Distractions are hard to avoid as we work on our business and many of them essentially warrant our immediate attention (aka Fire Fighting). However, these distractions can also divert our attention from the most important task of taking a look at the bigger picture of building the actual business.
One good case of distractions getting in the way of building a business happened to Nicole McCullough and Julia Cordray, the developers of the social networking app Peeple. When they announced their up and coming business, which they described as “Yelp for people,” they quickly drew criticism over the possibility of their platform being used as a tool for bullying. Peeple allowed users rate other people in the same way foodies reviewed restaurants.
Peeple was the topic of many news reports and netizens took to social networks expressing their disdain over the app. Despite this, McCullough and Cordray pushed on with development and when Peeple was finally released, it only managed a score of 1.5 out of 5 from the Apple store. In fact, some review publications described the final product as boring. In the end, the business did not quite take-off despite all the attention their app received prior to its launch.
The social backlash that their app received online, was a distraction that forced McCullough and Cordray to repeatedly go out in public to reassure everyone that their app was going to promote positivity, contrary to many reports. The time they used fighting off negative publicity probably would have been better used for improving the actual product.
Cases of distractions virtually destroying businesses such as the one stated above is not that uncommon and even the smallest distraction can have an amazingly profound effect. Business owners can easily find themselves trying to appease their target market that they forget that some of the short-term solutions that they employ in order to quell current issues can also have a long-term negative effect.
By now, you have probably just realised how often distractions have kept you from building your business. These tiny problems have probably forced you to look at your day to day operations instead of effectively planning for the future.
So, what do we need to do in order to prevent distractions from getting in the way of the success of our business? I encourage you to take some time to think about this. I will put that into the next blog post.