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4 options in business

break down your decisions along these lines

5:48 pm on Mar 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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joined:Dec 10, 2005
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I wanted to expand on what I posted in the Make or break time [webmasterworld.com] thread.

In business, you almost always have 4 options: stay the same, expand, contract, quit (or "terminate" for people who don't have "quit" in their vocabulary).

1) Stay the Same
Continue doing what you're doing, if it's working. For now. In many cases, the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" does apply. But it also has risks. ("Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson, M.D., is an excellent read.) However, if what you've been doing isn't working very well, then it's highly unlikely that continuing to do the same will bring any different results (see Einstein's definition for insanity). In any case, staying the course is usually only a temporary option.

2) Expand
In most cases, you want to expand your business (selling or offering additional products/services, making more revenue, expanding into more markets, etc.). Just like when you started your business, expansion takes some research and planning before blindly rushing into it. On the other hand, over thinking and too much hesitation can result in losing your window of opportunity. Any expansion should make sense in the big picture of your business. If you sell red widgets and you have a lot of customers asking for blue widgets, then starting to offer blue widgets is most likely a good expansion plan. Deciding to build your own widgets manufacturing plant (when you have no manufacturing experience yourself) is probably not a good expansion plan.

3) Contract
There are many cases where you may actually want to shrink the business. Maybe you want to spend more time outside of your business, so less revenue in exchange for more free time seems like a good trade. Maybe you have overextended yourself. Maybe one particular product line is now giving you a negative ROI. Maybe you've decided to fire some of your more troublesome clients so you can focus more on your good clients. In many cases, shrinking the business can actually result in higher profits.

4) Terminate
Maybe you have exhausted all the other options and nothing is working, in which case this is your option of last resort. Or, you may feel that you are ready for something different and that it is time to move on to something else. Never look at termination as failure. Take a hard look at any mistakes you made and learn from them so you can do things differently next time. (Many successful entrepreneurs had several "failed" businesses before they became successful.) Failing to learn from your mistakes IS failure.

These options apply at both the macro scale (overall business direction) and the micro scale (directions for a particular project). These options also apply to people (employees): terminate (or outsource) and stay the same are pretty obvious, but you can also expand (promote and/or assign additional responsibilities) or contract (demote and/or take away responsibilities) them.

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