- Focusing and refocusing your business strategy is essential in times of change (see: all of 2020), but it can be dangerous if not done strategically.
- Don’t get caught up in every problem. “This is a big moment right now, but it’s not your only moment,” Jeff Bermant, CEO of Virtual World Computing, says. “You need to march on with whatever you’re doing. You need to be resilient and go about your business as best as you can.”
- Be open to feedback, but don’t let it distract you. Take into consideration who’s giving you the feedback and their motivations. Customer feedback is perhaps the most important of all.
Change can oftentimes be scary, especially the type of change we’ve faced in the past year.
We were hit with the unexpected on what felt like a daily basis, and business leaders and entrepreneurs had to focus — then refocus — their business strategies.
Although focusing and refocusing is essential in business, it can also be dangerous. If you don’t approach it properly, you risk cancelling out your hard work and returning to the starting line.
In Times of Change, Use These Tips To Focus and Refocus
When we talk about change, we’re talking both big and small. This could be a small tweak to your daily operations or a huge pivot in your company’s mission. Either way, when you’re focusing and refocusing your business strategy, keep these tips in mind.
1. Ask: Am I Focusing on the Right Problems?
For many of us, 2020 left a trail of problems in its wake. As tempting as it may be to sink your time, energy and resources into putting these fires out, it’s important to take a step back and ask: Am I focusing on the right problems?
“This is a big moment right now, but it’s not your only moment,” Jeff Bermant, CEO of Virtual World Computing, said on an episode of The BOLD Business Podcast. “You need to march on with whatever you’re doing. You need to be resilient and go about your business as best as you can.”
When you stop to solve any and every little problem, you lose momentum and focus, and you’re pushing yourself right back to the starting line.
Plus, think about it: Who knows what a “problem” will even look like a day from now? A week? A month or a year? A “new normal” will continue to emerge, so stay focused on the right problems.
2. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Mission
A huge part of staying focused is keeping your company’s mission top of mind. Your mission is the foundation of your business. If you don’t have a strong foundation, you’re going to start seeing cracks, and your business will erode.
Dr. Aditya Nagrath, the CEO of Elephant Learning, tells us he leans into the mission of his company each day. Before any decision he makes, he asks: Does this help us achieve our mission? Is this going to empower children to learn math?
He got creative and set up a scorecard to help keep himself and his team focused on their mission. It asks various questions that get back to the core of the company’s mission. This ensures the team is getting the right work done.
It’s also important to hire individuals who believe in you, your company and your company’s mission. Weave what you believe into your hiring process. When interviewing, ask questions that shed light on a job candidate’s beliefs and values.
3. Pay Attention to the Data
When running a business, it’s easy to slip on those rose-colored glasses and charge forward. But it’s essential to pay attention to the information you have available — in particular, the cold, hard data.
When you look at the numbers, you remove the emotion and clearly look at what’s in front of you, especially before you make any big decisions.
“A lot of people and companies pivot before they’ve properly evaluated the opportunity,” says Tallis Salamatian, an entrepreneur who’s participated in more than a dozen ventures and the author of “Savvy Entrepreneurs Business Handbook.” “You have to really let the market tell you whether you need to pivot or not.”
Salamatian admits he pivoted his business several times without taking a real pulse of the market. Then he had to pivot back, wasting his time and resources.
4. Keep Calm and Press Pause
Don’t be afraid to press *pause* when you need it. No, this doesn’t have to be a big strategic pause. This can be a small pause in your day-to-day doings — one that’s just long enough to allow you to focus and refocus your daily operations and behaviors.
And don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know everything.
“I think most important in business is your ability to be flexible in your own mind, to realize you don’t know everything,” Bermant says. “You’ve got to stop thinking like, ‘I know everything.’ There’s a lot of stuff you don’t know.”
This is especially important as a business leader. Admit when something doesn’t work, and get creative and exercise flexibility to figure out what will work.
5. Open Yourself up to Focused Feedback
Feedback can be quite distracting. There’s always going to be something going on in your industry — some kind of problem. Bermant says this is especially common in real estate. Don’t let yourself get distracted — but also don’t totally close yourself off from that feedback.
Here’s how Bermant sees it: There are a bunch of possibilities that live inside what he calls your “triangle”. You’re totally aware of these possibilities. But, you don’t want to get stuck in that triangle, because you may not see the possibilities outside those three walls.
If a shareholder has an idea, listen. You don’t have to buy into it, but it’s worth being open to that feedback.
“The trick is to understand the place that the advice is coming from and apply the best advice,” Salamatian says.
It’s also important to be open to customer feedback. You need to have a good relationship with them. Now, this doesn’t mean go looking for problems in customer feedback — “if you look for something, you’re going to find it,” Salamatian says — but at least be open to hearing it.
Know When to Focus and Refocus
Being an entrepreneur or business leader requires you to know when to focus and refocus. To do this, Bermant says you need two things: 1.) the financial ability and 2.) a team that backs you.
Focusing and refocusing is a bold business move, but the reality is it’s imperative in these changing times. Just know how to do it right, and don’t lose focus on the foundation of your company.
Want to learn more about focusing and refocusing your business? See what else Bermant, Dr. Nagrath and Salamatian had to say on the topic in our podcast episode, “Focus and Refocus.” Don’t forget to subscribe to The BOLD Business Podcast for more insights on leadership and success.