I chuckled when I recently found out that Japan’s Panasonic has one far flung business division that actually imports canned tomatoes from Italy. Or the fact that Sony operates a restaurant and an advertising agency.

It turns out that these are old legacy business lines  started by who knows types with no leadership will at these firms to bother closing them down!

The days of doing all kinds of things disappeared long back – I guess this economic nightmare will reinforce the need to focus on just one or probably two things and do them well.

The cost of learning, supporting and maintaining business functions that is not core is always wasteful and sometimes disruptive to businesses.

As a digital entrepreneur, I often toss this question to my team and co-founders – What’s our real business? Aren’t we great at digital communication? Then why bother about becoming masters at technology? Or running CRM? Its a debate that’s been raging forever with no clear winners.

It’s a very fine line to delineate the essential business from the non essential and then decide who does what. The biggest success story is the way Bharti contracted out technology to IBM and focused on marketing ( Many people don’t know that IBM runs Bharti’s entire back end and get penalized for each call drop etc)

Look into your business or your personal specialisation. Figure out what’s your real mastery. Then stop doing the rest. And if you are a food importer, call Panasonic.

*******

Originally posted on February 15, 2009 on rodinhood.com

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