What is the definition of focus?

An inspiring idea and early validation of your business model are just the start of the entrepreneurial journey. When it comes to scaling, there are a thousand and one things that you could do, but you must focus on the one hundred and one things that you can actually do with limited available cash, resources and time. In Tren Griffin’s blog A Dozen Things I’ve Learned from Steve Jobs about Business, he references one of my favourite quotes from the great man, and a second that I’ve not heard before.

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” [1997]

“People think focus means saying yes to things you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.” [2004]

Execution is important, it really is. As Tren says, “the ability of a team to execute is a more important consideration [for an investor] than a clever idea”. But are you executing on the right actions? To scale a business effectively, Steve Jobs is saying that you need to shelve even your good ideas in order to focus on your great ones.

Focus requires clear vision, good strategic thinking, and ability to remain on target. Sure, you need to retain flexibility but you must ruthlessly cut away all activity that is not required to advance you on your journey. So ask yourself what it is that you really need to focus on, be clear about what you can let fall by the wayside, and be decisive when it comes to saying no.

Want to know more about my latest Book Competition?

Between now and the end of the year, I'm sharing fortnightly the wisdom that I have gained from my favourite recent reads, as it relates to life and business. The books I've chosen to summarise are: The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks, Superforecasting: The Art & Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal, Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore and Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

Anyone on my mailing list will get these posts delivered straight to their inbox and be entered into the draw at the end of the series. One subscriber will win fresh copies of all five books and five runners-up will receive one book of their choosing from the series. I'll announce the winners and send out the books in time for Christmas. To be in with a chance, all you have to do is subscribe to my blog below.