“You can always expand.”
I said it for what seemed like the tenth time. I was talking to a friend about his dreams for his business. I could see his expansion ideas pulling his business away from him before it is even established.
A few weeks ago a wiser consultant reiterated it to me as well. It seems that expanding before establishing a business is a common entrepreneurial mistake.
I totally understand the temptation. I’ve had a hundred ideas and such little patience that I’ve sought to put them all into practice right away. It hasn’t gone well when I’ve tried.
It’s good to try things. But when you’re starting out and establishing your business, it’s important to keep in mind that you can always expand.
And because you can always expand, you should keep it simple at first.
All great businesses established themselves by doing one thing really well. Chipotle = burritos. Shake Shack = burgers and fries. Starbucks = coffee drinks.
Once you have established your business, you can always expand and diversify your offerings to better serve your customers. But you have to make sure your business is firmly established before you begin stepping out.
It’s tempting to try to do it all, serve everyone and make all the money that entails. But like a get-rich-quick scheme, it’s more likely to drain your money and energy than guarantee it.
Instead, do one thing really well.
There are some significant practical benefits to doing one thing really well:
- Limited supplies & suppliers – Besides simpler ordering, this may also mean you have more time to seek quality supplies and maintain better relationships with suppliers.
- Streamlined processes – When you are only doing one thing, you can focus on establishing a streamlined, consistent process.
- Establishing a high-quality product – Not only will your process be streamlined, but you can focus on your one product and refine it to unrivaled quality.
- Better connection with target market – When your ideal customers easily understand your simple concept, it’s more likely they will come to you.
- Better focus – If you are maintaining a single product line, you’ll be able to focus on it until you have it mastered, rather than splitting focus to different product lines.
- Limit entropy – Chaos is inevitable in this world. This is especially apparent when you are creating a structured business. If your business is simple, you will have less to keep organized, which is vital when starting out.
It’s tempting to expand. But if you do so before your core business is established, it’s likely that you will create a wild, chaotic stallion that is difficult to manage. Better to start off with a tame, simple donkey.
After all, you can always expand.