One of the interesting things that entrepreneurs have to deal with is known as the entrepreneur’s curse. For those of us who are start-up business owners it is extremely easy to lose focus, often times our minds are FILLED with new ideas!
After all, if you started office cleaning service could you also: clean houses, wash windows, clean carpets, start a lawn care service… and the list goes on and on…
Often I think it is built into the entrepreneur’s DNA – we know we should finish what we started, BUT the world is full of so many interesting opportunities! As a result, we often find it difficult to complete some of our most pressing projects and responsibilities.
Author Pat Flynn suggests doing two simple things that help you keep your focus and control the entrepreneur’s curse.
First, when a new idea comes into his head, he writes it down, along with why he thinks it’s a good idea. You might want to jot these things down on a 3 x 5 card, and then set it aside for the time being.
You see, you really can’t afford to take time to work on something new until you have finished what you originally started. No matter how far along you may be on a project, whether 5% or 95%, your project is actually unfinished and can provide no product or service to its intended market.
Second, after you have finished your project (s), then is the time to pull out your 3 x 5 cards, look them over, and try to remember exactly why you were so excited about the possibilities.
Yes, it was a great idea when you first thought of it, but is it just as good an idea now? The answer may be ‘YES’. If that is true this may be the time to devote time, energy, and resources to working on this idea. But if you’re not sure, or the answer is ‘NO’, isn’t it good to know that you did not stop work on a useful project to devote time, energy, and resources to something that may be of lesser or no value?
Author Pamela Slim, in her book, Escape from Cubicle Nation, talks about creating a vision board; a graphic representation of words and images related to your topic of interest. She says if you are a highly visual person, it can be a great way to start your brainstorming process, and to see a picture of your interest in one place.
In order to stay focused, I use an 8.5 x 11 legal pad as my vision board to help me get a project done. At the top of the page I define the project; then, spaced two or three lines apart, I list the various steps necessary to accomplish the project. Then, step-by-step, I work the project until it’s completed.
It IS an effort, I love to go off on ‘rabbit-trails’, but it forces me to stay focused.