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The Most Important Thing: Focus

The Most Important Thing: Focus

Jeremy Chen Jeremy Chen
Co-founder and Director of Marketing at Good Things – a specialist Branded Merchandise and Clothing business with offices in Melbourne and Sydney.

One of the biggest things I’m learning in business is the importance of Focus. When we first started out, I’d tell friends that our business model is great because literally everyone could potentially be a customer.

We had clients ranging from local footy teams through to banks and automotive giants. Perfect right?

We thought so, until after a while we realised being everything to everyone meant that we were a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Companies soon began to approach us a bit like someone would go window shopping – we weren’t particular good at anything and had just a basic knowledge on a wide range of products. Not exactly who you’d come to if you wanted a good degree of specialty knowledge and your emphasis was on quality and reliability – two of our main values today.

As a result we began to attract the type of customers that you’d prefer not to, our workload increased while customer service levels went down as we were trying to do everything. Since then we’ve wisened up a bit (just a little) and really started to focus on particular markets and products.

For example our Good Things Education team specialises in designing products that appeal to Schools, Universities and Alumni and that means we can definitively say we are the Experts in all things Education related in Australia.

Our Custom Made team focus on really engaging creative ‘ground up’ design that is really cutting edge for Brand Activation, GWP and retail promotions. As a result we’ve found we are attracting our target market as we have naturally become better at what we do and can inspire the confidence to win these sort of clients.

This focus has resulted in a win-win situation for us and our clients – they know exactly what they’re getting is something we focus vast amounts of effort on and have plenty of experience designing and manufacturing. Our lives are that much better and less stressful knowing that what we deliver is exactly what we promise. Oh, and we still do the occassional footy team, but only if it falls within our focus product range!

Below is one of my favourite parables about focus – how can you be more focused in what you do?

An old man, a boy and a donkey were going to town. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked. As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding. The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some people that remarked: “What a shame, he makes that little boy walk.” They then decided they both would walk!

Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.

Now they passed some people that shamed them by saying how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey. The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey. As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.

The moral of the story? In Marketing, if you try to please everyone, you might as well… Kiss your ass good-bye.