In today’s post, I’m going to share a strategy with you that’s used by the world’s most successful businesses. I’ll also show how I use it and explain why you should too.
I’m referring to operating your business with a focused and agile mindset. Those words almost sound like opposites. But they’re not. And in business they work together beautifully. Here’s how focus and agility work together.
- You need to know what it is you want to achieve from your business and stay focused on it.
- However, you also need to adopt an agile approach regarding how it happens. Then, as new feedback and opportunities come along, you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
In short, you remain both focused and agile.
Here are a couple of well-known examples, along with how I use the same strategy.
You couldn’t buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks
It’s hard to believe today. But it’s true. Starbucks had been in business for a few years (and had already opened its first 5 outlets), before they sold a cup of coffee to anyone. Prior to this, Starbucks sold coffee beans. Agile thinking allowed them to identify a new opportunity, when they noticed how customers enjoyed sampling their coffee beans in-store.
Starbucks’ focus remained the same: to build a successful coffee business. However, their approach changed.
Instagram used to be a check-in app
Instagram started life in 2010 as a check-in app called Burbn. The developers decided their app was too similar to Foursquare, so they pivoted. All their efforts were switched to the photo-sharing component of the Burbn app. Instagram was born.
Their agile thinking allowed them to identify an opportunity for a filter based photo-sharing app. They ran with it. And just 2 years later, the app was acquired by Facebook for approximately $1 billion in a combination of cash and shares.
The founder’s focus remained the same: to build a successful app. However, their approach changed.
I could have used examples from Suzuki, which used to manufacture weaving looms. Or Nintendo, which has previously sold instant rice, vacuum cleaners and even offered a taxi service. And I could have mentioned how Twitter was born from the ashes of a podcast sharing app called Odeo.
But that almost misses the point.
The point is that it’s not only billion dollar companies that use a focused and agile approach. There are businesses of all sizes, achieving breakthrough results from the exact same strategy.
How I use focus and agility
I started out as a marketing consultant, who visited clients at their premises or at my offices in London. When I relocated to a tiny village in the countryside, I quickly decided I didn’t want to waste hours every day travelling. So, I switched to working remotely. Initially I used phones, then switched to VoIP and now full video conferencing.
Not only did this mean zero time wasted on travel, it also cut my overhead by around 98%! Plus, it opened up the whole world to my services. For the past 18 years I’ve worked globally, in over 30 countries, (as well as every state in the United States).
My focus remained the same: to build a successful marketing business. However, my approach changed.
Whatever line of work you are in, there are massive gains to be made by embracing a focused, agile approach to the development of your business.
It’s also worth remembering that the world is changing at an ever increasing pace. An agile and focused approach may be an essential component in 2020 and beyond. Not just to thrive, but to survive.