Last Sunday me, and my sister with our respective families went to a very famous Choley Bhature shop in Paharganj. It’s called Sita Ram Diwan Chand, quite old and famous for its paneer filled bhature and nice spicy choley.
As is typically available with any choley bhature shop, generally you find curd, lassi and some cold drinks always available. We entered the shop and I asked the owner to give me 6 plates of choley bhature also casually requested for few glasses of lassi, expecting that he will ask – Sweet or Salted. But to my utter surprise, the owner who wouldn’t be more than a 30 years old boy simply ignored and did not bother to even answer the question.
Because the place was so crowded, I did not get a chance to even ask him again and I took my coupons to proceed to the counter to pick up my share of choley bhature.
I narrated this incidence to my family members with a sense of embarrassment that a young guy did not even bother to answer my simple question. While we were eating and discussing this incidence, I realized that perhaps he had a reason for not answering it, albeit his arrogance should not be excused.
This shop has been selling choley bhature for more than 40 years and there is no doubt there’s the best choley bhature shop in Delhi. People throng that place like honey bees and despite being so old and popular, there is no place to sit. People stand and eat. But this might be there intentional business strategy.
I thought the owners might have a reason to not offer anything other than chole bhature. That’s because offering any other item such as lassi or sweets etc will not add any value to their core product, i.e., choley bhature, rather it might reduce their sales. If by offering lassi or sweets people spend more time on the tables, then their overall sales might get lower. That’s because they have limited space and turnaround time at each table is quite fast. People come, have their share of choley bhature and because there is no place to sit and its not air-conditioned, no one wants to spend too much time. By offering lassi etc, people may want to spend more time just whiling away with their glasses. That might mean loss of core business, something that no businessman would want.
I am a firm believer that whatever you are doing, you should do it so well that no one else could do it better than you. Though, I have also faltered myself in this vision, I still try to keep at it.
I want to share a personal experience with you on how focusing on one thing is always better than doing more. This was the time when I had quit PwC and joined as a Partner in our firm IBA. Along with starting the indirect tax practice at IBA, I also had in my mind to start a training company for young chartered accountants living in Tier-II towns like Jaipur, Chandigarh, Lucknow etc and make them more employable. Me, and my partners believed that employability of chartered accountants at fresher level was a big challenge and we all thought of starting a new venture – “Promaynov”. The term Promaynov was derived from the initial letters of “Professionals of May and November”, indicating chartered accountants.
We started this venture along with running our existing consulting firm. Though, all three of us were involved, I was spending more time in its operations and management. Promaynov as a concept picked up, though it took some time as it happens with any new venture. We did trainings in Jaipur and Chandigarh and Delhi and placed more than hundred students across BIG4s including EY, PwC, Grant Thornton, Genpact etc. Promaynov over a period of time became synonymous with training and job placements.
The venture was slowly picking up, though we were not making any money rather making lot of investment, both cash and time. Åt times we also panicked because of lack of sufficient funds and took some wrong decisions in haste. I realized that managing both Promaynov and IBA was getting difficult and it was like putting your legs in two boats and trying to row both of them simultaneously. Obviously, the speed and quality of ride had to suffer.
I could realize that the indirect tax practice though was growing, could have been better had I spent more time on it. Similarly, it was the fate with Promaynov. And because we were desperate to make it work we were trying to do too many things without any clear indication of how it will work.
Finally, one fine day all of us sat down and decided that in the larger interest of the organization we should shut down Promaynov so that we can focus on “OUR CORE” business of consulting. That was the day we agreed not to spend any more time and money on it. And what a decision it was.
After shutting down Promaynov all three of us focused completely on the consulting business and made some real good progress. Though the consulting firm did grow while we were managing both, but the kind of progress we made while focusing on one venture wouldn’t have been possible had we been managing the both. The firm grew multifold, we added a lot of new clients, opened new offices and hired a lot of qualified professionals.
This is the power of focus on “YOUR CORE” and the beauty of picking up one thing at a time and doing it very well. As a professional it is important that we pick up few things, preferably one and master it. Though one would be tempted to do many things at a time but, in my experience of reading the lives of many top and elite performers, it is evident that focusing on one activity or job will give much better results that handling more.
If you are a student, don’t try and deviate your focus on too many things. Your CORE is studying and you should only do that. Anything else that majorly deviates you shouldn’t be allowed to enter your life. This world is full of distractions and you will find many exciting things to do, but by focusing on your Core you will be a long-term winner. A winner, that everyone will remember.
If you are a professional, try not to do too many things, try not to experiment with your career trying to work in too many areas, try not to change too many jobs, try not to pick up different areas of expertise. Try and spend time on one or two key areas of expertise and do them well. But do give some time to yourself to prove. Nothing happens overnight.
This is such a good lesson to learn and it reminds of a quote by Steve Jobs:
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do”
Wishing all of you green lights and good luck…