Our world has changed. With the internet and technology, we increasingly have more tools to build our ideas into products in a much easier fashion. However, we are also constantly stimulated by all kinds of distractions whether it’s social media, constant mobile notifications, daily idea waves, and the surge of materialism around us.
To grow any value from anything you start, you need to first make a decision to plant the seed and then, water it daily learning about the fine details every day until that tiny seed becomes a full-grown tree that grows by itself giving you tasty fruits.
For any company to succeed, laser focus for a rather long period of time is essential. Starting a company is like preparing yourself for a marathon. That’s probably because Google hires Olympic athletes because if you have such focus then you can learn anything, it’s a display of character and grit.
Like any talent, keeping laser-focused is a skill that not many people have. Talent is just a tiny part of success. 90% of success is hard work and hard work is about keeping focused on one main goal.
As Thomas Jefferson says: I am a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
However, we shouldn’t confuse hard work with keeping focused. When you work hard, that doesn’t mean you are productive and it definitely doesn’t mean you are getting closer to achieving your goal each day.
Focus is about defining your goal, action plan and executing the plan every day checking your performance along the way. This is what gains the discipline to the process.
The Best Ways to Build Focus for Your Startup
OKR is the Best Productivity Concept for Companies Big and Small.
Objectives and Key Results are used in major companies such as Google, Spotify, Airbnb, and Linkedin. Essentially, each team member of the company including the CEO has OKRs and they challenge themselves to realize compelling goals in a certain period of time. Everyone’s OKRs are open to everyone else in the company and they basically work to realize those goals, which keeps them extremely focused.
OKRs also create the sense of a startup even if the companies have thousands of employees since every individual or a small team of people has their objectives under the umbrella of the major company goals.
Build a Culture of Common Goal.
One of the most important elements of success for a startup is undoubtedly the culture. Building a focused culture starts with the leadership and the core team members of the company. The culture of the leadership along with their ideals and the mission they reflect on the company plants the seed for the entire company culture.
The company needs to hire people who deeply believe in the mission of the company and the company needs to make them at peace that the company is made of the team and the sum of the people create the company. Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, used to be present for the first 500 employees of the company and asked the candidates the same question: If you have 1 year to live, would you work for Airbnb? He wanted to make sure that each employee is passionate about achieving the goal of creating a worldwide community of hosts and guests. This extreme focus on culture changed the landscape of travel and made it possible for millions of people to travel around the world.
If the team members are also given the right to make changes and if their voices are heard for a company changing steps, then, they will feel like an important piece of the company. Thinking of the assembly line of Tesla, Elon Musk believes that each employee has a certain focus and they would know the process they work on more than anyone else, which gives an incredible opportunity for process innovation and the whole sum thousands of small improvements create the best production process in the world.
At the same time, if they are given a stake in the company or rewarded with the success of the company, then they will not see themselves as employees, but entrepreneurs working for a big cause that shares the same values.
Build an Action Plan that Drives Your Growth.
I have always believed in action plans rather than business plans. Clearly, you need to know and measure the feasibility of your upcoming business and create a rough plan to how you reach your end goal, but in today’s world so many things are changing so fast that spending months to build a business plan can be spent much more productively by creating a simple SWOT analysis and then, use design thinking to create the ideal experience and how you will differentiate yourself from the competitors and for your customers.
By focusing on the action plan, rather than the business plan, you can simply build a working prototype and see the feedback of your customers rather than working on assumptions and theory.
If you have a web service or software to market, then, you can simply build a landing page and try different versions with different versions of your product and run the landing page to reach a limited number of people to see their feedback.
Most of the time, the product is not what you think, but it is what customers really need or love and they may be so different from what you think. You can use Wix or Webflow to create a landing page so that you can market your product or service before putting a great amount of time to actually launch it.
If you have a physical product, then, you may simply use a 3-D printer to create a prototype and receive feedback from your team members, customers and make measurements to see if the product is worth your time and that you are not wasting your valuable time. You can use such services as Shapeways to 3-D print your prototype.
By focusing on creating a prototype rather than a final product, you save a lot of time and receive invaluable feedback from users for the future of your company.
Less Meeting and More Independence.
Less is More. It’s best if you limit the number of meetings and the structure of the meeting should be well organized. Companies make so many meetings and there are mostly no clear goals. Brainstorming is important, however, without clear guidance, it can get chaotic and many meetings end without any results.
Rather than organizing more than a few meetings a week, it’s best to use the project management tools such as Slack, Basecamp, or Clickup to stay connected and updated in the best way possible while focusing on your goals and getting things done to reach the end goal of your OKR.
Meditation Keeps You Focused for the End Goal.
Many top CEOs meditate daily and I believe that plays a great role in their focus and success. Steve Jobs lived in India for 6 months meditating. You can almost see the meditation in Apple products, laser focus in products and details. The products are beautiful because there is an incredible focus on the details.
The leadership of a company would gain the company an incredible value if they meditate daily. By meditation, the mind can focus on one single goal more easily and it doesn’t get disturbed by other distractions. Bill Gates, Ray Dalio, Marc Benioff, and Arianna Huffington are just a few prominent names who meditate regularly.
Launching a startup is risky and it takes a lot of work to create the product people need or love. You need to create a great product with a great team who work for the same goal day and night possibly for a few years or more.
It starts with how focused you can stay for the end goal you envision.
Thank you for reading.
How do you keep your focus on your work and beyond? What do you think are the best ways to create the focus of a team of people while building a company? Let me know what you think.