One of the fundamental pieces of advice that I always bring with me in business is “Always pick the low-hanging fruit first“, this is a platitude as much as any, but there is some basic wisdom in it. Most people aspire to greatness, whether they admit this or not, and there are two major ways for a person to be recognized as great, doing something incredibly creative, or doing something incredibly complex. In recent years, this has tended to become even worse in that people take the technology approach which is: “Do something incredibly creative and complex“, which brings a whole string of new problems.
Complexity and creativity are two things that often land businesses in trouble, because people often want to be recognized for doing something revolutionary and people often view some creative as being more innovative if it also appears complex. They aspire to be the Steve Jobs of their industry before they’ve gotten their business off the ground. The idea behind the low hanging fruit is to do those things that are simple, uncomplicated, come at a low cost and risk, but promise safe, guaranteed returns before doing the things that offer greater returns but carry much higher risks.
For instance, if you are running a small manufacturing operation making pasta sauce, you can probably improve your bottom line by improving the production and distribution process incrementally, ensuring smooth operations throughout your value chain before attempting a market expansion. This accomplishes two things, first of all it ensures that you have control over the resource usage in your value chain, and secondly it removes barriers to scale. Many companies have tried to expand before they were ready to expand and it leads to a souring of relationships within their value chain due to either having to sacrifice product quality, being unable to deliver, or not being able to keep up with their inputs.
In the same way, many men who are new to the red pill tend to go after the big things, that come with equally big costs and risks first, rather than fixing the little problems. For obvious reasons, often we think that major changes give major results, and major effort has major effect. However, 10 small changes can often have much greater positive effects than one major change, for less effort at a lower risk. Furthermore, those many, small and easy changes serve to enable the big changes. Continue reading