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.

My name is Richard Hughes-Jones. I am a Coach, Consultant & Lecturer who works with entrepreneurs. My clients are CEOs and leadership teams of startup and scale up businesses. I am an Associate Lecturer at the London College of Fashion and retained Consultant to the Centre for Fashion Enterprise.

I previously gained over a decade's experience as a Deloitte management consultant and HM Treasury civil servant. My full profile is on LinkedIn and you can also find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I like to keep in touch via email which you can sign up for below.