Offering Everything Isn't Always A Good Idea
Imagine you walk into a new restaurant. You get the menu and are met with pages of different kinds of meals. And after reading them you’re still unclear on what to get or what the restaurant is known for. At this point, you’re a bit frustrated because even if you have a good meal, you might not return because of the experience.
Often times we find that many businesses offer too much. They could be selling too many products or even too many varieties of the same product. This usually means that the business strategy lacks focus. And businesses that aren’t focused enough could be affecting their bottom dollar in a negative way.
Customers like to arrive at a business and clearly understand what you’re known for or what you do. The clearer your process is, the more likely they are to become a repeat customer. Whenever you go to Chipotle, you know exactly what you’re doing and that you’re more than likely going to enjoy a bowl or a burrito. It’s that simple.
Take the same approach with your business. When people arrive at your business, do they understand what you offer and how to get it?
To uncover the importance of this simplicity, let’s take a look at how one of the world’s most valuable companies escaped bankruptcy through the use of focus.
How Apple Used Focus To Become An Incredible Company
Long ago, in the mid-90s, Apple wasn’t doing so well. They were experiencing a flurry of unsuccessful product launches and were close to bankruptcy.
The problem? Their products were incredibly confusing, overpriced, and too niche.
In the late 90s, Steve Jobs came back to help Apple during this difficult time. He noticed that Apple had been launching too many different kinds of products. To clearly describe what was happening, Jobs asked the board, “which product do I recommend to my friends?”
Stumped by the question, Apple’s executives realized what the problem was. Their lack of focus was hurting their bottom dollar. So Jobs decided the company needed to refocus.
Since then, Apple has focused on creating a few truly great products rather than many okay ones.
Today, Apple continues to be a powerhouse leader of technology. What sets them apart?
Apple has a clear picture of their products, services, and their customers. And they continue to profit in a major way because of that. They make sure to keep their focus on what works and they constantly improve on that experience.
“Despite this table being so small that you and I are sitting at, you could put every Apple product on it, and yet this year our revenues will be approximately $180 billion.”
— Tim Cook, Apple CEO
Is Your Business Unfocused?
If you’re offering too much, your business might be unfocused.
When you offer too much, it confuses consumers. They won’t know how to enjoy your products or services.
Imagine you owned a bakery that sold cookies, fresh bread, sandwiches, pizza, coffee, and more. When a customer visits for the first time, they might be confused by the amount of options. They probably won’t understand what your main product is and why they should get it.
Instead, you should focus on selling what you’re best at creating. If your best products are your cookies, then focus on making them even better and make them your prominent product. Once you understand what works, you need to make that clear in all aspects of the business.
Celebrate your best products with your customers. Make them aware of your cookies from in-store to social media. When customers arrive at your business they’ll know what you sell and want to buy it.
Set a plan to only focus on what you do best. This tactic can help you learn what will and won’t work in your industry. Once you have your plan, it’s time to cut back on what isn’t working. If those sandwiches aren’t selling, then it’s time to make less of them or cut them out altogether.
This will do two things. First, it will reduce waste and save you money. Secondly, you’ve made room to promote your best product. Think again about Apple. When you walk into their stories they have more product tables dedicated to highlighting their best seller – the iPhone.
Customers will take notice of this and as you make it easier for them to understand your products or services, they’ll likely return over and over again.
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, having a lack of focus can cause customers to be confused about what your business does. Take time to understand what you do best and make the necessary changes to highlight it. Remember, people like things that are easy, and customers should be able to easily understand what it is that you do best, so they can experience it again and again!
What do you think? Can your business strategy use a bit of focus? Do you think what you offer already works? Have you noticed these signs in your business before?
Apple’s Tim Cook on TV, Steve Jobs, and the iPhone 6, by Frank Pallotta and Brian Stelter of CNN Business
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