Jerry Mills in his book, Avoiding The Danger Zone, tells how Gordon Segal, the founder and CEO of Crate and Barrel made the following statement that was documented in
“Getting distracted is the biggest problem entrepreneur’s face” (INC. Magazine, July 2007, 80).
Please let that statement sink in. According to Webster distract means “to draw or direct or divert (as one’s attention) to a different object or in different directions at the same time.” In my work with various entrepreneurs, I totally agree with Mr. Segal. If the CEO is overcome with distractions, the company’s growth has a much greater chance of coming to a screeching halt. More importantly, a downward spiral can result in profits and cash. Distractions are
the result of a lack of focus by the CEO on the strategic areas of the business. These are the areas that allow the CEO to be the visionary, leader, idea generator, and catalyst for future change (Mills, 2007, p.29). In other words, when distracted, the owner is not thinking about the strategic direction of the business, the goals that need to be accomplished, and the action plans necessary to reach the goals. Distractions truly are the biggest problems entrepreneurs face.
The following steps can go a long way in helping the business owner eliminate distractions.
- Think through, create, and put into writing a strategic plan for the business.
- Do whatever it takes to assemble and keep the right people on the team that will help achieve the plan.
- Work with outside experienced professionals (such as a part time CFO or CMO). These trusted business advisors can assist a business owner in creating financial and goal clarity in order to increase cash, profitability, sales and successful exit strategies (Mills, 2007, p.193).
* INC. Magazine, July 2007
* Mills, Jerry L., Avoiding The Danger Zone