I am a big fan of Jason Fried of 37Signals. I think what they have accomplished is not only amazing but sets a model for others to pursue. Recently Jason wrote a post for Inc. Magazine titled “Walking Away From A Product“. In the post, he tells the story of his teams’ decision to shut down a profitable product and the resulting reactions from others. Understand, the product was making a profit for them. And they are shutting it down or selling it. Why? In a word, focus.
For many starting or growing a business, the highest pressure comes from having too much to do. There are so many things on your plate, some days you struggle just to get a list of all the things needing to be done finished. The second highest pressure is to grow revenue. Revenue is the life blood of a compay. So why would Jason suggest killing off a product that is making money? Simple. Focus! Focus the precious time you have on the products or projects that make money and have the greatest potential to grow. Say you have a total of 6 hours a week available to work on growing your products or services. You do not want to spread that 6 hours around too much. You certainly should not spend it on the lowest potential or performing product or service.
Jason is correct is saying that if you are not making a product better, you need move away from the product. Beyond just focus, you need to recognize that these days competition is constant and relentless. If you are not going to improve your product, you may want to sell it to your competitor who does focus in the product’s area. At the end of the day, focus your precious time in the place with the most potential. This will increast you opportunity for success.