Focus, Focus, Focus Your Business
Unfortunately more often than not we see businesses that not only aren't able to focus on their profitable core, but they often aren't even able to articulate what their profitable core is.
Fortunately this is fixable.
It's easy to get distracted by glittery opportunity after opportunity that adds revenue to the top line but distracts from the company's ability to grow its profitable core. Many business owners fall into the trap of thinking that they are bringing X in profit to their company by chasing a peripheral opportunity when in reality they may be losing 2X in profit because their most profitable core is eroding.
But don't take it from us. These quotes from turnaround expert Gary Sutton in his book The Six-Month Fix pretty bluntly hammer the point home:
The last, and most toxic comment you'll hear in most troubled businesses is silence. That will be the response you'll here when you ask each executive to fill in the blank for this sentence. Ours is the only product that _______ (put a meaningful buyer benefit in here). Not knowing what you're best at, or can be best at, is death. The dumbest words in business are either "full product line," "no job too big or small," or "one-stop shopping." That proves the company is exceptional at nothing. Since it does more than anybody else, is does it all worse. And since it does more, it has more overhead. The life span for companies with poor service and high overhead is best measured by a stopwatch.
I can think of a few exceptions to Mr. Sutton's second quote here, but it is only a very few.