Being Ruthlessly Focused: The Key To Entrepreneurship

In the modern world, entrepreneurship is more popular than ever. But ironically, that same world makes it more and more difficult for entrepreneurs to be what I call ruthlessly focused.

One of the toughest jobs any business owner has is getting enough value from their time. There are so many distractions and the pace of life is so quick that things can end up being a blur. As well as being unhealthy for you as an individual, it is also unhealthy for your business.

I am a firm believer that every entrepreneur should work towards fixed goals. Never make the mistake of playing things by ear and seeing how it goes. Have a specific and measurable outcome, which means vague goals such as ‘wanting to grow’ won’t work. Do you want to grow sales or profit margins, and by how much? Or perhaps you want to grow your brand awareness – again, how will you measure this?

I would also advise making your business a specialist in some way, shape or form. Don’t try and be everything to everyone – find your area of expertise and stick to it. Every client or customer I’ve ever spoken to wants to have a conversation with somebody who knows exactly what they are talking about. Being a jack of all trades but master of none will help nobody, and this is particularly important for any businesses about to expand. Whatever you do, ensure you don’t lose your core strength or USP – it is exactly the thing that has got you this far.

The difference between those entrepreneurs that stay focused and those that don’t often comes down to how they are affected by ‘noise’. This is the day to day aspect of the business which often takes up so much time that you are unable to focus on the actual strategy of the business. Being able to step away from this ‘noise’ and give yourself time to think is the only way your business will actually grow.

I am in the office every Saturday from 10am to midday, and have been doing this for 30 years. This for me is the perfect time to actually sit down and review what has happened in the business over the last week and whether we are on course to meet our targets. The actual format, location or timing isn’t important, but you must give yourself the opportunity to think strategically.

The other thing you need to master is delegation. There are plenty of nice to have activities which you as an owner don’t always need to do. It can be emails, it can be admin, or even having to mediate between two workers in a conflict. I am not saying these are unimportant – but in the grand scheme of things, you as a business owner should delegate and concentrate on other areas where you add the most value.

Image: Focus via Shutterstock


James Caan

James Caan CBE is one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs. He made his fortune through the global success of his Recruitment companies, Alexander Mann and Humana International, before founding private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw in 2004. He is best known for joining the panel of the hit BBC show Dragons’ Den, and more recently, The Business Class on CNBC. A passionate supporter of small businesses, James chairs the Government’s Start Up Loans scheme, which provides funding and mentoring to budding entrepreneurs.

About James Caan

James Caan CBE is one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs. He made his fortune through the global success of his Recruitment companies, Alexander Mann and Humana International, before founding private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw in 2004. He is best known for joining the panel of the hit BBC show Dragons’ Den, and more recently, The Business Class on CNBC. A passionate supporter of small businesses, James chairs the Government’s Start Up Loans scheme, which provides funding and mentoring to budding entrepreneurs.