When should you give a product the ax? - Kristen Kalp

When should you give a product the ax?

Your business is constantly evolving. You’re trying out new vendors and streamlining your processes. You’re working with new clients and maintaining relationships with former ones, too. You’re adding new products and services to your line-up all the time. But. How the flibbity jibbeting frying pans do you know when it’s time to retire a “perfectly good” product?

Here are five easily-spotted signs it’s time to give a product or service the ax.

Kill-that-product sign #1: dread.

If you feel like hurling yourself off a cliff every time you sell a certain something, it’s time to give up the ghost. Retire that product or service without ceremony and move on to greener pastures.

What’s that? It’s “good money” you get for doing that thing you hate? Right. So, tell me about the that time you went to get a massage and the person giving rubbing you down was just not into it. Could you feel it? Tell me about that time you saw a band perform after being on the road for six months and they were phoning it in. Could you feel that? Or how about that time you called a customer service person for help and they just Did. Not. Care. Could you feel that, too?

Like you, your customers can feel your lack of enthusiasm. Instead of letting that dread bring you (and your business!) down, cut the product or service that makes you dream of becoming a lemming from your business offerings as soon as possible.

Kill that product sign #2: expenses have changed significantly.

If you used to have an unpaid intern who did all your photo editing and album design, but now you’ve got to pay someone $75 an hour to do the same work, your expenses have changed significantly. You’ve got to either raise prices to reflect your new costs or kill the product altogether. A business is a business to be profitable, so eating those costs doesn’t do you any good. Luckily, adjusting costs means this product can easily survive!

Kill-it-kill-it-I-mean-retire-it sign #3: waning popularity (i.e. no longer interesting to your clients).

If you’ve been selling out a class with 100 seats again and again, then suddenly launch a new set of seats and sell…10…you’ve got some waning popularity on your hands. You can retire the class altogether, or just give the class more time between rounds to ensure that demand has increased since the last time you’ve run it. Likewise, if you’ve done 3 rounds of mini sessions in the past year or you’ve been holding monthly specials that are noticeably less effective, giving those promotions a rest will help boost your clients’ demand later in the year.

Die-die-die-product-die! sign #4: boredom (i.e. no longer interesting to you).

Boredom on your part doesn’t mean a product or service has to be retired — unless you’re unwilling to outsource some part of the making or selling of it! If you just can’t give another Mmmm Mmmm Chocolate Body Scrub and Massage or you’ll go postal, you have two options. One, stop offering that service. Two, find someone else to offer that service on your behalf. If you can find someone who’s willing to hit up the Mmmm Mmmm all day long and you’re willing to give them a cut of your profits, you’ve got yourself a winning combination.

Whether you’re bored by customer service or just can’t freaking stand selling one more _______________, acknowledging your boredom and doing your best to get it into the hands of someone who’s wildly enthusiastic about this portion of your business sets you up for long-term sustainability. And profitability, too!

Oh-man-holy-horseflies-just-die-already sign #5: disproportionate resource usage.

Disproportionate resource usage sounds really official, doesn’t it? If 10% of your income comes from something that takes up 50% of your time, kill it. Kill it dead, and quickly. Unless you’re mastering skills that will get faster and easier with time, there’s no reason to keep this time suck in your business mix.

On the other hand, if 50% of your business income comes from something that takes 10% of your time, put effort into growing that portion of your business! This means you’ve got yourself a nice stream of income, and you want to work on building it to make earning more money easier for you.

P.S.  Maybe it’s time to play the $1,000 in your inbox game.