By John C. Kelly


Most of you have heard the adage that the three most important words in real estate are LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. There is a similar adage for business, where the three most important words are FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS.

The biggest mistake that small businesses make is the inability or unwillingness to stay focused on one goal. In the desire to bring in revenue, there are uncontrollable urges to spread one’s self too thin, to say yes to too many opportunities, or to hedge one’s bet by offering a smorgasbord of products and services. These urges must be resisted. You may have the skills to do many things; however, to be successful, you must narrow your focus like a laser beam.

Perhaps the most extreme example of a confused message I have seen was a small retail store I entered last winter while sailing in the Caribbean. They sold three things: weed whackers, tennis shoes, and school supplies. That was the weirdest combination of products I have ever seen. They had to contend with three totally different supply networks and with three disconnected market segments.
There must be no ambiguity in your customer’s mind as to what you do and why you are the best at it. Once you have settled on your niche, your marketing message and marketing methodology will naturally fall into place. Your ideal customer will become clear, and your distractions will fall to the wayside.

A wonderful byproduct of focusing on a narrow niche is that you eliminate most of your competition. Yes, you narrow the market size as well, but when you are small, this narrowing will work to your advantage. In the beginning, it is most important to keep things simple. It is better to dominate a tiny market than be diffused in a big market. Ultimately, you would be able to say that:

  • You are the best at what you do and back it up with examples
  • You can write articles and give speeches on your specialty
  • You can write a monthly tip sheet on your specialty
  • You can write and self-publish a book on your specialty
  • You can identify a single trade show your customers attend
  • You can identify a single trade magazine your customers read
  • You can identify a single association your customers belong to

As you explore areas of business opportunity, you must set aside the many areas you could do and pick the one that you think is your best opportunity. The goal is not to find multiple areas to tackle but to find the best area, and then put all your resources behind it. Remember, the three most important words in business are FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS.

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The Three Most Important Words in Business