What’s the difference between a business that is profitable and a business that is not profitable?
Skills and talent are an important factor but it often comes down to will – drive – determination.
The key to a profitable business is: Focus.
Focus takes practice.
Focus is being consciously aware of what you are giving attention to every business day.
Focus involves thinking logically.
Focus means looking at something and asking yourself: What can I do with that?
Here’s an example of a company that focused on something as simple as a writing instrument and went on to successfully revolutionize what we hold in our hands to write with: the ballpoint pen.
It started with an idea by the co-founder of the Bic Company, Marcel Bich during the 1940s – 1950s. As the story goes, he observed a ballpoint pen being manufactured in Argentina by Biro during the World War II years. He later invested in Swiss technology capable of shaping and cutting metal down to 0.01 millimeter. This precisely focused design and manufacturing process allowed the ink to be free flowing – where previous to this only fountain pens with inkwells were available to write correspondence with. This new design and type of ink neither clogged or leaked. It changed the way people would write in school, at home and in business.
The Bic pen (as it would eventually be named) due to its ergonomic design would change the worldwide marketplace for pens from fountain pens to ballpoint pens. The industrial design of the pen was so unique that it was honored by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and is included in its permanent collection, according to Wikipedia.
When Bich brought the pen to the United States around 1960 what made the pen famous, in addition to its design, was its advertising slogan: Writes the first time, every time — and its affordable price of 29 cents. Since then millions and millions and millions of Bic pens have been sold in the United States and around the world.
How many times have you picked up a Bic pen to write with?
Now that you know the story behind the Bic pen, think about the intense focus put into its design, manufacturing and marketing in order to gain such worldwide classic status – and ultimately, company profits for its founders. Bich was inspired, according to Wikipedia, by the hexagonal shape of an old fashioned wooden pencil. He used plastic for its cost saving benefits, durability and grip to ease handwriting. With the pen’s clear plastic barrel, the user always knows how much ink remains in the pen. No surprises of running out of ink when in the middle of focusing on the written word!
If you visit the Bic company website there is a monitor at the top of every page displaying how many Bic products have been sold while on the website. The numbers initially start in the thousands and move rapidly. The Bic company continues to innovate by updating the classic Bic pen by offering a version that writes on computer screens.
The next time you pick up a Bic pen think about how a simple, focused idea with a focused business plan turned into a long standing, profitable company.
Now focus on your business.
- How much and how often do you think about your business?
- Are you laser focused on the products or services offered?
- Are you laser focused on the business issues of the day?
- Do other people take notice of your business in a favorable way?
Remember: You are unique. Your business is unique. You have a way of doing things at your business that nobody else does.
- Have you delivered the message to your customers?
- Have you delivered the message to co-workers?
- Or are you too focused on putting out “company fires” rather than focusing on more success and more profits?
Focus is the answer.
The more you focus, the more you become aware of when you are not focusing throughout your business day.
Want to be more focused?
Want to lead a more successful, more profitable company?
Start by setting aside quiet time for yourself every day. 10 minutes. 30 minutes. But put it on your calendar. Give yourself no excuses as to why you don’t have the time to spare. It’s about getting and maintaining laser sharp focus on your business. Don’t look at emails. Don’t look at your smartphone. Just sit there with a blank piece of paper (and maybe a Bic pen for inspiration). Let the ideas flow and come into focus as to how you can become more successful and more profitable.
To your success!