Understand what shiny object syndrome is and what it looks like in the business world
Discover practical steps to take and resources to connect with to help you stay on track and start achieving your goals
As a business owner, being (and staying) focused is an ideal rather than a reality. So, if you struggle with maintaining focus, you can find comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Join us as we explore the topic of overcoming shiny object syndrome so you can stay on track with your business goals.
Sustained Focus vs. Shiny Object Syndrome
With over 20 years’ experience in digital marketing, we can confirm that only a handful of small business owners tend to have a clear focus when they launch their company — that continues through the years as they undistractedly carry out their goals and hit their targets. Instead, most of our clients fall into the “start out with clarity and energy but eventually lose focus and drive” camp.
We like to refer to this phenomenon as shiny object syndrome, or “SOS”. Business leaders with SOS are prone to distractibility, as their attention gets pulled in a million different directions daily. Every concern has its turn in the spotlight — but it’s only a brief shining moment before some other issue takes the stage.
This lack of consistent focus has real consequences for small businesses. Growth is often slow. When goals aren’t met, the owners become frustrated. Feeling like they’re falling behind in the marketplace can lead to reactive decision making. Rather than focusing on a long-term strategy, choices are made based on what a competitor is doing, industry buzzwords, or whatever bright and shiny solution happens to capture the owner’s attention at that moment. It’s an impulsive process that easily becomes a business behavior, as one rapidly-made bad decision leads to another.
How to Know if You Have Small Business SOS
If you suspect you have small business shiny object syndrome, but aren’t 100% sure, we recommend these two action steps.
1. Keep a 24-Hour Activity Log.
Write down all the issues that capture your attention over the course of a day. (This can be an eye-opening exercise!)
2. Talk with One of Your Trusted Advisors.
Discuss the goals you have for your company, and the progress you’ve made toward them. If things haven’t gone as you would have liked, is an identifiable lack of focus part of the reason why?
Seek Out Some Extra Support
When you have small business SOS, it helps to have an additional pair of hands. Here are two resources we recommend plugging into.
1. Business Coach
A business mentor or coach will help you develop a clear vision for you company. And they’ll share techniques for consistently focusing your efforts in a way that will allow organizational goals to be achieved. Non-profit small business development organizations like SCORE can be a valuable resource.
2. Vendors and Agencies
Reach out to the professionals you’re already working with. Vendors and agencies can help you stay on track if you’re willing to let them remind you of what your stated priorities and goals are. These reminders can slow down the decision-making process enough to ensure that you’re clear the choices you’re making are ones that move your company in the direction you want to go.
Now Is the Perfect Time for a Change
It’s never too late to start proactively managing your shiny object syndrome tendencies. Even if you’ve been in business for many years, you can make the organizational changes that will result in improved performance. If you notice patterns of distraction with your business and are feeling frustrated by unmet goals, we encourage you to reach out to a trusted marketing agency like Technology Therapy® Group to help you develop better habits and learn how to stay on course despite the myriad distractions that come with small business life. And make sure to check out these on-demand training sessions that will help you stay on-track and organized.