Ask five people for the key to grow your business in 2014 and you are likely to get six different answers. Too often, the advice is just a word or two, without much in the way of specifics that can help you turn that concept into action. The real key to growing your business in 2014 is one word: Focus. Let me explain what I mean, and how you can apply focus in three specific areas that will produce sustained growth and opportunity.

1. Focus Your Message

If you describe your business and include the terms “full service” or “innovative” or other meaningless gibberish – Just stop doing it. You need to make it clear to your potential customers and referral partners under what conditions you are likely to provide amazing help. Nobody wants someone trying to sell them something, but everyone is happy to speak with someone who has a good chance of making an important problem or challenge go away.

Instead of saying “We provide full-service, innovative IT services” (see – I used both gibberish terms), you might say “Clients come to us when they are sick of their systems crashing and adversely impacting the company’s ability to do its core work.” Remember when describing your business to someone, the best elevator pitch has 3 key elements: Entice, Disarm, Discover.

2. Focus On Your Best Pursuits

Top performing companies know that not every opportunity is a good pursuit. Some opportunities might be bad pursuits because you are not likely to win the business. Other opportunities might be bad pursuits because even if you win, you might have wished later that you had lost. Tools like my TRUE Fit tool allow you to assess each opportunity in four key areas to objectively evaluate whether an opportunity is worth pursuing. If you want to try the tool, send an email to [email protected] and we’ll send it to you for free.

One tip is to ask yourself “If I was the client, why would I pick us over every other option?” If you don’t know the answer with detail, then there is a good chance the client does not know, either

3. Focus on Results

It is easy to get caught in the details of execution and delivery and to lose sight of what really matters to your client. Above all, focus on the results they envisioned that justified their investment. Your clients want results. When you deliver those results, that client can become a great referral source. The best referral sounds something like “We were struggling with XYZ. Pat’s team turned things around for us and now we are seeing incredible results. I thought you might appreciate an introduction to Pat.” Notice that the introduction in this case is about how the introduction might benefit the other party, not a favor to “listen to Pat’s pitch about what they are selling.”


The best companies know how to attract the right opportunities with a focused message. They know how to focus on the opportunities they are most likely to win and turn into “good business.” Ultimately, they focus on results that turn customers into raving fans and great referral sources. If you achieve this type of focus, you’ll be sure to see explosive growth in 2014 and beyond.

It’s Your Turn

Where do you plan to focus in 2014? Which word do you think should be the key for 2014?