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Hold It . . . Hold It . . .

Capture the essence of your business success-the lighter the focus on your prospects and products, the better.

This story appears in the November 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Wall Street traders tell countless tales of businesses that strayed from their core areas of expertise-only to see their profits erode and stock prices plummet. Companies large and small fall prey to the desire for innovation at all costs, and sometimes they lose their equilibrium in the process. As your business becomes increasingly successful, you may feel pressure to add additional products or services, find new and untapped markets, or reinvent your company image. But before you make that next big move, consider how the following three steps can save your business from sliding down the slippery slope:

1. Focus on your core product or service. Imagine you're a talented ceramic designer whose firm makes high-end tableware. Your dishes and serving pieces are sold in fine shops from Manhattan to Los Angeles. Should you expand by creating additional products for the table, such as vases or flatware with ceramic handles, or branch out and create ceramic light fixtures for use elsewhere in the home?

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