Don’t Be a Jack of All Trades – Pick One and Be Really Good

too many choices

Photo Credit: maclauren70

When you open a new business, it may be tempting to offer every potential option that may come up in the areas of your expertise. However, you can often lower costs and increase revenue by limiting down to a focus list of your best products available.


Fewer Options Means Lower Costs

If you sell physical goods, your location and inventory costs are likely toward the top of your monthly expenses. If you sold fewer items, you would need less space and less inventory. That is an easily measurable way to cut your costs quickly.

If you offer services, you still have to be able to provide any of them at any time. Unless you are 100% digital, that may require more equipment, staff, or resources to meet customer demand. If you offered fewer options, you can quickly find cost savings.

Just note, don’t cut very high performing products. As we’ll discuss in a moment, fewer options may lead to more sales. However, you shouldn’t slim down your offerings if it would cut into your top selling products.


Fewer Options Helps Customers Choose

Choice paralysis is a real thing. This is a real problem that business owners face, though many don’t realize it. Here is a great case study for companies selling online. The video gives a great example for brick and mortar stores.

In the example from the video, Sheena Iyengar’s team offered jam for sale at a market. For a period of time, the display had 24 options. For another period, the display had 6 options. While the display with 24 options attracted a larger number of potential customers, only 3% made a purchase with 24 options. With 6 options to choose from, 30% of those who stopped by the booth made a purchase.

In total, the number of purchases was higher with 18 fewer choices. Do you want more visitors or more sales? I think most business owners would agree that revenue is more important than impressions.


Do a Few Things Better Than Anyone Else

We are in a world of fast information and stiff competition. Small guys like us will never be able to compete with Target or Walmart on selection, so why try? Instead, focus on what you do better than anyone else, and do a great job with it.

Small businesses often thrive on their reputation for great customer service. That is the best way us small guys can compete with the big box stores and national brands. Focus on what you are good at, and be the best.


Use the 80/20 Rule

In many of my entrepreneurial adventures, I find that I spend a lot of time getting very little done. Once I figured out the time wasters and what was giving me the best results, I was able to really buckle down and grow my business.

Pareto’s Principle, known as the 80/20 rule, says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your work. If you can cut 80% of your time spent and only lose 20% of your result, imagine what you can get done when you re-allocate that time!


What Do You Offer?

Do you ever feel bogged down by your business offerings? Do you think you have the right balance? Share your thoughts in the comments.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.


  1. Finance Carnival for Young Adults | Bite the Bullet InvestingBite the Bullet Investing says:

    […] @ Entrepreneurship Life writes Don’t Be a Jack of All Trades – Pick One and Be Really Good – When you open a new business, it may be tempting to offer every potential option that may […]

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