By M Dana Baldwin, Senior Consultant
What is focus? Why is focusing on your business so important it should be a key element of your strategic planning? Why is it a key to your ongoing success? What happens when you lose focus?
To illustrate what focus is, let’s use the example of a camera. In order to take a good picture with your camera, digital or film, your subject needs to be in focus. By focus, we mean that the subject needs to be in sharp definition, clearly visible, and properly illuminated. In business and many other activities, the same care to bring things into sharp definition needs to be incorporated into our daily lives and, especially, into our strategic planning for the future course and direction of your organization.
By having good focus, you should be concentrating on the key elements required for your success as an organization. You should bring all the elements of the organization into the process of developing appropriate strategies to maximize the performance and longevity of those core parts of your business first, as this will most often determine whether your organization will succeed or fail.
Why the core parts of your business? The core business segments are the foundation upon which your organization depends in order to be successful going forward. This definitely does not limit your company to doing only those core segments which are at the center of your ongoing operations, but it does mean that you should be heavily focused on making the core segments as profitable and sustainable as possible, so you will have a secure, healthy base on which to build.
What can happen when your company loses focus? There are multiple possible paths which may be followed when you lose focus. One is that your organization starts putting time, people and money into projects which do not rely on, nor build on, your key strengths. By diversifying in an unplanned way, your loss of focus may mean that your core business could be neglected, thus harming the key segments which are the center of your ongoing business. This can lead to a downward spiral, losing market share, earning lower profits and eroding your customer base in the key center parts of your business. Another path can occur when you stray from your core businesses without a good strategy to diversify. This can lead to investing time, people and money into markets in which you have no significant competitive advantage, and at the same time, taking resources from key elements of your successful business segments, thus sapping their ability to make sufficient profits to sustain the whole organization. This, too, can lead to a downward spiral in the ability of your business to be profitable, to grow and to survive.
If you think you may have some of the challenges outlined above, one good approach is to improve your strategic planning efforts. You can start this by attending one of our highly acclaimed seminars Simplified Strategic Planning, or by contacting us at: to discuss your situation.
M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at: .