Change is Constant...Focus is a Choice
It’s a wrap on 2022! Reflecting on the year both personally and professionally, it’s been full of change and new beginnings. On a personal level, we lost both of my parents within a period of six weeks early in the year. Shortly after, we welcomed our first grandchild into the family. And just a few months ago, our son got engaged to our future daughter-in-law.
On a business level, we set out on a course with our strategic plan and ended up making adjustments several times. We ended the year just shy of our financial goals and have a very clear picture headed into 2023 based on the course corrections we made in 2022.
Change has been constant in our clients’ lives and businesses as well. We had clients who lost loved ones during this past year, including one business owner whose wife passed away while we were days away from signing a letter of intent on the much-anticipated sale of his business.
Looking back on the events of the past year, the one thing that is constant is change. I know this – I’ve written about it before! But it still catches me off-guard. If you had asked me at the start of the year whether my parents would be around for birthdays, holidays, and general family get togethers, I would have absolutely said yes! I knew that we would be welcoming a grandchild into the world, but we didn’t know if we would have a grandson or granddaughter and what his or her name would be. And we didn’t know that we would be welcoming a new daughter into the family. Our client never anticipated that he would be heading into his next chapter of life without his lifelong partner.
For better or worse, Life Happens!
We like to think that we have the crystal ball and can control the future or certain daily, weekly, or monthly outcomes. But we don’t! The best we can do is plan, prepare and adjust to what life brings us to both mitigate the impacts and prepare ourselves for the curve balls.
FOCUS is our mantra for 2023!
So, what is focus? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s a point of concentration: directed attention: emphasis.
Why is focus important? It is the gateway to all thinking: perception, memory, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Without good focus, all aspects of your ability to think will suffer. If you can’t focus effectively, you can’t think effectively. As Tony Robbins says, “Energy flows where the attention goes.” Zig Ziglar also speaks to the importance of focus: “When you focus on problems, you will have more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you will have more opportunities.”
As a business owner, wife, mother, and now grandmother, there are many things that vie for my attention. Distractions are always knocking on my door. It’s my decision whether I choose to focus or be distracted.
You’ve all heard gimmicks on how to be more productive, how to free up 10 hours a day of your time, etc. The reality of all of this is that it’s a choice. Most people focus on being busy instead of being productive. As a business owner or employee, you can likely identify - in yourself or others around you - that the ability to be busy far outweighs actual productivity. I can also bet that this is often used as an excuse as to why other more important things (“focused things”) aren’t getting done or the attention they need.
Let me share a story of a business owner who never had time to focus on planning for the future of his business. He was too busy handling the day-to-day activities and trying to be all things to all people. If a customer had a request, he would adjust the company’s product/service to accommodate the need. Eventually, the ability to scale the business became impossible. Everything was a “one off”, there were no systems and processes (at least none that were being followed), pricing was arbitrary, and quality and service became a significant issue. They were losing money because the business lacked focus!
This same business owner began to realize that he was the problem. He hadn’t set a vision for success. He hadn’t focused in on their core business model. The company needed to focus and simplify by identifying their target customers, the value they were providing to those target customers, and the resources, systems and processes they needed to deliver. Once this “focus” and strategy were developed, it was a game changer for the business. They fired non-fit clients, raised their prices, and were achieving bottom line profitability of over 20% - and they were growing!
When you are focused, no one can stop you from achieving success. Consistency is key! Most business owners try new ideas and strategies, but they fail to stay consistent. It becomes their roadblock.
Change is constant! Change is unpredictable! When your focus is aligned with your actions, it will produce great results.
Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) is the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC
Our firm is focused on providing business owners and their businesses with strategic planning, exit planning, financial expertise, and organizational improvement. We use a holistic approach within all of our services by aligning leadership with business strategy and outcomes.
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