Entrepreneurial Focus: Is There Such Thing?

Jan 15, 2012, Written by Sue Miley

Using the word focus and entrepreneur in the same sentence is somewhat of an oxymoron.  ADD and entrepreneur; yes! But, focus, not so much.

Even though staying focused is not in our natural temperament, it is necessary.  It doesn’t make sense to use who we are, our temperament, or personality as an excuse to why we don’t do the things that make us successful.

Entrepreneurs are smart.  We read about business.  The business books and posts tell us we need a vision and a mission.

We get straight to work on creating them.  We define our core values and our point of difference.  We have some talks with our team about what the main purpose of our business is and how we are going to have a killer year focusing on them.

The Next New Idea

Two weeks later a new idea pops into our head.  It’s a great idea!

Do we go back and evaluate it against our vision and mission?

Do we analyze the time and investment it will take and the impact to our core mission?

Are you kidding?

We are usually half way through execution before these questions even come to mind.

It is usually brought to our minds when we have conflicting resources; or something happens in the momentum of our core business that brings us back to reality.

And, it isn’t really a stretch that the distraction that stops us short of full execution of the new idea is that third idea that comes across our desk.

We may start on this idea too!

Wait, What About Our Mission?

When someone finally call us on it.

I thought our core business was…..

I thought we were going to stay focused and execute our plan…..

I thought ……

The Entrepreneur’s Capacity For Self Deception

Do we come to our senses and admit our momentary distraction and get back on track?  Or do we give the song and dance we have told ourselves when the cognitive dissonance reaches an all time high:

Yeah, but this is a growing segment of the industry….

Yeah, but if we don’t jump on this now, we may miss the window of opportunity….

Yeah, but this should be a money maker…..

And most of the time, we proceed to dilute our focus, diminish our execution, and continue to juggle the many ideas that come to us.


We can’t help it. It is in our DNA.  It’s what entrepreneur’s do.

Benefits of Fighting Our Natural DNA

It is what entrepreneurs do.  But it isn’t necessarily the effective part of entrepreneurship.

It is one of the reasons that 9 out of 10 small businesses fail in the first 5 years.  It is one of the reasons that entrepreneurs end up working 14 hour days.  It is how entrepreneurs lose team members who aren’t sure what they are supposed to be doing and get frustrated.  It is why many small businesses never build a brand, because their brand message is muddled.

Focus can help you manage resources more effectively.

Focus can help you gain traction and momentum and grow your business.

Focus can help your team to be unified towards a common goal.

Focus can help your business become known for something.

Focus can even move your business to a maintenance mode allowing you to then move on to excellently execute the next great idea!!

Reader Interactions


  1. Loren Pinilis says

    You hit the nail on the head when you talked about our capacity for self deception. I’ve had to learn to proceed carefully and with a lot of counsel whenever deciding to chase a new, shiny opportunity. And the biggest factor I use to examine a new venture is focus – just like you mentioned. Great stuff.

  2. Chris Patton says

    Wow, Sue. Great post!

    I am third generation ownership in the family business. It is really my father who is the entrepreneur, but I see a lot of me in what you describe above. And I just thought I was 79D (that is one click shy of ADD)!

    Thanks for the insight!

  3. Laurie@Christian Home Business Owners says

    Ah yes, this resonates with me too! You think this could be the thing that will do what I need it to:-)

    You are so right, though, that we need to keep our focus. Otherwise, how can we possibly effectively reach lots of different markets? How can we keep up?

    If we really (I mean really) focused on one business for a year, what do you think that could do for our business success?

    Great post:-)

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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