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Newsletter #798: The “Focus” Issue

Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Focus is what builds brands and earns fans. The less distractions for you and your customers, the better for everyone. A few ways to do it:

1> With your selection
2> With your menu
3> With your talent
4> Check it out: Simply Noise

1> With your selection

Too much variety can confuse customers and cost you the sale. When Walmart Canada cut two of its five lines of peanut butter to free up shelf space, they actually sold more peanut butter. The results mirror a 2007 study by Bain & Co. which found that reducing the number of products you offer can increase sales by as much as 40 percent — all while reducing costs 10 to 35 percent. Take a look at what’s on your store shelves, you might find you can cut the selection (and some inventory headaches) and increase sales at the same time.

The lesson: When you focus your selection, your best products get more attention.

Learn more: Globe and Mail

2> With your menu

Restaurants are notorious for over-complicating their menus and featuring items they don’t do well. At New York’s I Trulli restaurant, owner Nicola Marzovilla keeps his menu focused — so much so that he refuses to offer a children’s menu, even though diners frequently request it. More than stubbornness, it’s out of his restaurant’s focus on family and nutrition. He’s more than willing to offer a smaller portion of something from the menu, but you won’t see chicken fingers, grilled cheese, or PB&J being served.

The lesson: Customers don’t always know what they’re looking for. Sometimes, it requires ignoring them to give them what they really want.

Learn more: New York Times

3> With your talent

The riches are in the niches. UK-based Red Photography will shoot a wide range of stuff, but they’re especially talented with cans and bottles. Instead of adding this to their offerings alongside location photography, food, and people, they created separate micro businesses “We Shoot Bottles” and “We Shoot Cans.” In terms of both branding and SEO, the specific focus gives them a big advantage over competitors who try to do everything.

The lesson: Focus on what you’re absolutely, fantastically, undeniably amazing at — and cut the rest.

Learn more: We Shoot Bottles and We Shoot Cans

4> Check it out: Simply Noise

If you need some noise to drown out your co-worker’s hacking cough — but can’t work to music — try Simply Noise. It’s no Pandora or Grooveshark, but it’s great at what it promises: All static, all the time.

Check it out: Simply Noise

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  1. Assaf August 27, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    So I guess point #1 contradicts “The Long Tail,” though I think that book mostly refers to the web.

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