I wrote yesterday about how to run a very successful business, working just 20 hours a week. I emphasised the importance of cherry-picking your clients, so you only work with the right kind of people for the right kind of fees.

Today, I want to share why it’s also very important for you to be extremely selective, regarding the products or services you offer.

Just get rid of the crappy stuff — Steve Jobs

One of the cornerstones of Apple’s success, is their decision to focus on a small number of products, which they excel at. They pour all their considerable expertise into creating market-leading products, which hundreds of millions of people buy and love.

Here’s a wonderful example of what I mean. Nike CEO, Mark Parker, talked to Steve Jobs on the phone, shortly after becoming Nike’s CEO:

“Do you have any advice?” Parker asked Jobs. “Well, just one thing,” said Jobs. “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.” Parker said Jobs paused and Parker filled the quiet with a chuckle. But Jobs didn’t laugh. He was serious. “He was absolutely right,” said Parker.”

Source: Forbes.

The lesson?

Steve Jobs’ advice to just get rid of the crappy stuff, was maybe a little harsh, however, it raises some powerful questions:

  • Is it possible that by focusing on just a small number of core services (or products), you could be directly relevant to high quality clients, rather than seen as a generalist?
  • If so, how would that change the value you provide and thus the fees or prices you could achieve?
  • Would it be easier for potential clients to get a handle on exactly what you do?
  • Would it be easier for you to grow your business, with the increased focus that comes from specialising in a smaller number of areas?

Take a moment to ponder those questions. It could lead to a decision, which improves your business beyond recognition.

Tip: Here’s some great advice from Steve Jobs, on The Power of Focus.

About Jim Connolly: I help small business owners attract more high quality clients, make more sales and boost their profits. To see how I can help you and your business, read this.