How to Be Focused- 3 Reasons Why Small Business Owners Have a Hard Time Doing It

firemen-78110__180 pixabyIf you are one of most small business owners who have a difficult time focusing on one thing at a time, rest assured you are not the only one. To be focused is  one mark of a successful leader.

As John Carmack once said “Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.”

The main problem for most business owners is not only that they are trying to do too much. The main problem is they are trying to do too much, most of it at the same time. And herein lies the problem; a very expensive and costly problem.

I often tell my business clients that they are much like a circus juggler. (pic of circus juggler) Trying to juggle too many things at once makes it extremely difficult to properly focus on any them.

Here is an exercise to do. Let’s see how well you can complete it.
Recite the alphabet beginning with a, b, c, d, etc.
Now count backwards from 100 to 79 for example 100, 99, 98 97 etc.
You probably were able to do each of those tasks quite easily and quickly. Congratulations!

Now try reciting the alphabet from the beginning and counting backwards from 100. So it would sound something like this:
a-100, b-99, c-98, d-97, e-96

Not so easy is it? Why is that? Because you are trying to “multi-task”. Most people, when trying to do two things at once, do both of the tasks less effectively than if they did them separately. Subpar would be a better descriptor.

As a savvy business owner, would you knowingly hire employees who are poor performers. Of course not. So the question is, why do you attempt to do more than one task at a time and do both poorly. Here is my point.  Be focused. Stop trying to do two of your position responsibilities at the same time. Doing so will allow you to be more focused and more valuable to your company.

Another reason why many small business owners cannot focus is they can’t let go. They can’t let go of controlling many of the tasks in their business. When they first started the company, most business owners had to do everything. There wasn’t anyone else that could do various tasks. So, they became good at some of those obligations and the others they performed fair to poorly. With hard work and persistence their business began to grow. They hired more people to do some of those tasks, but they remained in control of most of those tasks.

At various times they would take a step back to work right alongside their employees. Although that sounds very altruistic, most times it is just not a good idea. As small business guru, Michael Gerber has often said, “you can’t work on the business if you keep working in the business.”

Having to control everything means you start to lose your control over everything. My recommendation is to learn to delegate some of your tasks to someone else in your company. It will allow you to focus on more important and productive responsibilities.

Finally, the third reason why small business owners have a difficult time focusing is because they have too much on their plate. They experience an uncomfortable feeling of overwhelm.

The key is to know the difference between which tasks are important and which ones are urgent. Once you decide, you can do one at a time by properly prioritizing them. Most small business owners do not have an effective system to do this. This results in an endless journey of being surprised by and having to put out fires as a daily routine. No wonder they find themselves stressed out, short tempered and exhausted at the end of the day.

When I begin to work with my new small business clients, the first thing we do is have them create an Action Board. This can help them to be focused on a daily and weekly basis.

In a nutshell, an Action Board is a visual tool you use to track all projects from their inception to completion. By monitoring and working this board daily, it is amazing how much you can get done by being able to prioritize and maneuver your project list.

Whichever system you use to determine which of your tasks are urgent or important or both, make sure you use it on a regular basis.

Once you learn how to stop doing everything at the same time and focus your energy on specific projects, you will experience a feeling of real control.  You will be focused. When that happens, you will be on your way to a more enjoyable experience of running your small business at this oasis in the galaxy called earth.

What are your thoughts on this? I welcome your calls and comments.

Tom Borg is a team building and customer experience business expert who works with small business owners struggling to break through to the next level of success. He does this through his consulting, coaching and speaking. For more information on how he can help you and your company call (734) 404-5909 or email him at: tom@tomborg.com or visit his website at: www.@tomborgconsulting.com

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Tom Borg


My name is Tom Borg. I am a business expert who works with small and mid-size companies to effectively and profitably improve customer acquisition and retention. I help these businesses through his use of my consulting, speaking, training and coaching. To ask me a question or to hire me, please contact me at: (734) 404-5909 or email me at: tom@tomborg.com or visit my website at: www.tomborgconsulting.com

Tom Borg