On Focus & Boiling An Ocean

Focus is something you learn, not something you’re born with.

It’s why most projects start out with huge, grandiose plans. Why after 6 months of hard work we’ve crammed every single feature we can think of into our products or apps. And it’s why our marketing and community efforts fall on deaf ears.

When we try to please everyone, we end up pleasing no one.

But telling the world our product or service is only for a really specific group of people is gut wrenching. A little voice inside tells us we’re ignoring a huge potentail part of the market, that failure is imminent.

But nothing could be further from the truth. It’s simply not possible to please everyone even if we wanted to.

Instead we have to focus and build simpler products and experiences that do less. We need to find and understand a single customer type first. And we should solve their single most painful problem first. We need to resist doing too much.

This is even harder when we fail. we assume it’s because we don’t have the right feature set, or our product is too expensive, or a 100 other tiny reasons. It could be any one of these things, but it’s likely not.

Too often though, it’s that we’re trying to boil an ocean and appeal to anyone with a pulse. We’ve simply lost our focus.

How can potential customers rally behind something they can’t relate to? The gloves have to fit if we’re going to make a sale.

Remember: convincing 1 person to use our product and pay for it is a whole lot easier than convincing a 100 people (all with different needs) to do the same.

Don’t make this mistake.