This is a guest post from Solo PR PRO Premium member, Daria Steigman, founder of Steigman Communications. Daria is a senior marketing communications and digital strategist.
The best small business owners are constantly innovating. It’s in our DNA.
We’re always rethinking a product, adding a new service line, redesigning our websites, tweaking our sales approaches, and testing everything from digital platforms to productivity tools. It’s what we do. But you know what we don’t do?
We don’t know when to fold.
This is the post where you get permission to let go.
But first, two examples.
Shortly after I started my business, I joined an industry group composed primarily of high-powered Washington, D.C., women. The meetings were substantive—but the real benefit was an annual membership directory that had bios and contact information on everyone. In the pre-Internet days, it was a great resource (and a great way for me to get my name out). And I took advantage of it, slowly reaching out to the best prospects, building up my network and gaining some terrific clients in the process.
Then my business focus started to shift, and these weren’t my best prospects anymore. But I still paid my dues for another three years. Habits are hard to break.
Fortunately, when it came to the next habit I got smarter.
Before I started my blog (in the days of corporate brochure websites), I wrote a business column for the International Association of Business Communicators. The idea behind “Independent Thinking” was to share what I’ve learned in business and interview and learn from other smart entrepreneurs. And it was awesome, and it challenged me to be a better businessperson.
Then I started my blog and started contributing regularly to a couple of other blogs. And suddenly I was struggling to figure out what content belonged in the column versus my blog. My blog became the place to test out ideas, and the column sometimes felt like I was recycling material (even if the audience wasn’t the same). It became a chore to write.
Moreover, the business value wasn’t there anymore. The column had become just one more thing to do. So I shuttered it (with – what else? – a final column about letting things go).
What can you let go?
I’ve just set out two big examples (of my money & my time), but it doesn’t have to be something major. It can be something small.
Maybe it’s the makeup of your reading list. I don’t just add items to Feedly; I unsubscribe periodically from those I never read or largely delete unread. Maybe it’s a regular networking group that isn’t helpful for networking or a business group that’s just the wrong fit.
Stop. Take a breath. Inventory your products, services, and business processes. What no longer makes sense?