Many passionate entrepreneurs fight to add more features into their new products and services, assuming that more function will make the solution more appealing to more customers. In reality, more features will more likely make the product confusing and less usable to all. Focus is the art of limiting your scope to the key function that really matters for the majority of customers.
YouTube did it with videos, Instagram did it with photos and Amazon did it with books. Many of the business plans I have seen as an investor, like trying to integrate all the social media features of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn into a new platform, don't do it. Of course, once you have a brand and more resources, it can pay to expand your book selling to a full e-commerce site.
In fact, there are a host of reasons why a non-focused startup business is more likely to struggle for survival, lose market and investor attention, and miss out on the opportunity to capitalize on their scope:
At the same time, focusing on the wrong things is equally destructive and unproductive. In some environments product focus is not the most important element. Perhaps the focus should be on a single distribution channel, better customer service, or a simplified pricing structure. In all cases, hiring the best people is likely more important than adding a few features to your solution.
Thus the first and top focus for every entrepreneur should be on strategy. The strategy needs to be simple, written down and communicated regularly to the entire team. A simple test is to see if you can quickly name your top three priorities, and if every team member is able to respond quickly with the same three. Too many strategy elements generate lots of work, but few results.
The final focus should be on emphasizing strengths and measuring success, rather than on solving the crisis of the moment and eliminating weaknesses. Only by focusing on the right elements of market, product, business, and people, can you really hope to win. Bigger is not necessarily better. Be the best in your chosen niche and you can change the world.