place! Finish one room before going on to the other. Have a plan for success here before moving there. Or at leastbe willing to abandon here and go there with renewed energy. Just about anyone can look at their business and determine quite readily if they have the processes and resources to be successful on many fronts. Most smaller companies cannot. So therein lies the Focus mantra.

May 6, 2012 - Posted by | Business Building

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