Strategy Fundamental: Do One Thing Really Well

Raise your hands now, how many remember that scene in City Slickers? And, just in case you don’t, I found it – only 32 seconds long – on YouTube (click here for YouTube source page):

The grizzled old cowboy (played by Jack Palace) tells the newbie character (Billy Crystal) the secret to life is …

Grizzled cowboy: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean sh*t.

Newbie: That’s great, but, what’s the one thing?

Grizzled cowboy: That’s what you gotta figure out.

Fast forward to startups and small business, and it’s called strategy and strategic focus. It calls up lots of related business buzzwords, like positioning, and differentiation. You can’t do everything well, so you have to do the right things well. And what’s the right thing? That’s what you have to figure out for your business. It’s different for every business. What is it for yours? Can you survive on focusing on that one thing? Can you grow that way? Or is that a failure to diversify? Good questions all, and, like the grizzled old cowboy says, that’s what you have to figure out.

(With a tip of the hat to Sramana Mitra who posted Startup Strategy Roundtable: Do One Thing Really Well last week on Read/Write Web’s startup channel. In that post, she retells the stories of three startups from the latest roundable.)


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