There are pieces of advice that you never seem to forget; you remember exactly where you were in your life and who gave it to you. For me, there were a few mentors who shared advice that helped me learn one of the most important qualities of an entrepreneur. Although I would love to share each story with you (and maybe one day I will), there is one in particular that stands out from the rest.
Matthew Kelly, author of The Dream Manager, became a mentor of mine when I was in my twenties. I met him right around the time I started to embrace my entrepreneurial spirit and started reading books like Think and Grow Rich and The Art of War. While I enjoyed reading all of the business and personal development books I could get my hands on, I was even more excited when I got to meet the authors. I loved hearing their advice firsthand and having the opportunity to ask questions.
While I was working at the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, I convinced Matthew to speak at one of our Trustee luncheons. Of course he was a hit and after the event I was able to steal some one-on-one time with him. I still remember how I felt when he walked into my office, sat down and asked me “What is your dream?” I was beyond excited about his question because not only could I tell him my dreams, I could actually show him. I had created an entire flow chart of things that I wanted to accomplish, businesses I would start, books I would write, etc.
Knowing that he was going to be completely impressed with the plans I had so carefully mapped out, I looked up at him with a huge smile while anxiously awaiting his response. He sat back in the chair, looked at me with a smirk on his face and slowly started asking me how I was going to accomplish everything on that long piece of paper.
That question lead to a much bigger conversation and instead of boring you with the details on the roundabout way it took to get this bright-eyed twenty-something girl to finally understand the point, I will simply share that I learned the most important quality necessary to succeed is: focus.
As an entrepreneur, it can be so easy to get caught up in the next “big thing”. We begin our paths and all of a sudden a new bright and shiny object (aka: opportunity) shows up and we are tempted to veer off course and add one more thing to our already full plate. Although I started getting great advice from my mentors in my twenties, it wasn’t until many years later that I actually applied what I learned.
For years I had multiple projects going at one time. I had pages of ideas, but never actually put together the book. I had left the chamber in 2008 to start a business only to end up back in my office in 2009. I am thankful for all of my experiences throughout the years, but am most excited about the past two years in growing Marketing Divaz. I finally understand what all of my mentors were talking about.
Focus. It sounds so easy, but in today’s over-stimulating world, most of us find it quite challenging. Are you laser-focused on your small business? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have clear, concise SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals?
- Do I know exactly what I need to do every day/week/month (and am I tracking them) to ensure I achieve my goals?
- Do I know when a prospect is not a good fit and am I ok with walking away from that deal instead of trying to figure out a way to make it work?
- Do I say no to meetings and opportunities that I believe will be a waste of time?
- Do I stop myself from wasting time constantly checking emails, Facebook, blogs, etc.?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, congratulations! If no came up a couple of times, take some time to address them. The clearer you can be with your goals and how you are going to achieve them, the more you are going to love being focused and better yet, start seeing amazing results.
For example, when I had a full time job (steady paycheck included), I didn’t mind taking lunch meetings with anyone simply because they wanted to meet with me. The second I became a business owner, my mindset changed. Every second counts and I don’t have time for two hour lunches. When someone asks to meet for lunch, I typically decline and ask for a Skype or phone call. Having a conversation over the phone is a great way to learn more about someone’s business and decide if an in person or lunch meeting is a good next step.
How do you stay focused in your business? With so many opportunities thrown at you every day, what do you do to ensure that you are staying on track to meet your business goals? Comment below, we want to know.
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