Being a business owner is tough. We need to keep many plates spinning and are expected to have a never-ending amount of good energy. Ultimately, I see your goal as an owner is to ensure the survival of your business.
Therefore, I believe owners must be able to resist the gravitational pull of spending too much time with the non-essential many, instead of focusing on the essential few. That's why it is vital to have a bird's eye view. Only with it, you will be able to see things clearly and set a good direction for your business which others can understand, and follow.
Further, I believe your goal as a business owner is not to be the one working the most. Be an excellent delegator. Only so you will have enough time to focus on the essential few!
I encourage the owners I advise to see themselves as system architects, creating self-sufficient, self-correcting organizations that automatically keep re-focusing themselves on the number one goal: Satisfy the customer. Don't play an instrument yourself. Rather, be a conductor hearing the whole symphony, and who can quickly spot those not 'in sync'.
During my strategy sessions, I start by going through the following chart. Half-way through, we typically discover areas that got either forgotten or neglected.
Most companies operate in overcrowded 'red ponds'. Those are markets where the fight between competitors has already become vicious.
The water has already turned red, literally. Margins get squeezed. Buyers find an abundance of suppliers.
Once this happens, the cruel process of 'commoditization' begins.
From here on forward, there is no more turning back. Sales and profits start to shrink.
I have been there and experienced first hand how it feels to operate in a red pond. It's not a nice place to be in.
Basically put, I believe it's then pointless to keep trying.
The goal should not be to beat the competition but to move on and fish somewhere else.
In other words, we need to try and jump out of our cruel red pond, with the goal to find and capture a new one.
When working as a business advisor in Shanghai, my aim is to help the business owners I advise and consult to identify and discover those bold, market-creating, strategic moves required to capture such beautiful new 'blue ponds'.