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Are You Doing Too Much?

are you doing too much

Once a business is established, it’s common practice to add products and services in the name of diversification and the desire for more profits. It’s a wise business move to choose products and services that will appeal to customers you’re already doing business with.

But what’s the point of diminishing returns? When does adding more products become less profitable or even start losing you money?

Lego is known for its beloved interlocking toy bricks. The company has been around since 1949. You and your children have probably built many fun projects using their colorful, iconic blocks.

As with many other successful brands, Lego decided to diversify. The Denmark-based company added games, movies, clothing lines, and six themed amusement parks (Legoland). Lego added many new colors to the primary colored bricks originally available. Costs were added at a much higher rate than new profits to pay for all this diversification.

The once very profitable company began bleeding red ink. A new CEO (Jorgen Vig Knudstrorp) was brought in to fix the problem. One of the first questions he asked was this: “What do we need to stop doing?”

Beginning in 2005, Lego sold the theme parks and whittled down half of the brick colors. They became more efficient and creative at doing what they were good at by concentrating on less rather than more. By the end of the same year, Lego was profitable again.

Sometimes the answer to doing more is to actually do less. Doing less frees up time and resources to concentrate on the key products and customers that bring you the bulk of your profits. If you have too many services or products, start considering what things you should stop doing, so you can focus instead on what really matters.

Sometimes Less Really is More

“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your mother probably admonished you as a youngster: “You need to finish that plate of food because there are children in Africa starving right now.” So we have been conditioned to eat even when our stomach is full or even if we don’t really like the taste of the food. The negative side effects surround us everywhere.

Living in this age of access to unprecedented amounts of information, we must be careful not to overindulge there, too. Just as it is harmful to overeat, it is perhaps even more detrimental to consume the incessant amount of unrelated and useless information that fills the web, the airwaves (TV and radio), and print. Just because it’s free to access doesn’t mean it comes without another kind of cost.

This type of cost is more precious than the monetary kind. It’s your valuable time. Unlike money, time can’t be replaced once it’s gone. Like the youngster who becomes conditioned to eat too much, we are becoming conditioned to consume too much information, most of it the useless variety. Many of us need to go on an information diet! How many minutes and hours are wasted daily on email, Facebook, and various news/entertainment websites? Too many.

“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” -Albert Einstein

Not all reading or information is harmful, of course. But it is time to stop reading negative and time-consuming information that is not helping you advance toward your goals. If you start reading an article that turns out to be less useful than you thought, no need to keep reading it. Do you have to constantly check your email? Not really. Start taking your time back by going on an information diet today. You will be much more productive and will like the new you the next time you look in the mirror.