Last week one of the first tweets I came across, as I started my day, was a re-tweet by @CharlieCurve — a poetical summary of Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) earlier tweet.

“Stop worrying about who’s President, what the market did and FOCUS on your business & brand.”

Yep, focus – say it again – FOCUS is the one thing you need to succeed as an entrepreneur. If you thought you needed it before, the recession has made it a burning need as the economy totters, markets tumble and Cassandras abound. You’d think it would be easy to keep this one word in mind and hence stay focused.

Entire books have been written on the subject – most notably the eponymously titled one by Al Ries. The history of business is littered with not merely individuals or departments but entire companies losing focus. So this is harder than it appears.

It’s easy to understand why we lose focus, particularly in entrepreneurial setups. The passion and dynamism of being entrepreneurial is the first cause for the loss of focus. There’s always some new problems to be solved, a new customer to be served or more cash to be brought in. This makes it hard to say NO to a lot of things.  So one YES at at a time, you get another ball in the air, and soon there’s no time to do things as well as they need to be done. Worse yet, you keep falling behind and losing ground.

Staying focused requires us to master just one word and that is “No” Doesn’t have to be NO, screamed at the top of your voice, or even a “Hell no!” hissed out the corner of your mouth. Just a plain and polite no would suffice. Everything else that lead you to be an entrepreneur in the first place will kick in, once you focus. So take Gary’s advice and quit worrying about anything other than staying focused on your business goals!

For the two of you who may have not heard of Gary Vaynerchuk – here’s a quick blurb. Gary, who by age 30 had grown his family’s small wine business into a $50M dollar business, knows a thing or two about building successful businesses. And that was before before he started “Wine Library TV” that has nearly 100,000 daily viewers.  Gary has become a much sought after speaker on the matter of personal branding — patience and passion, he exhorts are critical elements to building your brand and business. But that’s matter for a whole another post.