Focus Issues

While I’m not generally a fan of his work for many reasons, I’ll be happy to explain in other posts, I am a VERY big fan of the topic of a book that Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup fame) wrote. It’s called “The Power of Focus.

Individuals, businesses, and even countries always seem to struggle with the issues of focus. Here’s an example. Since my daughter, Avalon, arrived, I’ve been bitten by the photography bug. I’ve probably read at least twenty books on the subject in the past three months. In the past three months I’ve gone from not really understanding f-stops and aperture, to having a distinct understanding behind the photography triangle and how it all works. I’m like that. When I want to learn a new skill, I don’t just jump in haphazardly; I’ll devour everything I can find about the subject.

I’ve learned that lenses (expensive lenses) can suffer from serious focus issues. For example, I’ve learned that lenses can front and back focus. You might think you’re focusing on the eyes, but the lens might actually be focusing on the forehead. I’ve learned about focus shift. And I’ve learned that lenses can suffer from chromatic aberration, sharpness issues, light fall-off and so much more… the list goes on and on.

Wow – like with anything else, the closer you try to get it perfect, the harder it gets. The closer you try to get a perfect focus in photograph, the harder it is.

When I first got into photography, I assumed if I bought a camera and a lens, off I would go. Of course, with all these issues and more and you could end up with a life full of blurry memories and years later blame your shaky hands.

Or, you could end up with shots that are pretty great. They’re not going to win any awards, but they’ll be clear enough to bring a smile to your face.

How does this apply to businesses?

When a business decides to jump on the social media wagon, there are focus issues. There is too much promotion, and not enough social interaction. The same thing happens when a business decides to build a website. There can be focus issues. Too much time is spent on clever behind-the-scenes SEO and not enough time spent on crafting the message you want to portray to your customers.

Whether it’s websites or cameras, you can spend forever searching for perfection. But to butcher the military motto: “A good plan executed now is infinitely better than the perfect plan executed two weeks late.” Just go out and shoot.

Focus issues and chromatic aberration are not for the fellow shooting pictures of his newborn daughter. These are the issues the photographer at the New York Times needs to be concerned with, not you and me.

Google Canada recently announced 50% of businesses in Canada don’t even have a website. That seems absurd. This boggles my mind actually. I’ll take a website with a bit of missed focus, that actually exists, over a well thought out plan that never happens. We can learn to adjust for the kinks along the way, and we’ll compensate the minor focus issues when needed.

My friend Shawn talks a lot about the trap of the “Wild Blue Yonder” when it comes to business planning. It is really easy to spend a lot of time worrying about what MIGHT happen, or what CAN happen when you’re massively successful. But that doesn’t help you NOW, when it’s time to launch.

Now, you just get something out there. You need to take the first step. And if it’s a bit blurry, that’s okay, You can worry about correcting it later. The most important thing is to put it out there. Its 2011 folks. Most people aren’t using the three-pound phonebook to find out about your business these days.