The end of the year is probably my favorite time of a business cycle. Regardless of your true fiscal calendar, something about the calendar rolling over from one year to the next gives cause for pause, reflection and planning. For me, one of the big things to ponder this year’s end is direction of growth for 2012.
If there’s one big lesson that I’m taking away from 2011 it’s that you can grow deeper or wider, but trying to do both at the same time is a major cause for stress and over-committed resources, particularly in a small company. So let me explain the “deeper or wider” dilemma:
To go deeper is to do more of what you’re already doing. To further entrench yourself; to make a bigger name and go after larger, more complex work. For me, that means more consulting and speaking, with larger clients and for higher fees.
To go wider is to leverage and package. To take what you already know well, and find a way to create derivatives of it that you can sell off for a lower price point and therefore widen your client base. For me, this is continuing to advance and develop Actionable Workshops and focus on more clients with a lower touch point.
I think we all have these choices in our professional lives: Be more hands on with fewer “clients” (read: projects, targets, events, etc.) or be less hands on with more clients.
I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong answer, but I do believe that we can get ourselves into trouble when we start to believe that we can go deeper and wider at the same time. As I’ve said before, I don’t see any working person sitting around trying to figure out what to do with all the spare time they have on their hands. We’re maxed. Saturated. All full up, thank you. There’s nothing wrong with a change in direction, but we need to appreciate that taking on more of something else means we’ll (at some point) have to give up something we already have.