Hmm… yes, this might seem strange to ask about cutting at the beginning of a new year – but shouldn’t we be looking set goals to expand and grow, you might ask?
Well yes, but, before you can grow, you have to cut out the deadwood or the slow growth businesses, products and services in order to focus on new opportunities or expand those things that really are working.
At this time of year, it is customary to layout a set of goals for 2011. I suggest you put at the top of your goal list ‘cut or prune any favourite projects that aren’t working’.
Okay, you might ask, what is the difference between cutting and pruning?
Well, in the words of Jack Welch of GE fame, any business (or product/ service) that isn’t working should be fixed, sold or closed.
What you must not do is duck the decision. If you can’t fix it, then you need to sell it (if it has revenue or value) or just close it.
So, if you have been true to your entrepreneurial spirits in 2010, then you will have set up some pet projects that you really believed would work, but for some reason, they didn’t succeed. And if they haven’t succeeded yet, then you either need to prune them, sell them or close them.
Yes, I am doing this too.
I am closing two digital web magazines.
The first, Official Property Guide, was a good idea – selling advertorial to property agents and developers – but it the property market is horrible and agents are suffering terribly. Just no point in continuing. The idea is good, so perhaps in 5 years time….
The second, Wealth Manager International, was another good idea. There is a growth market in this sector but the website needs investment of time and money. I’ve decided that this area of publishing is not core to our strategy in 2011 and hence, whilst this is a good website, I’ve decided to close it.
A third website, which has been successful but is in a non-core area will be tidyed up for a sale later this year.
The good news is that this pruning or cutting reduces my costs and has helped me refocus my main business – Media Modo – on one area, and that is, helping entrepreneurs, freelancers and business angels to succeed in 2011.
As a result, we are now ready to launch an innovative and affordable Non-Exec Director type service for launch and fast growth business in the North West of England and will be following this with an Entrepreneur Accreditation service soon.
Lastly, don’t forget that the growth of Twitter and social media means we are great at announcing our new plans and wins but rarely do we see someone saying that they are cutting or pruning. However, this doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
Take a leaf out of Diane Hall’s book – the Frazzled Freelancer of Enterprise Freelance Fair when she says
This is actually very cathartic, to admit that I’ve made mistakes. We’re all human. It’s how we overcome them and use the experience to shape future decisions that gives us that wonderful thing called experience.