By Solomon Thimothy, serial entrepreneur and CEO of OneIMS. Read more at Thimothy.com.
I've worked as the CEO of my marketing company for the past 15 years. As you can imagine, in that time frame, I've seen a myriad of new competitive businesses emerge, offering an array of different marketing services. On top of that, the digital marketing landscape has changed a lot. I'm not talking over years or even months; in this industry, changes happen overnight.
Those who are nimble and act fast tend to do well. But it takes more than an ability to be an executioner; you have to be a strategizer. Luckily, there's no shortage of imaginative folks who can bring something new to the table.
There are so many chess moves being made that it is extremely easy to take on too many things if you can't learn the art of focus or saying no. That said, this article is going to lay out some grounding rules to help you decide what to say no to and when to stick to your guns.
1. Choose Your Lane
By this, I mean clearly establishing your unique selling proposition. Whether you entered the market first and have decades of experience to back your company name or you serve a select niche-specific group, know what sets you apart. Too many businesses try to compete on the same value propositions. This just ends up as one too many companies all sounding like they offer the same thing and no real differentiation point.
Your value proposition could as well be that you are different. Don't be afraid to lay out what sets you apart and even more importantly, let your customers know how your unique traits benefit them. In a world where companies follow up with, "We do that, too," don't be afraid to be the one saying, "That's just not us, but we do XYZ." Most likely, customers will appreciate your authenticity and genuineness.
2. Give Each Project Enough Time
You may be attracted to shiny lights. For example, as soon as the next headline reads "X company launches Y software to capture new leads" clients are all over it and are wondering why your business doesn't offer it yet.
Stick to what you know works and have the patience to see what's a fad and what's going to stick. Working with a ton of bright-minded individuals means there's no shortage of ideas. While they all may have the legs for growth potential, find the one idea that makes the most sense for your business and see it through at least one to two quarters.
3. Execute Until it's Nearly Perfect
Notice the word "nearly" here. While perfection may be a good feeling when grading ourselves, zeroing in on a project too closely can actually be detrimental to success. Don't get caught up in every minor detail, as this is how time passes us by (along with our competitors).
Build your timelines with a launch date and stick to it. Along the way, there may be things that will knock you off your guard rails; but with a proficient plan, your team can stick to what must be done for a successful launch. Keep the goal in sight.
4. Rinse, Repeat and Double Down On What Works
Have you ever met that person who says, "I'd have a lot more success if I just had time to reflect?" Perhaps we are all guilty of falling into that bucket every now and then.
If you have to book an Airbnb in the rural towns of New Mexico to be alone and reflect, make it happen. Go to the drawing board and assess what you did well with each project and what you can improve on.
The overall message is to build a strategy and stay keenly focused on closing down on it. Commit to something that you're at least 80 percent sure will bring in the new revenue, and don't let shiny object syndrome distract you from obtaining it.
It was Steve Jobs who said, "Focus means saying no to the hundred other good ideas. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying 'no' to 1,000 things. You have to pick carefully."