There’s a whole array of different stuff to focus on in any given business. Never mind a startup or entrepreneurial venture. Especially, a startup or entrepreneurial venture which involves a high degree of trust and communication between yourself and your patients, or clients, or customers, as the case may be.
Of course, there are big logistical issues to handle. Where will your business be based? Will you purchase your own premises or will you rent? How about using a shared work space? Then there are more nuanced issues that relate to the everyday running of the technical, back-end of the business. How will you store your financial logs and manage tax?
With all of the different elements to consider, you could be forgiven for feeling almost instantly overwhelmed by the situation. And coming to conclude that you’d need a suite of masterclass seminars even to begin to make headway.
There is, however, one simple technique that may help to make all the difference, and that is to apply a strategy of specificity to the various components of your company. Here are some examples of how this might play out, and how it might help.
Specificity in hiring can help to ensure that you avoid trouble with incompatible employees
It might be that your business is going to be, in essence, a solopreneurial venture, in which case you are the only “team member”. And it’s incumbent on you to juggle all of the various tasks required to keep the business afloat.
It may, however, also be the case that you’ll be hiring employees in one capacity or another. And if this is the case, adopting a specificity-oriented mindset with regards to the hiring process can help to prevent any mishaps. It can also prevent confusion, complication, and avoid trouble with incompatible employees down the line.
Many employers like to take a more “open form” approach to dealing with the interview process. They’ll talk with the candidate and try to get a feel for them. Then try to hit a couple of relevant points of interest and then wrap up. There are some benefits to doing things this way. But there’s also the downside that it can lead to significant confusion and uncertainty.
To streamline this process instead, you need to get a sense for what you are looking for, specifically:
- Using interview scorecards can be invaluable here
- Have set questions that you need to ask
- Set qualifications and skills that the candidate has to have.
- Have a rating system with which you can judge how they’ve responded to your questions.
Of course, it should go without saying that apparent personality traits and personality compatibility should factor into the decisions and metrics here.
Specificity in your professional goals can completely change the every-day, on-the-ground realities of your job
In theory, at least, every company can benefit from having goals. Goals that help it to orient itself effectively and productively in the world. And get a sense of the broad direction it should be heading in at any given moment.
Goal setting has been refined down to something of a science in recent times, with S.M.A.R.T. goals being the order of the day. In this formulation, S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound, and refers to a type of goal that is well specified, tracked, and within the realm of possibility.
The idea of S.M.A.R.T. goals has risen in prominence as an antidote to the tendency among many people, when first exploring goal setting, to focus on targets which are essentially likely to be ineffective if not an outright hindrance, due to their vague, overly-ambitious, and poorly formulated nature.
So, for example, a badly formulated goal for a startup business might be “I’m going to be so rich it hurts, and everyone’s going to know I’m the boss”. A S.M.A.R.T. goal, on the other hand, could be something like “By December 10, I will have moved into a new office building in the centre of town, and will have established a regular working relationship with 5 clients.”
Specificity in goal setting yields goals which are actionable, and which can genuinely and effectively be chunked down into sub-components easily, while also being used to provide reliable professional motivation due to their apparent attainability.
Specificity in your analysis of shortcomings and failures yields effective, actionable insights
No matter how honourable your intentions are, and no matter how flawless your business plan seems to be, it is inevitable that, sooner or later in the course of setting up and developing your business, you’re going to be met by shortcomings and failures of one type or another.
This is just a part of the business landscape and — in fact — a part of life. It happens to everyone, from the most, to the least, successful professionals. And a major part of what divides the most and the least successful seems to be the overall approach towards facing up to and resolving these issues.
After each shortcoming and failure that you’re met with, you should perform an in-depth analysis of exactly what wrong. And exactly what you could do next time in order to ensure that things work out better, instead.
The more specific you’re able to be in your analysis, the more likely it is to turn up effective, actionable insights that can help you to salvage something and be more effective in future.
Specificity in marketing can help to drive home your USPs and differentiate you from the crowd
All businesses have to find ways of dealing with the difficult struggle of differentiating themselves from the competition. And of establishing clear and compelling reasons why it’s worth using their services rather than those of a rival.
This process is differentiation is known as establishing your “USPs” or “Unique Selling Propositions”, and it involves a good deal of thought and consideration.
The more specific you’re able to be in this analysis, and in your subsequent marketing, the better able you will be to identify and drive home those USPs, and prevent yourself from becoming just another bland operation based on the same tired slogans.