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Optimize or Grow – How To Decide?

Something I have been thinking about lately is how to find the right balance between optimizing or growing my business.

For example when I was first starting out I had a website with no traffic but read that green buttons would increase conversion rates so I spent an entire weekend changing all the buttons…stupid waste of time!

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There have been many similar times in my business when I have been optimizing a part of my business I shouldn’t have been and times when I have been trying to grow fruitless businesses.

There is not one perfect answer and I hope to share the mistakes I have made/continue to make and how I am thinking about this problem to try and find the right balance between optimization and growth.

optimize or grow

 

Here are just a few examples of good and bad uses of my time from the history of my online business…

Examples Of Wasted Time Optimizing My Business

  1. Changing from Joomla to Drupal to WordPress all within 1 month because I read somewhere one was better then the other.
  2. I once had my VA go back and add 20 tags to each post because I read somewhere that was the optimal number of tags
  3. With a site that had no traffic I spent hours trying to get a CPA offer because I read a CPA offer could increase revenue by 27% (or something like that).
  4. The examples above are old but more recently I purchased a Student Finance website and overpaid for it from an earnings standpoint with a $400 price tag…not wanting to admit it was not a profitable purchase I spent hours tweaking the site and adding content. This was not the best use of my time!

Example OfA Good Use Of Time Optimizing My Business

  1. Last week I wrote about the 5 minutes I spent on an optimizing activity that resulted in the 1,800/month increase in profits
  2. I took a couple days of vacation and worked LONG days to improve the processes around LightningRank which cut costs and allowed me to pass those savings onto customers.
  3. When I started my student loan site I spent a lot of time testing words that increased/decreased click through rates and it paid off.
  4. Everytime I have tweaked a process or procedure associated with my main services (Domain Finding or PBN Building) it has resulted in improvements.

Examples OfA Bad Use Of Time Growing My Business

  1. Too many times to count I have had the urge to “build” something get ahold of me and with no prior plans or thoughts on how I can sustain my new project I dive head first into a new website or project…5% of the time this pays off 95% of the time I do this it results in an unfinished poor quality website/project/system.
  2. Growing a new business based on my own gut feeling that the service is needed has 100% of the time resulted in failure.The Lean Startup has great lessons to avoid this problem.
  3. Any time I have started a new business that doesn’t add value to humans, such as a micro niche website with terrible content, it has resulted in failure. This strategy (how to build a website for one dollar guaranteed to get traffic) is the type of project I have to fight myself not to start.
  4. Projects that are too far from my core business and especially when I get involved in technology I don’t understand it often ends in failure. For example when I outsourced the creation of a plugin it worked well but as far as delivering business results it was a failure since I didn’t know how to leverage it within any of my existing businesses. (Outsource the Development of a WordPress Plugin in 10 Steps)

Examples OfA Good Use Of Time Growing My Business

  1. When I have planned ahead and replicated a successful website in a systematic way it has resulted in solid results. Such as repeating the success of my student loan site.
  2. Building out a new service that customers are asking for makes common sense but has never let me down. Both my domain finding and PBN building service came from customer requests.
  3. Creating useful content has been another good use of my time growing a business
  4. Creating systems and hiring staff for additional capacity has been another “growth” activity that I have almost never regretted investing in.

 

4 “Rules” on how to decide if I should spend my time growing or optimizing my business?

  1. Never optimize a website or service that is not generating healthy revenue
  2. Optimizing your main revenue streams and business processes almost always pays off
  3. Never Grow or Build a part of your business without a plan and clear goals
  4. Growing a portion of your business with demonstrated profitable processes always pays off

Although the 4 statements above seem pretty obvious I would be wise to print these out and make sure to always follow them.

With an infinite number of ways to spend your time building your online business how do you decide whether to optimize an existing part of your business or grow another part?

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