Keeping focused on your business: Staying on track

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It can be hard to remain focused on the key important areas of your business. There are often lots of competing priorities – each fighting for your attention – and it is easy to fall into the trap of getting distracted by a side project.

This article explores particle approaches to help you retain focus on key areas of your business – avoiding distractions and side projects.

Formalizing a business plan

Possibly the most important approach for keeping on track is to establish a business plan. This is easy to put off, but having a formal approach to how you will be competing can help you keep focused. Putting pen to paper allows you to lay out all of the critical stages that you will need to accomplish in order to launch and grow your firm, helping you see the bigger picture of your approach, rather than getting caught in the weeds of small details.

Avoiding side projects

It is all too easy to get caught up with side projects, that distract you from your core objectives. While it is great to see lots of opportunities that you can capitalize on, sometimes you can get caught in a situation where there is always something more sparkly, grabbing your attention and pulling you away from the task at hand.

This is where having a business plan – and holding yourself accountable for implementing it – can help. You should try and strike the balance between pivoting where it will help improve performance, without constantly being in a state of flux, always moving between different pet projects without fully committing yourself to any.

Sometimes formally asking yourself ‘is this a genuinely important activity’ can help avoid pursuing the side projects. While it is easy to convince yourself in the moment that of course it is important, taking a step back and formally asking the question can 

Continually monitoring performance

Another component of staying on track is to continually measure performance. Measuring the performance of key metrics, important to the success of your firm, can help you stay on track by continually reinforcing the areas that you need to prioritize.

There is a saying: ‘what gets monitored, get’s done’. Simply monitoring the performance of key metrics can have a profound impact on your behavior and the behavior of your team. When you are making decisions, you will likely prioritize the areas that help achieve the measured objectives. It is much less likely that you will lose focus if you are constantly reminded of goals and your progress towards those goals. 

Periodic reviews of progress

Beyond continually monitoring progress, it can also be useful to periodically take a step back and review the direction of the business. Launching a firm requires both a simultaneous focus on implementation and also strategic direction. Sometimes it is possible to get too caught up on one extreme – either the day-to-day activities or the strategic direction of the firm.  

While continually monitoring progress on key metrics can help ensure that the day-to-day activities of the firm are improving, period reviews an important complement that helps establish that the overall direction of the firm is on track. Taking a step back from routine business activities may for example highlight important areas that you are not currently focusing on, allowing you to re-allocate effort to these overlooked areas.

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