Law 23 –“Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point. You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another—intensity defeats extensity every time. When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come”.
It is very easy to keep running from pillar to post in the name of entrepreneurship. One day you’re a phone dealer, the next you’re selling DSTV packages alongside building materials. It’s almost as if you’re ready to jump ship once you meet someone or hear of someone making money in a new industry. While this may appear like being flexible and grabbing opportunities as they come up, what it really means is that in the long run, you would have developed no real expertise in anything.
Law 23 teaches against the jack of all trades mentality.
In failing to stop to recognise your strong points, you may lose whatever true talent with which you’re blessed. Of course, your talent may actually be your ability to recognise business opportunities. In which case you should be a consultant!
We have discussed extensively on the importance of a mentor in business, but there is a caveat – what do you ask your mentor for? If you keep going to the mentor with a new money making scheme time and again, it won’t be long before the mentor starts to lose interest in your business. Staying focused and “paying your dues” is one of the true tests of business success, and every budding entrepreneur must be ready to do so.
When the necessary tenacity and staying power is displayed, the market itself will reward you. Your months or years of learning and toiling would stand you in good stead, and help develop your reputation. You become the ‘go to’ person in your chosen field.
Now, this is Lagos. Everything moves in fast forward – blink, and you miss it. Many times, all you have to do is think of an idea, and you can be sure someone else is about to implement it. So how do you stay focused and single-minded in the face of so much competition? Simple: by being even more focused and more single-minded! Push yourself to your limits and beyond, learn all there is to learn about your business and your industry, put yourself out there so you are recognised and known for something; most of all, differentiate yourself from the crowd.
If you can do this, and have a true and supportive mentor, your success is assured. Yes, even in Lagos, and we have several case studies to prove it. If your business plan is well written and articulated by you, your mentor and your professional business consultant, then stick to it as much as possible, deviating only when forced to by technology, or the market, or a change in government or industry policy.
So where does single-mindedness stop and stubbornness start? In truth, it’s a thin line. Which is why you hear people say ‘leaders are stubborn’. Stubbornness is not a virtue in business. It is a major vice. So, be objective. Evaluate your situation from a rational business perspective.
There’s no point developing your expertise in phone booths when the whole world has gone mobile! Yet, if you define your business as “experts in telephony”, you will have more credibility in mobile phones (assuming you’re flexible enough to dump you phone booths) than the newbie trying to sell mobile phones.
Remember, one arrow does not hit two targets. So perfect your skills and aim for the bullseye every time, one bullseye at a time.
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