Friday, July 29, 2016
Likewise, understanding when it's time to quit a product you love, but that is not providing you with the gains you want, can mean the difference between success and failure, or even fulfillment and frustration.
In 1976, 23-year-old Don Schlitz wrote "The Gambler." After pushing it around for a few years, eventually, it was picked up by Bobby Bare and later, Johnny Cash. Despite the talent behind the lyrics and performers, the song never really took off. That is until Kenny Rogers picked it up and launched it to the top of the charts. Schlitz knew he had a song worth pushing and didn't give up. That perseverance paid off in spades (pun intended).
Knowing when to keep going with a product or service is not always so straight-forward, though. It's a difficult decision to give up on your "business baby" that you created and nurtured, especially when revenues are "ok." Sometimes, though, it's necessary to give up an "ok" thing to make room for an extraordinary thing. So, hear from some of the top founders in the country about how they know when to hold em' and when to fold em'.
Is It Profitable?
This question is probably the easiest to answer when you take into account: (1) revenue, (2) time and money investment, (3) emotional investment and (4) company goals. For Elisa Doucett, Founder of CraftYourContent, it's a no-brainer - "if it costs more fiscally and mentally to maintain than it makes, then it is no bueno."
For Matthew Newton, Founder of TourismTiger, his approach is similar - "if the return on time or money invested isn't worth it and you can't find a clear solution, it's time to kill the product."
Is It Providing Value?
Just creating a product because you want to make money or achieve a personal goal may not be the best for your product's success. Likewise, if your product is too similar to your competition or doesn't add more value than a competing product, it's time to move on to something else.
Micheal Ericsson, Founder of Search Scientists, looks to the founder's mindset in determining when to kill a product: "Everyone I know with a truly successful product...[is] not creating a product to create a product, they're moving forward with the goal to change a piece of the world."
Is It Feeding Your Passion?
While passion may not be the best reason for creating a product, it certainly should be a factor in keeping it going. According to Brandon King, Founder of SmartInternChina, "You should kill a product when it is killing you. If you go through an extended period of time working on a product you hate...that drains your energy, that is a good sign that it is time to move on."
Continually working on a product that you hate will erode your ability to put your best efforts into it. Nobody wants to put their name on a mediocre product.
Phil Ivey, (a.k.a. Gambler) always quits for the night when he's no longer at his best. The same holds true for running a business.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
The dirty little secret here is that there are NO pointless meetings in the world of business - only wasted opportunities to get things done. If you want to make sure your meetings are justifying their existence, you'll want to keep a few key things in mind.
Know When to Schedule a Meeting and When Not To
The first step on your road to a more productive meeting schedule involves coming to an understanding of what type of information should be conveyed in a meeting and what would be better left for some other delivery mechanism. One of the reasons why meetings tend to fall into the "pointless" category for many people is that they don't require input or collaboration. If a team leader wants to draw everyone together to talk about updates to a project, but they don't want the advice of anyone else, what they're scheduling is not a meeting at all. It is an email at best.
Collaboration and the input of everyone involved should be a requirement for any meeting to justify its existence. If a particular problem has cropped up with a project and everyone needs to come together to solve it, that's one thing. However, if the purpose of the meeting can be accomplished by just sending a memo or some other form of communication, don't waste everyone's time by gathering the entire team together to talk about the work they are already doing. Instead, let the team just get on with doing their jobs.
It's All About Solutions and Focus
Another one of the reasons why more meetings tend to be less than productive is because people come with ideas, not solutions. One sure-fire way to make sure that nothing gets done is to allow people to come to a meeting and say off the top of their heads whatever is on their minds, firing off ideas that may or may not work.
In a perfect world, everyone at the meeting would know that you have a problem and would come prepared with X, Y, and Z suggestions for how to feasibly solve it. You wouldn't waste the meeting time searching for an answer to your problem. Instead, you would be able to pick the best solution available to you from what the team members came prepared with and brought to the meeting. Far too many meetings lack this type of targeted focus, which is why so many of us can walk out of a meeting and feel like it accomplished nothing.
At the end of the day, there are no pointless meetings in the world of business or, at least, there shouldn't be. Getting everyone together for a meeting can be a great thing. Everyone is in a room together, feeding off of everyone else's energy and building a solid foundation of creativity that will carry your business forward. Meetings that are little more than lectures (or worse, freestyle sessions) have no place in a productive organization. If you want to have a meeting, by all means, do so - just make sure it has a clear focus before you schedule it.