Secrets of Success

Secrets of Success

A business blog by Robin Martin

Stay Focused

Remember the fate of the cruise ship Costa Concordia? It ended up capsized on rocks off the Italian coast just north of Rome.

At his trial the captain was found guilty of manslaughter and abandoning his ship. It was also established at the trial that he was distracted by his girlfriend, who was on the bridge of the ship at the time of the incident.

This is a perfect reminder of what can happen if you get distracted, take your eye off the ball or don’t stick to your knitting.

In business, getting distracted often means poor decisions, bad results and ultimately a huge risk to the health of your company. There are plenty of examples of good companies getting caught out by losing focus and straying from the path.

You may recall Unilever, the huge multinational manufacturer, decided to move into retail – but soon found out they didn’t have the experience or expertise to run high street shops. They ended up selling the business at a huge loss.

A bit closer to home, Michael Hill Jeweller moved away from its core business of selling sparkly gems and moved into footwear retailing, yep shoe shops. That didn’t last long and they lost a ton of money.

You need to concentrate on your core business. It’s important not to spend money and time on the wrong issues, in the wrong place. The market place can change and sneak up on you and before you know it you’re being outflanked in areas you should be ruling.

So what are the key areas you should spend time and/or money on? It could be your core customers, your core markets, core capabilities, core functionality, core assets, or core technology.

It’s also important that you keep focused at a personal level too. After all, your business is a manifestation of you and your culture.

So, what can you do to sharpen your focus?

  • Schedule your day the night before
  • Clean up your office the night before
  • Wake up early
  • Exercise
  • Stick to your schedule
  • Make 60 second decisions

…and here are some ideas to stay focused at work by managing distractions:

  • Check up on yourself and pinpoint the cause
  • Be prepared
  • Go offline
  • Have a break, tune it out, break it down, clean it up.

I regularly stop and review my own position – get up and walk around and get a fresh perspective.

Focus, focus, focus. At being excellent at what you do – including keeping an eye on the inevitable changes that continually occur around your business. Then be ready to move at short notice.

By the way, the Captain of the Costa Concordia is still in jail serving a 16-year jail sentence all because he let himself get distracted. Don’t make the same mistake.

Keep your eye on the ball, stay focused and keep your business off the rocks.


Robin Martin

P.S. This article is part of my Secrets of Success series, aimed at helping business owners and entrepreneurs with some of the key components of business success. The insights I wish I’d had at the start of my business career. I hope that by passing on these little gems of knowledge I can give you some support and help you along the pathway to growth and prosperity.

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