Shotgun or Rifle approach? It all depends upon your objective

In growing a small business, I learn something new every day.  One of the toughest things I have had to learn over and over is that in order to grow the business I need to “get out of the kitchen” and let others bake the cakes.  I learned this metaphor well when I read the book “The E-myth revisited” a few years ago.  Most entrepreneurs do many things well and as a result then have a challenge in giving up control as their business grows.  This continues to be a painful process for yours truly.

As an entrepreneur I started my business with somewhat of a “shotgun” approach, working in a wide variety of markets doing whatever it took to grow the business and keep food on the table.  God has continued to bless us well and I tell people things are fine because I still have the same wife, the same home and most of the same friends after being on the entrepreneurial journey for almost 10 years now.  For all of these things I am immensely grateful.

As I continue to grow the business, I see more and more to take more of a “rifle approach” and focus in on doing a few things well versus trying to do everything well.  This applies to me as a leader as well as the focus of the business.  We have several core markets we address and our span has grown a little since the time we first started 9 years ago.  We have also abandoned some markets upon realizing that we didn’t have the right expertise to be the best, or one of the best, in those markets.  My good friend, Marc Fortune, always shares with me that there are “riches in niches” and I try to keep this in mind as we move ahead.

Rifles and shotguns are both weapons, but their intent is very different.  A shotgun is great when you want to spray a number of projectiles over a wide area.  A rifle is better when you want to address one singular target with minimal disruption to the surroundings.  As I continue this journey along the entrepreneurial road, I hope to take more of the rifle approach and concentrate our efforts on a few key areas versus trying to spread our firm too thin.

As an entrepreneur, do you see the same issue in your business?