Dominate, Don’t Dabble
Have you ever heard a really great conference speaker? One who’s words echo in your head for weeks after the actual event?
I was at ICON14 — the annual Infusionsoft users conference — where Casey Graham was one of the featured speakers. Casey has grown his company, The Rocket Company, over 832% in the last 4 years. His message to owners of growing companies has been ringing in my head since I heard him speak.
Casey started out by describing a situation I see with many clients. A business owner going a thousand directions at once. She’s got social media going on 5 different platforms, her blog is (supposed to be) updated daily, she’s working in 7 different systems and tools to run her business and she’s got 4 different product or service offerings she’s managing. She’s got an idea for number five and it will be launched by the end of the month. No wonder she’s exhausted and nearing burnout.
Casey approached his business differently. He built one product. One. He used a single ad on one social network (Facebook). One ad, in one location. By focusing on just one ad, to sell one product, he had to get that ad right. He had to perfect his landing page, the language in his emails, his pricing, and the value people were getting from his service. He focused on solving one simple problem until it worked so well that he turns $400 in advertising into $3,500 in product sales week after week. He had the time to do that because he simplified the problem he was trying to solve.
Once his first product was working well and he felt that he had done all he could, he grew a second product, which he also sold with one ad, on one social network. Then another. Then another…
Sometimes we make our business more complicated than it needs to be. Instead of really doing our homework to find the most promising marketing vehicle for our business, we shotgun it and throw 10% of our budget at 10 different options. “I’ll add budget to the one that works,” you think. But in fact, none of them work that well. Why? When you spread your efforts over a huge area you aren’t able to learn the nuances, or iterate the tests, or learn enough about any one of them to make it successful.
Intel has a principle that they use when they build their manufacturing facilities called “Copy Exactly“. When they build a new fabrication facility they will make the new facility exactly like the old one. Every piece of equipment is the same model and the same brand and is in the exact same location. They fire up the fab and start running parts; if they can’t replicate the results (quality, throughput, cost, etc.) that they had in their earlier location, they go over everything to see what’s different. First they seek to replicate the results of the prior facility before they try to improve anything. It’s too costly to innovate until you have the process working.
Constant change means you never learn the recipe for success.
How can you simplify your business this week? What can you stop doing, even today, that will enable you to focus on the few things you need to get right to make your business a success? Can you delay innovation until you have something that works, and works well?
Dominate, don’t dabble.