Saturday, February 18, 2006

Do Less with More?

Seems like the opposite of what some companies are doing, however, it also may be the right tactic for the challenging financial times we’ve been facing since 9/11. Well, this is my mantra for 2006 and I’ll explain why.

If you’ve been to a national genealogy conference in the past few years, there are always a bunch of small booths, and then there is the BIG one. Yes, the Heritage Creations booth run by Leland Meitzler (blog). The vast quantity of books and CD’s and the unique displays for concentrating his inventory in a relatively small area, were an impressive feat.

Well, much to my surprise, Leland blogged that Heritage Creations [was] Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and spelled out the history of how his company arrived at this point. Leland and I have exchanged emails over the years, and even had the pleasure to meet and hang out at the 2005 NGS conference in Nashville, TN.

Recently, Leland said something to me that struck a chord. He “wasn’t making a profit at [genealogy conferences] and wasted a lot of valuable time chasing around the country.” It sounded to that he was trying to do more with less (income in return).

Was I following, albeit at a smaller scale, in his footsteps? I reflected on the things I’d accomplished with Genealogy Today, and decided it was time to focus on those things that I was really good at (i.e. core strengths), and had the potential to generate revenue.

Another recent event in our industry was the extensive, Inc. layoff. Dennis Partridge (blog) wrote about the “tragic loss for the employees and families involved,” which I don’t dispute. But the real messages, and the people to “blame”, are that (in my opinion) management allowed the company to grow too rapidly and invested energies in areas that offered less value to the organization.

Rather than haphazardly expand my holdings with smaller, less valuable content month after month, my plan is to stay focused, measure every opportunity against a more refined set of criteria, and begin to grow the company at a faster (yet managable) rate.

If someone were to ask you, “what exactly does your company do?”, would you have a clear answer for them? The ease of Internet technology and the abundance of information floating around us promotes a “heck, why not” kind of attitude when it comes to new prospects. Don’t go adrift, identify your core competencies, and build on them.

(Genealogy Today is an affiliate of, a unit of, Inc.)

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