Do Less. Much Less.

Something’s not right. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but things have stalled. Your teams are losing steam. A lot of work is happening, but momentum is slowing and not much is actually getting done. You see the wheels spinning, but you’re not getting to your destination. Your business isn’t growing like you want it to.

You ask yourself what changed. Was there a shift in the market? Is there a new competitor that we don’t know about? Do people think we’re too expensive? Do we have a poor customer experience? Do we need to shake up the org? Is it the economy? Is our team no longer capable of understanding and meeting the needs of our customers? Is it me?

Maybe. Those are all possibilities. Building a product that people love and use regularly is hard. There are so many things to consider and get right at any given time.

Of all the things that could affect your ability to create a successful product and grow your business I invite you to consider that you might be trying to do too much.

The best products are created by teams who are ruthless at saying no to the many to focus on the few. When you have ambitious goals it’s too easy to fall into the trap of trying to do it all.

A little here. A little there. Just one more feature. Just this once. Before you know it, your product has expanded to the point where it’s not clear where you’re going or what people actually love about your product. Things slow down because you’re trying to take on too much. In this state it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters. Trying to do too many things means you don’t do any one thing well. This sounds cliche, but it’s true.

Top-performing companies with excellent products realize this and consciously limit or reduce their product offerings. They know that it’s better to create a few phenomenal things instead of many half-baked ones. You have to draw a line in the sand. The word “no” must be a regular part of your vocabulary like a toddler going through the terrible-twos.

Your product is like a pristine garden. It needs constant tending and pruning to promote the right growth. Otherwise things become unruly and gnarly. Weeds creep in and choke out the true beauty.

Step back. Identify what doesn’t fit, is losing money, is a distraction, or isn’t being used and start cutting. It may be that you end up removing entire features or even shutting down entire products. This can seem painful at first, but in the long run your product, business and customers will be much better off.

You will have more capacity and energy to make what remains truly great. Something that your customers love and are excited to tell others about. Details matter and now you’ll have more time focus on the right ones. It will be easier to tell the story of what you do and connect that story with the right customers.