If you’re like most small businesses, you don’t spend much time on internal seek-and-destroy missions that identify and kill unproductive elements. That, says Auren Hoffman at the Summation blog, is a mistake. “While it does not come [naturally] for a company (or any organization) to toss things out,” he writes, “every so often you need to look at everything and focus on getting rid of things that are no longer needed, important, or helping the company grow.”
Hoffman lists categories that deserve your critical attention, including these:
Products. For various reasons, you might cling to a product or project that drains resources without producing ROI. Hoffman’s advice: Kill it.
Features. “Your products may have features once thought to be important, but are no longer necessary or demanded by customers,” he says. “Slay them.”
People. Especially in a small company, each team member must remain in top form. With regular assessments, you can more easily identify bad hires or address dipping performance levels before they get out of hand. “Never settle for ‘average’ people,” argues Hoffman. “As Reed Hastings is famous for saying: adequate performance deserves a nice severance package.”
Investors. As your company grows, he contends, some of your early investors may no longer add value. “Buy these investors out—many of them will be happy to give up their stock for a decent return.”
“Being able to kill things early is essential to the long-term growth and success of any company,” notes Hoffman. “But recognizing that you should be searching for things to kill is the first step to building a better company.”