Think about how hard it used to be to share pictures with family and friends that lived in other states.
Think about how fast we went from talking on a phone plugged into a wall to one that fits in a pocket.
The speed of change makes many things possible that were either really hard or all but impossible to do.
But that leaves us with a big, hairy question: Just because we can, should we?
I think about this question a lot when I’m working with clients. Most recently, it popped up again when I helped a friend pull together some materials for a presentation. I knew the Wi-Fi connection wasn’t great at the event, so all the materials needed to be on the computer.
As the list of things she wanted to include kept growing, it became clear that it wasn’t about building a thoughtful presentation. By the end, she had over an hour of material to fit into 35 minutes.
But she’d convinced herself, even as she sent me more things at 2 a.m., that because she could, she should really pack as much as possible into this one presentation.
Without realizing it, my friend had sabotaged herself. She had some lovely and powerful points to make, but in the rush to get everything in, some of the most important things were glossed over or ignored.
We see this happen in business every day. We confuse offering more with offering better. We have the ability to offer more, so what better way to beat the competition?
There’s one problem with this logic: Diversifying your services makes sense only if doing so doesn’t take away from your core offering.
In 2014, after years of slowing sales, McDonald’s announced plans to cut back on the number of menu items it offered. After growing 70 percent in seven years, the complicated menu had increased wait times and franchisees had to buy additional ingredients and expensive equipment. It’s no surprise that sales were down.
But with a simpler, healthier menu and the addition of all-day breakfast, things started looking up for McDonald’s in 2016. Drive-thru times dropped, sales went up, and franchisees reported feeling more optimistic. Overall, they did a good job of prioritizing their cans and shoulds.
When it comes to adding or doing something new at your business, have you asked the right questions? Does your new product or service help you offer clients or customers something better or just something more?
Learn to understand the difference. Getting it right will save you a headache, and could be the deciding factor that determines if you stay in business for months or years.