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Just Say No: Narrow Company's Vision To Boost All Stakeholders

NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The principal of a Nashville tech firm that specializes in front-end development and user experience for enterprise organizations challenged other entrepreneurs to narrow their focus and become great at one thing.

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"Decide what you truly excel at at and start saying 'No' to the rest," said Floyd DePalma of DePalma Studios. "Saying 'No' is difficult at first but it gets easier and it's worth it."

DePalma spoke Tuesday at Techville 2013, the flagship event of the Nashville Technology Council. His talk, "Doing One Thing Well: A Tech Startup's Transformation," walked several hundred attendees through the decision he made last year to shut down a successful 3-year-old internet marketing agency.

"As a new company we said "Yes" to a lot of opportunities. We had approximately 25 services and 4 types of clients. The scariest question someone could ask me was: 'What do you do?'"

Though the agency was a financial success, DePalma knew it was trying to be too many things to too many diverse clients. Employees wondered whether the firm was a marketing agency or a development shop. He knew he had to do something different and took a stab at developing a social media product. 

He pitched the product to an investor group but hadn't developed the business plan or identified a target market. "It was brutal, an epic smack­down," DePalma recalled, "yet, it was the best thing that could have happened. I was in an entrepreneurial identity crisis."

Saying "yes" to opportunities was essential to build that first business and gain experience, but closing the agency gave DePalma the freedom to say "no" and pinpoint the one thing his new company would excel at.

"I knew I had to shut my company down and move from chaos into clarity. Clarity is understanding what you do and who you do it for," DePalma said.

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