Are you the kind of person who has lots of small business ideas? How do you corral your thinking so you can focus on one opportunity at a time? Should you? What direction should you go?
Yes, build one business at a time. Create the systems that enable you to delegate most of it. Then you can move into the next.
That sounds great, doesn’t it? I don’t think anyone ever actually does that.
Here’s a more usual situation, from Thistle Cove Farm, from our comment section:
I’m in the throes of decision regarding how far to take TCF Studio…family health concerns have forced me to re-evaluate my commitments off the farm and I’ve stopped volunteer work off the farm. Instead, I make and bake things on the farm and then deliver or mail to folks in need. Another decision is whether or not to step up the magazine and book writing schedule. IOW, make a serious commitment as opposed to a sometimes commitment.
I read the excellent article on “guru or expert” and thought the advice worthwhile. I’ve taught at University level and that information is waiting to be put into a book.
I’m nattering on but think what I’m really trying to say is…I need to focus. I need to figure out what it is I want to accomplish. Once I figure out my primary focus, then I can decide what needs to become secondary or even what to put on the back burner.
My trouble is just about everything interests me and I like to dabble and think this is something all small business owners/farmers have in common.
How do others choose their focus?
When the topic came up, Stargardener added:
I have an ongoing dance contest between “serious commitment” and “sometimes commitment” myself. And it has been my experience (working with small business owners) that this is something we definitely have in common.
Ideas and pursuits bubble-up within us on a regular basis! Daily! I refer to these as Idea Volcanoes and keep track of my own via creative journaling and collage-making.
Personally, I have put myself on the “not one more thing” status, claiming I won’t add one more thing to my commitments. Of course, I’m not really sticking to that, but I am being much more selective. Right now, I have to stop and think about how many businesses I have. And even then, it depends how you draw the line between the different businesses.
Here’s why I do it: diversification. If one business is down, I hope to be able to offset it with an increase in another. In a small town, you may not have enough market to make your entire living from a single business. But that can also be an excuse for not focusing on an opportunity that deserves more dedicated effort.
How about you? What suggestions do you have for getting or maintaining business focus?
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I am constantly dancing between 3/5 different work adventures and some days wonder what the heck I am doing. But I cannot seem to stop myself from seeking out the diversification and variety that each one adds to my life!
Want the list?
1988: TAV Creations : custom sewing and design
1998/99: Halyma’s Belly Dancing For Fun – classes and performances plus the TAV Creations website went up so that I could keep up with the times regarding the first business!
2008/2009 Eco-TAV manifested itself in my life as my newest adventure where I design and produce environmentally friendly food bags and more.
Adventures 4 and 5 are subsets with overlapping power:
1 – Ottawa Dancers Bazaar – I organize this event twice a year to sell my own stuff [ along with the 30 other vendors I bring in] and bring together the Belly dance community in Ottawa and beyond!
2 – Ottawa Centre Class Party: again twice a year I organize this, it is a big dance recital that again promotes my belly dance classes and skills along with about 10 other teachers and their student groups in the Ottawa area!
And this past year has been a head first dive into blogging, social media, online discoveries and exploration – I just don’t know how – nor do I want to step back from any of it!
It is all part of who I am, but some days ….
There is a TED talk about a different approach to success by Alain de Botton. It inspired me to keep going with all of my fun, but cutting myself some slack while doing it!
Brad Harmon says
Isn’t it interesting that the answers are so simple but putting them into practice seems to be so difficult? You gave such great advice when you wrote “create the systems that enable you to delegate most of it.” So why don’t we do it?
Perhaps we just don’t like to do the little things because, let’s face it, they can be quite tedious and boring. Maybe it is just a matter of paying all of our attention to the squeaky wheel and forgetting about it in the process. It could be that we just don’t really understand how powerful creating that system can be.
What a shame that we keep ourselves burdened down with the day-to-day activities of running our small businesses. In the end, I guess it is just too easy to put it off.
Thistle Cove Farm says
Delegate to whom? Most of the small business owners and farmers I know are owner operators and hire folks on an as needed basis. We have no full or even part time labor other than ourselves.
I believe I’ll put the old fashioned pencil to paper, columns of pro and con and see what I can figure out. I think it’s going to be a lot easier than I’ve been anticipating. -smile-
Becky McCray says
Let’s talk about delegating for a moment. If you don’t grow the business up to the point it can pay for its own help, then that business is a candidate to abandon. If you can grow it up, then let it hire, either on payroll or on contract as appropriate. This may require some folks to change their thinking, as many of us entrepreneurs have a “I’ll do it all myself” attitude.
In another way of thinking, here are 10 ways to delegate without hiring.