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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Focus: Yourself and your business

Consultant Michael Stone uses video (Youtube) to promote his book "Profitable sales, A Contractors' Guide" . "The focus of your construction-related company must be on sales. Nothing happens in any business until somebody sells something. "

Earlier this week, Dave Crick of Construction Business Development (The Construction Sales and Marketing blog) in the U.K. sent me this email:

Hi Mark, be good to catch up again some time soon, life is very busy with new clients.

Just for clarification, I work mainly with a guy called John Raines on the blog. John is a very bright university student with time available who writes well and can take our material and make it blog-friendly. Andrew Crick is my son who specialises in Internet traffic generation and who is beginning to work with us more closely. My trouble is that I'm an inveterate doer who enjoys his work and finds little time over for management and creative stuff of any kind! I guess that's a typical scenario for professionals firms on both sides of the Atlantic. A virtual creative team seems to be me the best answer here ...

Best regards,

Dave Crick

Dave's observations are appropriate and in line with John Raines' posting on their blog: The Business Focus – Why it’s Important.

The need for differentiation is particularly true in the construction industry, which is what CBD focuses on.

It is a crowded business with a lot of competition, particularly in the UK, because of the geographical proximity of many of these businesses and also the rather grim current economic situation. Thus, maximum success lies in a clear focus on work in your areas of real, proven strength. If you have isolated this market and are intensely focused on it, you will hopefully grow to be a recognized expert in your chosen field.

Are you trying to be all things to all people in your business? You should stop and take stock. But equally, if you are defining your marketing in an excessively narrow sense: "I'll only do this if it has fast payback", you may be missing the point. I'm now preparing a new marketing piece for my companies, one which we will include with our rate sheets and information. it reads:

Most importantly, you’ll find we will work with you to succeed, regardless of the size and scale of your business. Our perspective is interdisciplinary, but our values reflect the universal ideals of respect, fairness, and belief in your business potential. Call us if you have any questions. We’ll listen and provide practical guidance and support.

How do I reconcile this expression with the fact that we indeed are wary of going too far away from our safety zone in terms of product market, scope and interest?

The answer is reasonably simple. It takes just a few minutes to courteously help out someone who doesn't fit into our market profile, to decline the business opportunity and redirect the person to a place that is more appropriate. And many of our clients fit a narrow profile where they can/should do business with us once or twice for a small amount of money. They still deserve respect and we provide it to them.

Finally, focus can be seen in a personal as well as business sense (though the two merge in this observation). We all have different talents and strengths, interests, and priorities. A great business brings different people together into a cohesive team -- for CBD, for example, Dave Crick and John Raines may have totally different talents, but they work together to achieve their goals. I don't expect all of my salespeople or administrators to rush out and start blogs and write like I do. They can, if they want, and I encourage it, but I know their skills may be in different areas. We should focus our own energies, just as our businesses should have clearly understood focuses and interests -- while respecting and connecting to the wider world.

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