How many products/services do you offer?
1? 10? 100? 1,000? 10,000?
If you’re interested in minimalist business, I probably don’t have to tell you that less may be a better fit for you than more.
For each product/service you offer, ask:
- Is it making me sufficient profit to continue offering it, or does it have potential?
- Or is it providing me with some peace of mind that makes it otherwise worthwhile?
(Yes, these are the same questions I ask when looking at my expenses and assets).
Here’s how it works for my business.
At SmilingGardener.com, I have just one very comprehensive 12 month online gardening course (in 2015, I used part of it to create a smaller 6 month course that gives people a shorter, more affordable option, but that all came out of the original course, so it’s really just one course with two levels).
One course means just one website, with just one sales letter to promote it, one shopping cart item, one email followup series, etc.
Now, I don’t necessarily suggest you have only one course forever. And I definitely don’t suggest you start out by creating a 12 month, 500 video course. Only a foolish person (me) would do that.
Start with a minimum viable product or service – the simplest thing you can put out there to provide value to people. If you want, you can build on it to create something more valuable over time.
Every time you offer a new product or service, there are a whole whack of things that need to happen around marketing it and maintaining it, so my suggestion is don’t create the next one until you have a good reason.
E-commerce means selling things online, and although it can include services, it usually means products.
Some stores make their competitive advantage the selection of tens of thousands of products to serve a particular niche, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
At SmilingGardener.com, I chose the 10 or so organic fertilizers that I felt were most important for people to use. I wrote detailed sales pages for each product and I talk about all of them regularly in my blog posts.
I wouldn’t say this is the best way to run an e-commerce business, but I would say, it’s a viable minimalist option.
And if you’re going to compete against the giants, your unique proposition is likely to be the extra value you provide, the quality service, perhaps the community you build – rather than the depth of your skus.
If you’re in the service business, doing coaching, consulting, design, etc., and you want to keep things simple, my advice is to consider having a goal of serving fewer clients.
I consult for 2-4 clients per year, and consequently, I spend very little time looking for clients. I barely even have a website for that.
It can be challenging, especially when you’re just starting out, to get four people to pay you enough money to survive, but if you’re interested in minimalist business, I encourage you to consider adopting the mindset from the beginning that you want to provide more value for fewer clients in the long run.
Your Action Step
One way to spend more time on your product or service offerings is to outsource other less important tasks to someone else.