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Do I say no to a tedious cash cow?

Following up on my post about how focusing is essential to growth I got a question from a fellow business owner, Paul asks;

Hi Brad,

I love this Venn Diagram; in fact, I have a copy hanging on my office wall!

The dilemma occurs when the intersection of something we do well and don’t love doing is a service that is super-high in margin, and akin to “printing money”.  In other words, a disliked cash cow.  Typically, in our business, these are mindless, repetitive projects that become a chore for anyone who works on them.  But, they generate a lot of profit.  And no sane company would turn away an opportunity like this because it is repeatable, “subscription”-type revenue which is sticky because it is difficult for clients to change their vendor for this work.

But very few team members want to work on these projects because they are boring.  It’s quite the catch-22!

– Paul

Here’s how I responded to him;

Paul; The problem with profitable work, that you are good at, but that no one loves, is that it leads to burnout. As a company, you can get away with it if it’s a small percentage of your total work so that you can rotate people through it, or give it to the “new kid” as a sort of hazing ritual. But if folks are doing it over and over they will either burn out or leave. The other problem is that you are investing resources into work that you can’t develop a case study from, might lead to referrals to more work you don’t want, and is burning out your people. It’s COSTING you more than you think. What would it mean to your team for you to tell them, “You never have to do another of these projects?”
How would you react to Paul’s question? Is it a no brainer, take the money! Or are some of the costs I mentioned things you wouldn’t ignore?

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