A business’s natural tendency is to try to be all things to all people. In an ad on my local radio station, a company states, “No customer is too small or too large!” Another company does “major and minor construction projects!” Can you really have it both ways? Is your target market everyone? Do you offer anything to anyone with a possible result of offering very little to very few?
When you focus, you define what you do and for whom you do it. This is a narrowing process. And it’s one of the best ways to ensure your entire organization is working toward a common goal. Take King Arthur Flour as an example.
King Arthur’s business focus is producing very high-quality baking flour for educated consumers. It’s not really in the flour business as much as it is in the baking business. This simple focus motivates employees because they know their products are being counted on to make the customers’ baking experience the best it can be.
King Arthur uses its focus to distinguish itself from the competition as well. This business focus helps the company earn the respect of its stakeholders. Both the leadership and the workforce feel that King Arthur is special because of what it stands for, what it does, and how it does it.
Focus is probably one of the most difficult concepts for many leaders to accept. We often equate focus with limitations or saying no to opportunities. To most people, saying no to opportunities is like saying no to growth. But focus does not mean giving something up. It means identifying your company’s claim or promise; the benefit you promise to deliver to your customers each time they buy from you.