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Is Your Business Trying to Do Too Much?

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In the downturn, many companies have scrambled to change what they do. They're quickly added products or services, introduced multiple new versions, marketed to many new audiences.

So maybe it's time to ask -- are you in over your head? Unfocused? Are you simply doing too much?

Some businesses have taken the opposite tack in the downturn, stripping down their company to the bare essentials. They're staying laser-focused on what matters most to their customers, creating bare-bones products or services. Then, if demand dictates, they might add one feature or two.

This has the advantage of keeping marketing very simple as well. In this time of pinched marketing budgets, that can be a real plus.

On the technology side, the do-less idea dovetails with the trend toward lean startups. Shrinking technology-development costs have translated into tech startups either seeking smaller venture or angel funding rounds, or just bootstrapping all the way to profits. Many can get a basic version of their software ready for customers, and are just putting it out. Then, customer feedback may help them gradually add features or alter the audience or direction of the product. 

Companies have been sharing best practices in the lean-startup niche through Lean Startup Meetup Groups, of which there are now more than 50. >

When sales go down, some companies tend to go a little bit crazy. There's a frantic scramble to find something, anything, that might generate more sales. Business owners start 10 new initiatives at once, try to capture three different new target markets, or expand to five new cities in a quarter. 

All of which can add up to scattered energy and the inability to do even one thing really well. And that can turn off customers and make sales go down even more.

What's your recession survival strategy? Is your company doing more, or have you streamlined and focused in on doing less? Leave a comment and let us know.

Carol Tice

Written By

Longtime Seattle business writer Carol Tice has written for Entrepreneur, Forbes, Delta Sky and many more. She writes the award-winning Make a Living Writing blog. Her new ebook for Oberlo is Crowdfunding for Entrepreneurs.