“The biggest problem in business today is that most people are so busy with the variety of things that they run out of time to master one thing.”
Said at the beginning of the last century, hardly a sentence could be as valid for our times. Henry Ford, founder of the “Ford Motor Company”, is one of the best examples of a self-made man. He got his place in history as a talented inventor and brilliant industrial manager, whose activity was one of the most profitable and successful in his time.
Regardless if you are a manager of an SME or a manager of a large company, the issues of focus (i) and time management (ii) strike everyone. Given the relevance of these issues for the everyday life, I decided to dedicate the editorial on the first in June and on the second in July.
In the context of the internationalization of Portuguese companies, CCISP often receives requests from Portuguese companies that offer a very wide range of services, such as distributing – worldwide – products of many completely different economic sectors.
I have never seen a project like this succeed. Who does everything, does nothing! Better to have the opposite strategy: Having the reputation of being the best for a particular product or service. The more you define the area in which your company is specialized, the more likely and quickly the company will be number one. The Swiss like the idea of working with someone who is THE MASTER of his area, even though it might be small. Who manages to convey that image is more likely to succeed in its internationalization.
The time of crisis led some companies to seek new business in new areas. The idea is to diversify to reduce risk: “If one part of my business does not bear fruits, I bet on another”. Of course the crisis forces to have new ideas and openness. But when one decides to enter a new business area, in my view he shall, beyond the prove of his mastery, create a new brand. Otherwise he strongly risks to dilute and thus devaluing the image of the first business that was created over the years. I know many companies which made this error.
After all what is the right thing to do: Diversify or Specialize? I think a good formula is to focus on the business and diversify in investments. As Steve Jobs said: “Focus and Simplicity – that has been one of my mantras.”