Southern Software, a venture agency based in Queenstown-Lakes, wants to help entrepreneurs achieve more with the newest addition to their portfolio – an attention management SaaS (software as a service) platform named Focus.

As the founder of Southern Software, Duncan Faulkner knows intimately the unique challenges presented to entrepreneurs every day. Not only are they expected to keep an eye on many moving parts at once, but they require a big-picture view to keep tabs on how things are going.

When considering how to make entrepreneurs’ lives easier, Faulkner began exploring the concept of ‘less is more’ in technology. He envisioned a way to create a distraction-free SaaS tool that could set users up for success while monitoring the progress of various goals.

“What we’re trying to do is create this sense of peace in the entrepreneur’s mind where they feel on top of it. They feel like they’re moving all their ambitious goals forward, and they’re doing a good job as opposed to having that constant noise and panic that so many of us suffer with,” Faulkner says.

What sets Focus apart from project management tools is that it doesn’t involve other users, nor is it constantly monitored.

Focus encourages users to set up a calendar reminder to block out time every week to check the status of various goals. Once a user interacts with a ‘card’ (a project or desired outcome) and updates it, the card fades into the screen. Users set a frequency for reminders on cards instead of due dates. This way, Focus ensures that things keep moving forward.

“It stops things stalling by constantly coming back into your focus and coming to the front of your attention,” explains Faulkner. “So, it’s only alerting you to the things that matter now. Everything else is gone.”

If a user doesn’t update an alert when it pops up, the card remains on the screen, making it harder to ignore.

By creating a bird’s eye view of everything an entrepreneur intends to achieve, all in one place, with all the intended outcomes, Focus aims to help entrepreneurs achieve more.

Focus launched in February, and the first 2000 users get free access to the software and online productivity workshops.

The app is designed for desktop use, which was another strategic choice to further decrease distractions.

Focus
The Focus app in use

So far, the most common response from users, which includes Xero founder Rod Drury, is how it creates a sense of relaxation from the feeling that comes from accomplishing each step and moving towards a goal.

By providing a tool that encourages focus on one thing at a time, Faulkner believes it gives the minds’ of entrepreneurs a chance to be present. He says that we can make our best strategic decisions through presence and focus and it also helps us be more creative. We move from living reactively into a more proactive space.

This way, entrepreneurs can keep doing what they’re doing – making an impact.

“You’re empowering those entrepreneurs to do more and to succeed more. And when the entrepreneurs succeed, all the workers and all the other industries around them succeed.”


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