Getting Started With A Business: Keep Your Focus

Focus is essential for achieving a goal… any goal.

Owners of new cloth diaper companies tend to spend a great deal of time looking at (and worrying about) what other cloth diaper companies are doing. What everyone else is doing doesn’t matter. What *does* matter is what you are doing, how you are doing it and when you’re doing it.

To effectively grow a new company, you need to set a goal. New companies usually have a first year revenue goal. What is your revenue goal? When do you want to achieve that revenue goal?

Once you have a primary focus, then work to set some intermediary goals. I suggest following these basic steps:

  1. Make a plan. Decide what you want to accomplish.
  2. Attempt one thing to reach that goal. Be sure you’re only changing one thing at a time. For instance, don’t launch several new advertising concepts at once. Stick with one idea.
  3. Measure performance. Did anything happen?
  4. Keep a journal of what happens.
  5. Iterate.

Here is an example of how you might apply these steps:

  1. PLAN: I want to sell more bumGenius cloth diapers in July.
  2. ATTEMPT: I’m going to put them at the top of my homepage.
    (NOTE: I’m not launching any other advertising. I’m not changing anything else.)
  3. MEASURE: Do a sales report at the end of July. Did my sales of bumGenius increase? Yes. This worked and it was free.
  4. JOURNAL: During the month of June, I sold 30 bumGenius diapers. On July 1st, I moved bumGenius to the top of my homepage. In July, I sold 50 bumGenius diapers. Cost: $0 Benefit: 40% increase in brand sales
  5. ITERATE: Create a new experiment. Repeat the process.

When you are constantly running experiments with a single minded focus, continued, careful, rational decisions tend to result in business growth. It is important to maintain market awareness, but only in your peripheral vision. You are working on taking small steps, one at a time, towards a specific goal. On the other hand, if you spend most of your time focused on reacting to what the rest of the marketplace is doing, you’ll probably make more irrational decisions based in emotion. You may grow, but it will probably be slow and painful. Companies who stay focused tend to grow more in the long run.

Keep your eyes set on a goal… and keep walking. It’s a lot more fun to run a company that way.

Jenn is the Founder and CEO of Cotton Babies. She holds an Executive MBA from Washington University. She was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Emerging Category for the Central Midwest Region in 2011. Among many other awards, she recently received a 2017 YWCA Leader of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship. Jenn holds many patents on various inventions in a number of different countries and is listed as one of 50 Missourians You Should Know. She is particularly fascinated by languages, chickens, and children (she has four) when she’s not reading economics journals. Jenn offers mentorship to product developers at any stage in the journey from idea to shelf.