How to Become More Productive By Doing Less

Do-Less-More-Productive

I recently posted this on my Facebook page:

“Clarity comes from subtraction not addition. In my business and for so many of my clients the greatest growth has come from stripping away underperforming offers and getting focused on more powerful ones rather than adding more features or products which almost always complicate things.”

Consultants often think they need to add new services, new offerings, new products in order to succeed. The opposite is often true.

One day later on a group call with my coaching clients I went deeper on this topic. Many people found the concept very powerful and so I wanted to share it with you too.

You see, when I look at the growth my businesses have achieved over the years, the greatest growth has come as the result of subtraction, not addition.

Consultants often think they need to add new services, new offerings, new products in order to succeed. The opposite is often true.

Instead Try This…

Instead of adding more and more, I would encourage you to look at aiming for less.

Instead of ‘creating’ more, focus on one. The one core offering…

The one that your ideal buyers want most.

The one that will open the most doors to new conversations with buyers.

The one that is most profitable.

The one that you can leverage to achieve greater revenues without overwhelm.

It doesn’t have to be only ONE. But you’re looking for the ‘few’ activities that make the greatest impact.

Here’s a great way to think about this courtesy of Darren Hardy:

“We’ve all heard about the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule that 20 percent of your activity produces 80 percent of your income. Simply put, this means you should spend 80 percent of your time on the 20 percent of your activities responsible for driving your income. Figure out what your 80 percent activities are, and stop doing those so you can focus more time on the 20 percent activities that make the real difference in your results and income.”

Take Inventory

Here’s how to approach this:

  1. Make a list of all your products and services.
  2. Rank them by the most successful and profitable.
  3. Look at how much time you’re spending on each of them.
  4. Then commit to focusing on the few that have the biggest impact on your business.
  5. Stop working on, or completely remove the ones that are simply hanging around and not providing real value.

This approach is so powerful it helped Chris Garrett go from working 7 days a week down to just 3 while seeing no decline in income.

The clarity of a message is drowned out when too many other messages surround it.

Marketing Concept

This same concept applies to your marketing. If you’re trying to get your ideal buyer’s attention by communicating 10 different strengths that you have you’ll have little success.

Why?

Because you can’t be all things to all people.

The clarity of a message is drowned out when too many other messages surround it.

The opposite of that is that the fewer messages (or offers, products, services) you initially present the greater impact each one will have and the better result you’ll see.

Your Opportunity…

Take inventory on your own business and life and look at how you’re spending your time?

Are you focused on the highest value areas?

Are you spending too much time creating new things in the hopes of success?

Can you focus on fewer things and become exceptional at them?

What are your thoughts on this? Can you relate to it? Do you have an experience you can share? Let me know in the comments below.

  • “you can’t be all things to all people” – too true – and spot on with …

    “Instead of ‘creating’ more, focus on one. The one core offering…
    The one that your ideal buyers want most.
    The one that will open the most doors to new conversations with buyers.
    The one that is most profitable.”

    Excellent article – thanks for sharing

  • Great breakdown Michael Zipursky. I like the example you gave about consultants adding more products and services thinking that is going to help grow their business more.

    In some cases that may hold true but that’s usually only once you’ve nailed down the core offering. I’ve been reading the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less that talks a lot about what you’ve written about – just applying it more to life. Great to see how it can be applied to both!

    • Awesome Christian! Haven’t heard of that book but will definitely check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  • Johannes

    ITW applied the 80/20 principle very successfull to grow its companies. Don’t know if they still use the 80/20 toolbox after the recent changes in strategy.

  • Bill Doerr

    Reminds me of the old Lovin’ Spoonful song with the line, “It’s not often easy and not often kind . . . you have to pick up on one and leave the others behind”. So true. Such wisdom. Thanks for sharing.