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As you grow your business you will be faced with lots of potential, exciting opportunities.

This is the most important trait every entrepreneur needs to have

New customer segments, new markets, new product options. Surely one would say that this is a good thing. And, of course, it is.

Yet – it is also one of the main reasons why companies never reach their full potential and sometimes fail.

What is the problem?

Typically when you start out, life is simple. You identified a problem and target market (and if you’re careful about truly understanding the problem, it will be a highly targeted solution). You start delivering your product and hopefully get to product/market fit quickly.

Clean, clear and simple.

Then you grow.

And you see all these new opportunities. Often they are in adjacent markets. Sometimes they are more of a one-off solution but financially lucrative. Maybe they require just a few tweaks to your current product – or a lot.

The challenge is to say “no”, staying focused on what truly moves you forward and gets you closer to fulfill your vision.

Every opportunity is a potential distraction. Sometimes it is worth following the opportunity as it is aligned with your long-term goals. Often it requires the hard and painful commitment of gracefully declining the offer.

It requires relentless focus to dent the universe. But just being focused isn’t enough.

Focus on big matters

Look around you: I bet you money that most of the stuff which surrounds you, the things and services you interact with and quite possibly a large(r) amount of your possession are not that exciting to you. They are replaceable. They are there to be used and then tossed away.

It’s the same with most startups and the products or services they produce – they often end up being replaceable.

We live in a world where almost everything is worthless and very few things are exceptionally valuable.

Focus all your energy on creating something which becomes exceptionally valuable to your user. When you achieve this – your product becomes non-replaceable, regularly used and truly valuable.

Get busy with the right things

We all can be busy until the cows come home.

We can organize our email folders, make sure the telephone numbers in our address book are all formatted the same way, our documents all use the same font and line height, our business cards look just perfect… or we can work on the things which are truly important for our business: Make sales calls. Talk to customers. Figure out how to make money. Write invoices.

All too often I see entrepreneurs focus on the wrong things. The things which are fun (and often easy). But sadly not the things which move the needle forward.

Here’s the litmus test: Imagine coming home from work in the evening and telling your significant other or best friend what you did today. Would you be proud of what you achieved?

Would it make you proud to say the words: “Honey – I am the best entrepreneur who ever lived. I finalized our business card order today and cleaned up my desk.”

Or would it rather be: “Honey — today I crushed it. I called ten people, signed two new deals and we pushed the new version of our app live.”

Bottom-line: Focus on the right things. The things which matter. The things which get you closer to your milestones. And ignore everything else.

What do you think? Would you agree that focus is the ultimate trait every entrepreneur needs to have? Let me know in the comment section below.

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  • Frederick Scanlin

    I don’t believe anybody can name any successful business–or anything else that ever became a success for that matter–that would have become successful if their ‘founders’ weren’t proficient in the following area:’verbal communication skills’!!!
    .
    I believe that if you are honest about it, you would have to agree that virtually none of the successful business’s in all of human history would have been successful if it had not been for this ‘trait’.
    .
    I believe there are millions of people on a global scale who are deficient in this trait, resulting in many successful ventures in all sectors of society from ever seeing the light of day—see what not having this ‘trait’ has cost me in my life at http://discounstores.weebly.com