Kelford Labs Daily: The hard part of focusing

It means saying no.

Kelford Labs Daily: The hard part of focusing

“Choosing the focus for our firm remains The Difficult Business Decision.”

— Blair Enns, The Win Without Pitching Manifesto

Sometimes, I talk about focus like it’s easy. But I don’t mean to, because it isn’t.

It’s hard. Like, really hard. It feels bad to focus.

Because focus means saying no. If you’re not regularly turning down work, you’re probably not focusing.

But who’d be crazy enough to turn down work, right? In this economy?

Well, the people who want to grow. Because taking every opportunity that comes our way means we’re taking on more than opportunities—we’re taking on distractions, too.

Like jobs that take you away from what you’re best at, and don’t help you learn anything new.

Or clients that wear you down so you can’t do your best work for clients you actually like.

Or projects that “will grow into something bigger,” but, weirdly, never seem to.

I don’t suggest focus out of disregard for the economics of the situation, or the challenge. I recommend focusing because of them.

Because the better we focus, the better our best prospects will understand what we do best.

Otherwise, why would they choose us? Otherwise, we’ll have to win on price, or on endless availability, or unsustainable flexibility.

But if we’re able to stake out a reputation for being the very best at one thing for one clear type of customer, then we win based on credibility.

Which is something we can sustain.

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