I find founders have a lot of trouble focusing. For one, on their target market. Everyone wants to boil the ocean; start by trying to boil a teaspoon! For another, startup founders often seem to think they can support two different products at the same time. No you can’t, as Scott MacNealy said, “Put all your wood behind one arrowhead.” As a founder you need to be ruthless and ruthlessly focused, that can mean killing your babies, as in backburning a pet product to put 100% of your focus on the product with the best chance of getting near term traction.
But like so much mentor advice, focusing is so much harder for the founder to enact than for the mentor to say.
Inc has a great Q & A on focus with Jeff Bezos, who has done an incredible job of first focusing on a single beachhead market, books, then moving to adjacent market, CDs; then another adjacent market, DVDs; and so on, as Amazon conquers the world of retail.
In a world that’s filled with more distraction than ever, how can you achieve greater focus?
That’s a question Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos touched on in a recent interview in New York. At a private event for The Wings Club, a global society of aviation professionals, Bezos spoke primarily about his private aerospace company, Blue Origin, and its plans for the future.
Towards the end, the moderator asked Bezos how he manages to stay focused on such a tremendous, long-term vision, to which he replied with the following:
“Vision is absolutely important, but it doesn’t deserve your day-to-day attention. You need a vision, then, that’s a touchstone: It’s something you can always come back to if you ever get confused. But mostly, your time should be spent on things that are happening today, this year, maybe in the next 2 or 3 years.”
Bezos then concluded with these two powerful sentences:
“So I would always encourage people to hold, powerfully, [to] a vision and be so stubborn of it. Don’t let anybody move you off of your vision.”
So there you have it from one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. I strongly recommend you read the entire article, by entitled It Took Jeff Bezos Exactly 2 Sentences to Teach a Major Lesson in Achieving Great Focus subtitled Whether you’re running a company, working for yourself, or leading a team, there’s a lot to be learned from this simple advice.
You need a mission as well as a vision. And what’s the difference?
Your vision should be the overarching goal, the established purpose and objective of an organization (or an individual).
While vision could include a company’s mission, it goes further. Mission generally describes what you are currently doing; vision goes into the future and describes what you hope to accomplish.
For people buying a house or condo, what’s are the three most important factors to consider? Location, location, location, goes the old real estate saw. For startups, it’s focus, focus, and focus.