Move the needle – Simplify


As I write this message, Facebook has just completed its first day of trading on the NASDAQ and closed $.23 above its opening price of $38. Already there are dozens of “Was Facebook Overhyped” stories flying all over the Internet.

Last night, I had a long drive from a client and I listened to more than two hours of sports talk radio. In this time span, I heard at least five different explanations about why Steve Blake, and not Kobe Bryant, took the last shot in the Lakers game.

It’s not enough to simply look at each of these issues and say – “Facebook opened on the NASDAQ” or “the Lakers lost.” Unfortunately, with a 24-hour news cycle and hundreds of outlets all competing for attention, the media make everything complex.

This applies to all areas of our lives. Simple is no longer acceptable.

As a result, when sales begin to slow in business, we assume it’s time for new products, services and marketing strategies. The next thing you know, we’ve added 10 menu items and signed up for a corporate Pinterest account. If these newest additions don’t immediately move the needle, we’ll add some more.

It never seems to end. But in business, less is often more.

The best example of this philosophy is the most profitable and valuable company on the planet – Apple. While their competitors continue to add products by the bushel, Apple has chosen to keep it simple. They have five main products (iPad, iPod, iPhone, Mac and iTunes) – that is it.

Steve Jobs’ autobiographer, Walter Isaacson, pointed out that Jobs was obsessed with simplicity and believed that, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” We can learn a lot from Jobs’ philosophy.

Start by listing and ranking your products and services. Which is the most profitable? Which one generates the most sales? Which one are you the best at delivering? Which one is easiest to sell?

Next, ask yourself where you spend the most time. Is it with the products/services that are easy to sell and generate the most profit, or those that barely break even and have a long sales cycle?

I’ve done this a handful of times since starting my company nine years ago. Each time, I ended up completely eliminating one of my offerings, which quickly led to less stress and more profit.

As with most things in life, the solution is simple. All you need to do is execute.


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