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Schwerpunkt: Be at the point of action not wandering in the wilderness


It’s easy to forget what the most important thing in your business is.

I remember having a conversation with a client about 6 months ago. They’ve had tremendous growth in their business and had to build an infrastructure on the back-end to support it, you know, admin people, processes, that kind of thing. But, because they had been pushing on marketing and marketing and marketing so hard, the business was creaking at the seams.

Everything was going along great. Then, as people come in to start administering things, the owners’ ideas of where the business was going were drawn back firmly and daily into the administration of things. And yes, new people come on who needed to be supported. There were new processes and, new ways of handling things needed to be set up. But after a period of time, that is where the focus of the business remained.

I love reading about modern history. In the battles that the Germans engaged in to unify their country after Napoleon, they worked hard to encourage their leaders to be at a focal point of where the action was happening. This imaginary place on the battlefield was called the Schwerpunkt. It literally means the focal point.

The Schwerpunkt being where the commander should be, at that point in time. It’s where the main concentration of effort should be. It’s never fixed to one place, but it’s fixed to what’s the most important decisive thing right now. It may shift and, it may change at any moment. When that happens, the commander should be ready to move with it.

My question to my client was, “So where should your efforts focused right now?” In focusing more on administration? Or should it be on further growing the business? And his answer was straight and direct, “Oh, I need to be doing more marketing, but there just seems to be so much that they need me to do.”

I told him it’s in the nature of administrators to want to have things perfect to administrate. That’s their job and that’s their role.

But, business is never simple nor elegant. It doesn’t unfold like some beautiful origami swan, but more like a violent explosion, hurling pieces everywhere.

He’s taken his eye off on the Schwerpunkt in his business. Instead of focusing on what was going to make the business stronger, he was purely looking at what they needed to perfect. The perfection of something that was not going to add much more value. Remember what you focus on is what you get.

So, I guess my big question for you right now is “What is your Schwerpunkt?”

What is your focal point? What is the place that you should be standing and handling directly right now? Is it cash flow and debtors? Is it new leads? Is it ensuring that your sales people are converting? Is it ensuring that your administration is fixed?

Here is a 4 step plan:

Step 1:

Stop and just take the time to think what is the most important thing to move your business forward today? If there’s one area that you could fix that would make all the difference. What would it be?

Step 2:

Write down how many hours you have spent in this area in the last 4 weeks.

Step 3:

Work it out. Is it enough?

Step 4:

Prioritise appropriately

Remember, you need to find your focal point and be at the point of action.

Steve Smit is a business coach with Reality Consulting. He works with business owners who want to increase their take hoe profits and work shorter hours.